President Barack Obama said in a recent address that he’s become ‘frustrated’ with America’s lack of movement toward civilian disarmament. As police in the USA become increasingly militarized (with Obama’s help), the president is using crime as an emotional tool to soften Americans toward gun control. Surrounded by heavily armed body guards, Obama said on June 10th:
Couple of decades ago, Australia had a mass shooting, similar to Columbine or Newtown. And Australia just said, well, that’s it, we’re not doing, we’re not seeing that again, and basically imposed very severe, tough gun laws, and they haven’t had a mass shooting since.
Our levels of gun violence are off the charts. There’s no advanced, developed country that would put up with this.
The law he speaks of was Australia’s 1996 National Firearms Agreement. “Very severe” might be putting it mildly. Australia’s gun laws are draconian. The right to keep and bear arms was eviscerated, leaving only a privileged, licensed few citizens who could legally own firearms.
Between 1996-97, an estimated 700,000 firearms were surrendered to the government by citizens wanting to avoid being classified as criminals.
Sales were restricted. Importation was restricted. Carry was restricted. Personal storage was restricted. The few remaining Australians (5%) bearing a government-granted license became subject to having their property inspected by the government. People who bring firearms into Australia without permission face a potential life sentence in prison.
All semblances of firearm freedom were destroyed. The government was empowered to pick and choose who would be granted privileges and who would be denied. The government became the decider of who had an invalid reason to own a firearm, an invalid physical condition, an invalid medical condition, an invalid background, or was unsuitable for any other contrived, arbitrary reason.
The Library of Congress documents some of the relevant information about Australia’s gun laws:
In 1996, following the Port Arthur massacre, the federal government and the states and territories agreed to a uniform approach to firearms regulation, including a ban on certain semiautomatic and self-loading rifles and shotguns, standard licensing and permit criteria, storage requirements and inspections, and greater restrictions on the sale of firearms and ammunition. Firearms license applicants would be required to take a safety course and show a “genuine reason” for owning a firearm, which could not include self-defense. The reasons for refusing a license would include “reliable evidence of a mental or physical condition which would render the applicant unsuitable for owning, possessing or using a firearm.” A waiting period of twenty-eight days would apply to the issuing of both firearms licenses and permits to acquire each weapon.
Citing this as an example of legislative success is disturbing on so many levels. It is the classic false-presentation of enjoying more safety with less freedom. Its a ruse.
Consider this: America has spent decades fighting a “War on Drugs,” and yet drugs are still available in every town in the USA. The prohibition, which has served to enhance government power and erode personal freedoms, has also proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that bans cannot possibly keep things out of criminal hands. The government cannot even keep drugs out of its own tightly-controlled prisons! How does one imagine the U.S. government would do a better job with firearms?
However, we should never hinge our liberties on efficacy. Favorable statistics will never trump a law’s immoral foundations. No amount of promised safety is worth the sacrifices in liberty. The concept of groveling to the government for permission to own something is anathema to a free society.