Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull held a joint press conference with President Trump during his recent visit to the U.S. As usual, the difference in comportment between Trump and other global leaders was striking.
As he was visiting the U.S. directly after one of our frequent gun massacres, Turnbull and Trump were asked questions about guns and violence. Trump responded to questions with a call to arm teachers, because:
‘See, a security guard doesn’t know the children, doesn’t love the children. This man standing outside of the school the other day doesn’t love the children, probably doesn’t know the children. The teachers love their children, they love their pupils, they love their students. They’re doing it also from love.’
Compare Trump’s rambling response to the press with this well-thought-out answer from PM Turnbull:
‘Semi-automatic, let alone automatic weapons, are essentially not available. The range of firearms that are available to people that don’t have a specific professional need, like people who are involved in pest control and so forth, are very very limited.’
He followed this up with:
‘We are very satisfied with our laws. We maintain them.’
Turnbull should be satisfied. Americans are catching on to the disingenuousness of Republican leaders, as these officials pretend that there is no solution to American gun violence.
There is, and as proof, all one needs is to review the history of gun laws in Australia.
In 1984, seven people died and 28 were wounded in a gun battle in Sydney. Shotguns were the weapon of choice for the warring motorcycle gangs. The government of New South Wales (where Sydney is located) amended their laws to make gun license approval more stringent.
Hoddle Street massacre
Seven died and 19 were wounded by an Australian Army officer during a 1987 mass shooting in Melbourne. The officer had been discharged for stabbing someone in a bar. The shooter was broken up with by his girlfriend and drank heavily on the day of the massacre. Weapons used included three air rifles, two semi-automatic rifles, and a pump-action shotgun. Using these guns, he set up an ambush and fired at passing cars.
Queen Street massacre
Inspired by the previous shooting, a gunman used a semi-automatic weapon to kill nine people including himself. Five people were also injured in the 1987 incident. The shooter obtained a license and legally obtained the weapon, but illegally modified the gun. The perpetrator was most likely suffering from extreme mental illness.
In response to these 1987 shootings, state governments made laws that all guns be registered and also restricted semi-automatic rifles and shotguns. Parts of Australia, such as Tasmania, lagged behind when it came to enforcement of gun control measures.
Again using semi-automatic weapons, the perpetrator of this 1991 massacre took eight lives (including his own). Six more people were wounded. Two of the fatalities were from stab wounds.
Port Arthur massacre
In 1996, a gunman used two semi-automatic guns to kill 35 people and wound 23 more. Port Arthur is located in Tasmania, home of relaxed gun control. The AR-10 used was purchased legally, before Tasmania enacted gun registration requirements. Other weapons included a knife and an AR-15 semi-automatic weapon.
Massive gun legislation in 1996
Nation-wide gun control was put in place all across Australia. Despite interference from the U.S.’ NRA, gun ownership was restricted. Guns were classified, with the most dangerous automatic and semi-automatic guns becoming unavailable to the general public.
Violence prevented in Australia
Since enacting strict gun-control measures, Australia has escaped the escalation of mass shootings seen in America. The total dead from public mass or spree shootings in Australia since then totals eight, which is one death for every 3,000,000 Australians. In contrast, the U.S. has seen 649 mass or spree shooting deaths since 1996. That’s about one death for every 500,000 Americans.
GUN CONTROL DOESN'T WORK
— Jason Halle ?? (@JasonHalle) February 19, 2018
Australia had a gun massacre problem, but unlike the US, they didn't pretend the solution was more guns, they knew it was the exact opposite — and they had the common sense, empathy and courage to do something abt it. It's called #GunControl motherf*ckers. #ParklandStudentsSpeak
— Bill Madden (@activist360) February 21, 2018
I ❤️ many things about Australia, inc our sensible gun laws. Luckily our government responded swiftly and efficiently when we had a horrific mass shooting in 1996. I ❤️ USA and it’s people so much and just want their country to have the same amount of peace we enjoy.
— Rebel Wilson (@RebelWilson) February 23, 2018
Australia (like the US) has a long, established history of gun ownership for farmers, sporting shooters and hunters. The 1996 Port Arthur massacre was the catalyst to create uniform legislation across all Australian States and Territories. Summarized: pic.twitter.com/kWzp6Gt87j
— Άλογο À gogo (@AlogoAgogo) February 22, 2018
Watch the whole video here:
Featured image: screencap/YouTube