I have seen quite a bit about alleged gun control in Australia. Please note the word “alleged” because I am telling you that gun ownership is at about the same level as it was in 1997 when Martin Bryant killed more than 30 people at Port Arthur in Tasmania.
The people who are commenting about gun ownership in Australia are in fact wrong, because the issue at the time was not guns in general. It was automatic weapons of the type that kill and wound multiple people at the same time. These are the weapons that were “banned”.
What Australia did at the time, and yes it was the Howard Government behind this move, was to ban certain types of weapons and to offer a gun buy back to owners who turned in the weapons. There were many gun owners who were willing to hand in their guns at the time. The ownership of ordinary guns was never under threat. People could continue to use ordinary shotguns. Hunters were allowed to continue to use their weapons. What is more, over time, Australian gun ownership continues to be at the same level as it was in 1997 before the buy back scheme!!
There is a lobby group that wants to ban gun ownership. This group is of the Left. I find their ideas to be unacceptable for a variety of reasons. The first reason is of course related to sport, the second is related to hunting. These people also want to ban animal hunting during a hunting season and they are willing to risk their lives because of their own idealism. Too bad that they never consider the fact that when we have an overpopulation of certain animals (hint: kangaroo) we put human lives at risk!!
At the same time there is another group, of Middle Eastern origin, who are not Christian in their ideology, who have been busy acquiring illegal guns, and importing illegal weapons. This group are usually drug dealers, and they usually belong to bikie guns. They have a tendency to kill each other. (ah well, as they say, another one bites the dust).Gun ownership within this group is dangerous, especially for other bikie gang members.
During our election campaign, our PM- elect, Tony Abbott mentioned the need to crack down on gun smuggling. I agree with his comments because it is aimed directly at those in our society who are most likely involved in drug dealing, or they have intentions to cause mayhem in general society (please think along the lines of what a Muslim can do with a gun and then you might get where I am going). I have no problem with such a crackdown if it keeps automatic weapons out of the hands of potential jihadists.
Sporting and hunting enthusiasts continue to have access to guns. It is essential to keep in mind that this is a Coalition government, made up of both Liberal Party MPs and National Party MPs. The National Party used to be known as the Country Party. The members of the Country Party or as it is now known, the National Party tend to be farmers, and they are also gun owners. It is unlikely that they will allow any legislation that would restrict gun ownership that is meant for regular purposes.
In the past I have explained my own dilemmas when it comes to gun ownership. I do not own a gun, but I am quite comfortable in someone owning a gun. At university one of my best friends was also someone who used to go to a rifle range to shoot. I never had a problem with her interest in the sport. Australia does not have a problem with sportsmen who use guns, and we have had successful Olympians in shooting events. My dilemma stems from the fact that my cousin was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a gun owner in the 1960s. Her death was extremely difficult for the whole family, especially because she was killed with a bullet to her head… and then he committed suicide. Even so I have remained ambivalent and I support the U.S. second amendment.
Every time there is a shooting in the USA (including the Zimmerman case), there is a lobby group that tries to make capital out of the incident. A lot of the press over the Zimmerman trial was simply quite wrong. They were reporting according to their agenda, which is an agenda of the Left in a lot of countries – to control the population via control of gun ownership. The trouble is that the Left is losing the battle because gun ownership has been rising in recent years.
Since there has been a rise in gun ownership over the last few years, it is a mystery to me that Americans claim that somehow Australia has strict gun laws when in fact that is not the case.
Something else that I need to point out is the issue of authority. The Federal government does not necessarily have the authority to implement gun control, let alone a laissez-faire attitude towards the ownership of guns. That authority rests with each State in Australia – e.g. NSW has the authority to propose that hunters be allowed to limited access to State forests for the purpose of hunting.
As far as I am concerned, gun control is an extremely minor issue here in Australia. We have crime, but it is limited to a certain type of person (one normally mixed up with bikie gangs). Yes, we do have murders, but guns are not the weapon of choice for most murders.
The other thing to point out is that historically, Australia does not have the same or similar history of the USA with regard to any second amendment rights. We have a right to bear arms anyway. The fact is, we have not been involved in a civil war and we have no real pressing need to own our own guns.