John Howard on Gun Control.
Reading on Pedestrian the other day, I was alerted to an article John Howard wrote for the New York Times on the issue of gun control. This led me to this completely excellent interview by John Oliver on the Daily Show, where Howard comes across well, and the pro-gun nut comes across as an idiot. WHOOP DE FUCKING DO. Video below, NY Times Article here.
Pedestrian wrote about five key lessons from the Australian gun control legislation :
Aussie gun owners were more receptive because they were getting a little somethin' somethin' in return. A similar approach in the US would put a massive strain on their economy.
To make this plan work, there had to be a federally financed gun buyback scheme. Ultimately, the cost of the buyback was met by a special one-off tax imposed on all Australians. This required new legislation and was widely accepted across the political spectrum. Almost 700,000 guns were bought back and destroyed — the equivalent of 40 million guns in the United States.
What a surprise. Racists and bigots like guns.
The leaders of the National Party, as well as the premier of Queensland, courageously supported my government’s decision, despite the electoral pain it caused them. Within a year, a new populist and conservative political party, the One Nation Party, emerged and took many votes from our coalition in subsequent state and federal elections; one of its key policies was the reversal of the gun laws.
Your "It's because of societies moral decay" argument is null and void you redneck yokel. Guns kill people.
The fundamental problem was the ready availability of high-powered weapons, which enabled people to convert their murderous impulses into mass killing. Certainly, shortcomings in treating mental illness and the harmful influence of violent video games and movies may have played a role. But nothing trumps easy access to a gun. It is easier to kill 10 people with a gun than with a knife.
While his lack of sporting prowess and dorky demeanor suggested otherwise, Howard must have had a pretty mean "Don't fuck with me or I'll end you!" side to him behind closed doors.
For a time, it seemed that certain states might refuse to enact the ban. But I made clear that my government was willing to hold a nationwide referendum to alter the Australian Constitution and give the federal government constitutional power over guns. Such a referendum would have been expensive and divisive, but it would have passed. And all state governments knew this.
This was the Howard Government's greatest achievement and will benefit Australians for generations to come.
In the end, we won the battle to change gun laws because there was majority support across Australia for banning certain weapons. And today, there is a wide consensus that our 1996 reforms not only reduced the gun-related homicide rate, but also the suicide rate. The Australian Institute of Criminology found that gun-related murders and suicides fell sharply after 1996. The American Journal of Law and Economics found that our gun buyback scheme cut firearm suicides by 74 percent. In the 18 years before the 1996 reforms, Australia suffered 13 gun massacres — each with more than four victims — causing a total of 102 deaths. There has not been a single massacre in that category since 1996.