Australia is often cited by gun control advocates in America as an example of the sort of gun violence-free utopia they imagine our nation could become, if only we got rid of all of the guns.
They point to the restrictive gun control laws enacted in 1996 following a mass shooting in Port Arthur, Tasmania, when a gunman murdered 35 people and injured countless more.
Those gun control laws — which included confiscatory gun buybacks — banned the possession of most semi-automatic rifles and even pump-action shotguns, though some could still be possessed under certain circumstances and tight regulations and with explicit permission from the government.
The gun grabbers have often bragged that there haven’t been any mass shootings in Australia since those restrictive laws were put in place. That all changed on Friday after a suspected mass murder-suicide took place in the rural area of Osmington in the southwest corner of Western Australia that left seven people dead.
Australia’s 9NEWS reported that three adults and four children were found shot to death at a home early Friday morning. Police declined to confirm the identities of the victims, but they are believed to be the residents of the property.
Police found two firearms at the scene and are not currently searching for any suspects. They did however reveal that they had received a call earlier in the morning from a man “connected to the property” prior to the shooting, but declined to offer further details.
“‘Shocking’ is just about the only word. I feel sick to the stomach. That couldn’t happen here,” stated family friend and neighbor Felicity Haynes. “It’s just horrifying. They were good people. It’s not fair.”
Police Chief Commissioner Chris Dawson called the deaths a “horrific incident,” and stated, “The loss of any life is tragic but, four children and three adults, this is a significant tragedy.”
“It appears that gunshot wounds are there but I don’t want to go further than that as two firearms have been located at the scene,” he added. “We are trying to locate other members of the family and friends.”
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that a mass shooting is defined in that nation as one in which there are five or more victims. The most recent incident which would qualify — belying the claims of no such events since the Port Arthur massacre — occurred in 2014 when a man killed himself and four members of his family in rural New South Wales.
But such events have always been relatively rare in the sparsely populated nation of 18 million people, and though there has been a decline in the frequency of such incidents over the past few decades, the efficacy of the gun control laws put into place after Port Arthur are certainly debatable.
“We have been lucky that all forms of gun-related deaths have reduced dramatically since we took that step of having less guns (following the gun bans in the wake of Port Arthur),” stated Glenn Greensmith, a mass shooting expert studying a PhD at Edith Cowan University. “But there are as many guns now in Australia as there were at the time of the Port Arthur massacre.”
The Post noted that while there haven’t been many mass shootings since the restrictive laws were put in place, regular gun-related homicide rates have remained roughly the same. Furthermore, they reported that a local Australian newspaper, The Age, had found in 2017 that other gun-related crimes had actually doubled in recent years in the city of Melbourne.
That media outlet noted that shootings occurred on a weekly basis and people with prior criminal convictions were being caught with illegal guns at an alarming rate — a basic fact of reality that gun rights proponents have long argued.
Rather than admit the fundamental flaw of gun control measures — criminals will always gain illicit access to firearms — that outlet called for even stricter laws to be implemented as well as another mandatory buy-back, or “gun amnesty,” as they termed it, this time with a focus on handguns.
The mass shooting incident in Australia was certainly tragic, but it also just goes to show that gun control laws will never work perfectly and there is no way to stop dangerous people from doing their worst with a firearm … which is why good people should be allowed to be armed for their own protection.
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