90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Thursday, July 10, 2014

How Australian Gun Laws Have Curbed Deaths

New South Wales police department workers in Sydney, Australia, sort and catalog weapons handed in for refunds, April 22, 1997, as part of a federal government money-for-guns plan. For the last year, responding to the worst massacre by a lone gunman in history, Australia has been pushing ahead with a unique and ambitious plan to buy military-style rapid-fire rifles from civilians and destroy them at this secret police facility in a quiet Sydney neighborhood. (Rick Rycroft/AP)

Following the worst massacre by a lone gunman in its history, Australia launched an ambitious plan to buy military-style rapid-fire rifles from civilians and destroy them at this secret police facility in a quiet Sydney neighborhood, pictured April 22, 1997. (Rick Rycroft/AP)

Authorities in Spring, Texas, are piecing together what happened when six people were killed Wednesday in the country’s most recent mass shooting. A man shot and killed four children and two adults before he surrendered to the police.

In the wake of these shootings, we look to Australia, which has had no mass gun violence since 1996, when a mass shooting in a picnic area became a catalyst for the enactment of sweeping gun laws. These laws include a mandatory national buyback of guns, as well as restrictions on semi-automatics and a 28-day waiting period to get a license to own a gun.

The Australian deputy prime minister at the time, Tim Fischer, helped pass the gun control laws.

According to Fischer — a gun owner himself — the Australian laws show that “you can have a sensible policy on guns and reduce the number of people being killed by guns and the gun massacres.”

“It greatly reduced accidental deaths by guns and homicide deaths and suicide deaths,” Fischer told Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson about the buyback policy. “It has saved 200 lives a year.”

Interview Highlights

On the success of the Australian buyback program

“No legislation can claim to be adopted without someone breaking the law and some have been apprehended in breaking the law, but it made a difference in two ways. Essentially, it did take out the semi-automatics, the over-sized, over-powered weapons from the suburbs of Australia. It also caused people to think, ‘Well, do I really need a gun? If I do, I’ll apply and get it, but if I don’t, then I won’t go down that pathway.’ So we really did walk away from a policy of more and more guns.”

On U.S. misconceptions of safety

“‘If more guns made us safer, the U.S. would be the safest nation in the world.’ You are not; you are 10 to 15 times more likely to be shot dead in the U.S.A. per capita than Australia. And by the way, you are even safer in Italy than the U.S.A. with regard to guns, when looked at like-for-like on a per capita basis.”

On what U.S. gun control advocates should do

“I would ask Michael Bloomberg to stand up and challenge John Bolton to a debate in the public square on the East Coast, in Chicago, and on the West Coast, sooner rather than later. And I know Bloomberg is taking steps. That’s the only way you’ll turn the tide. That, and sadly, a massacre that goes beyond the pale. A massacre that hits up towards a hundred dead. A massacre that occurs in a peaceful suburb, as one did in Texas this week. Suddenly, suddenly, there will be a will there, and the NRA will be regretting that it did not at least seek the reinstatement of magazine limitations that have existed for 10 years and weren’t construed as being a breach of the second amendment. At least a background check at gun shows. No intelligent person can justify allowing no check whatsoever for people to buy guns in the 21st century.”

On whether tighter gun laws are possible in the U.S.

“It will take enormous will. It will take an enormous effort by people like Bloomberg and others. It needs to be taken to the Main Street, to the High Street, to the public square … Because, actually, when you see some of the more accurate polling, more balanced polling, around the suburbs of Chicago and elsewhere, I think it’s a case that can be mounted and can be won, and can be won within the context of the second amendment.”

Guest


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Rick

    More BS and lies from National Propaganda Radio, promoting the Obama talking points!

    Very biased story, as usual. Obviously NPR is anti-gun, anti 2nd Amendment, and doesn’t care about the facts.

    More guns = less crime. The main problem in this country with gun violence is by members of inner-city criminal gangs who have no respect for human life and no respect for the law. Look at Chicago, which has one of the strictest gun “control” laws in the country. Not surprisingly, they also have one of the highest murder and violent crime rates.

    Regarding Australia:

    “It is a common fantasy that gun bans make society safer.  In 2002 — five years after enacting its gun ban — the Australian Bureau of Criminology acknowledged there is no correlation between gun control and the use of firearms in violent crime.  In fact, the percent of murders committed with a firearm was the highest it had ever been in 2006 (16.3 percent), says the D.C. Examiner.

    Even Australia’s Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research acknowledges that the gun ban had no significant impact on the amount of gun-involved crime:

    In 2006, assault rose 49.2 percent and robbery 6.2 percent.Sexual assault — Australia’s equivalent term for rape — increased 29.9 percent.Overall, Australia’s violent crime rate rose 42.2 percent.

    Moreover, Australia and the United States — where no gun-ban exists — both experienced similar DECREASES in murder rates.” -NCPA

    • Sherryl

      As usual, nothing brings the gun fanatics out of the woodwork like discussion about limiting their access to firearms. Sorry, guys, but your point of view is defenseless! You don’t need a semi-auto weapon to hunt anymore than I need a flame-torch to eradicate one weed plant.

      • Brian Phelps

        I take it you do not hunt Sherryl

        • Chris

          If she does hunt, I’m sure it’s not with a semi-automatic.

      • Chris King

        To hunt no I do not. For competitive shooting I do. What is your point?

      • Sarrek

        And as usual nothing brings out the anti-rights fanatics from out of the woodwork like an opportunity to promote their agenda to attack people’s rights.

        Sherryl do you even know what a right is? Rights do not require a necessity. I do not need a Ferrari or a McLaren. But in our country I have the RIGHT to own one.

        Your rights belong to no one else but you. The Constitution doesn’t give them to you. The government doesn’t give them to you. You are born with them. And even if the Bill of Rights was thrown away, it wouldn’t change anything because, again, our rights do not come from the Constitution or from the government. That document is a contract from us stating to them that our rights are off-limits.

        And the last I checked it was called “The Bill of Rights”, not the Bill of Privileges.

      • Rick

        Sheryl, almost all modern guns are semi-auto. That includes almost all of the .22 rifles (except for the really cheap ones), that are very popular for hunting small game.

        That being said, this discussion has nothing to do with hunting, nor does the 2nd Amendment have anything to do with hunting.

        • Bill Mead

          Thanks Rick, I personally think semi-auto is a misleading name and I think that gets a lot of people in gun debates.

          Still, as a hunter, I personally think we need to merge the opposite sides of the issue, what we have going now isn’t working.

          • Rick

            What’s misleading about the term? It makes sense to me. All of my guns are semi-auto, except for my pump-action shotgun. Everyone I know who carries a weapon has a semi-auto. Pistols are not always very accurate, so if you ever have to use it, it will likely take more than one shot to get the job done. You don’t want to waste time loading each bullet into the chamber in a life or death situation.

          • Bill Mead

            It’s misleading to people who don’t understand certain fire arm terminology. That’s what caught Sheryl in the first place was her thinking that “Semi-Auto” translates into “Death Blossom” as opposed to “Automatic Reloading” which if I’m not mistaken, a vast majority of guns are.

            I feel that the news uses “Semi-Automatic” to enforce an agenda, because why would you really need to say a gun is semi-automatic? Why don’t you just say “gun”? When a car crashes in the news it’s not called a combustion powered conveyance.

          • fun bobby

            actually working great firearm related homicides are at record lows

      • Radioburning

        The 2A is not about hunting. And I guess when some idiot conservative republican talks about more restrictions on abortion, and women speak out against that…it’s just because they’re “abortion nuts”.

      • fun bobby

        I am sure you torched a few weed plants before you wrote that. “need” and hunting are irrelevant

    • hodad99 .

      Gun fanatics, such as yourself, will cite statistics ad nauseum, be they right or wrong, to justify their sick obsession. Here’s one to counter yours:
      http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2013/09/19/u-s-has-more-guns-and-gun-deaths-than-any-other-country-study-finds/

      I happen to be:
      1. An owner of three guns
      2. A veteran with extensive firearms training
      3. A veteran of 10 years in the Secret Service, and another 5 yrs in Diplomatic Security.

      … and I believe that we need sensible gun restrictions.

      If you don’t trust your own government, then you, as a citizen, should work to help fix it. If you refuse to take part in that process, then you aren’t a “patriot” (as most gun fanatics claim to be) nor a good citizen.

      This country has the highest number of guns per capita of any country in the “developed” world. Our gun violence is also the highest, by a huge amount. Sensible people can see this, gun fanatics cannot, and likely never will … until one of their own family suffers from the consequences of their ignorant obsession.

      • Brian Phelps

        Note that the gun bans seem to result in higher murder and assault rates. More sheep seems to makes more wolves.

      • Another Mike

        Two-thirds of US “gun deaths” are suicides.
        Suicides have gone up 50% over the past decade.
        As many people kill themselves by other means as kill themselves with firearms.
        But gun owners are more likely to use their firearms than they are to use an alternate means.

        The easiest way to reduce the number of US gun deaths is to reduce suicides, which improved mental health care should be able to do.

      • http://sellingthesecondamendment.com/ Gregory Smith

        1. Only fools trust their own government. Some German Jews believed Hitler would learn to love them, didn’t work out that way.

        2. If you can be trusted with a gun, I can be trusted with a gun. If gun owners are dangerous then the entire military, secret service, and police forces should be disarmed immediately

        3. You’re 10 times more likely to be shot by a cop than by a civilian with a concealed carry license, that’s a fact.

        4. Live free or die is my motto. Too bad it isn’t yours.
        http://sellingthesecondamendment.com

        • Chuck

          Smith, you spout the silliest NRA nonsense I’ve heard in a long time. The “If you can be trusted with a gun, I can be trusted with a gun” is the type of irresponsible nonsense that leads to our usual almost daily slaughter. How do I know you can be responsible with a gun? I don’t. You’re 10 times more likely to be shot by a cop? really? A cop in the pursuit of his duty or just some random off0duty officer? Come back to the debate when you have some real facts, not those manufactured by your NRA buddies,

          • http://sellingthesecondamendment.com/ Gregory Smith

            We have a Bill of Rights, not a Bill of Responsibilities, we’re INNOCENT until proven guilty, not guilty until proven innocent, you government thugs need to remember that you’re not in charge of us. We’re not your House Slaves, this is not the United Plantation of America. Free men keep and bear arms, period.

            Besides:

            The “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States”
            report from the Crime Prevention Research Center released Wednesday
            analyzed parallels between a 22 percent drop in the overall violent
            crime rate in the same time period in which the percentage of the adult
            population with concealed carry permits soared by 130 percent.
            Source: http://washington.cbslocal.com/2014/07/10/report-number-of-concealed-carry-permits-surges-as-violent-crime-rate-drops/

            Cops are far more dangerous than me, they’re far more likely to shoot innocent people, including kids with BB guns, dogs, etc. Cops also get away with more crimes since they have the code of silence and other things protecting them.

            Whatever Chuck, go back to kissing Bloomberg’s butt for all I care. You want gun control? Start by disarming his 17-armed bodyguards.

          • Another Mike

            Homicide rates are down to levels not seen since before the Gun Control Act of 1968 was passed.

          • Terry Pie
          • Terry Pie

            So are you accusing the millions of legal gun holder of murder or conspiring to murder? Talk about silly and paranoid. OMG, get a gun and go to a firing range, let out some of that stress. Kill a deer or two. But please, if you don’t trust yourself, don’t get one. the neighbors love their dogs and want their kids to be safe.

            Silly you..

          • nolarkinsley

            My Uncle
            Joshua just got an almost new white Kia Rio Hatchback only from working
            part-time off a home computer. try this C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

          • disqus_UzcL1EG2zn

            Fake assed scam spammer

          • Chuck

            Stupid you. Sitting up straw dog arguments are the last vestige of people who have no real point to make.

          • fun bobby

            do you think the gang members will ask your permission or apply for a permit?

          • Chuck

            Your right Bobby, let’s try to disarm them by throwing a few million more unregulated guns on the street. And Gregory, old buddy, when you pull your head out of the NRA’s noxious ass, we can talk. I’m sure you can’t hear a word I’m saying until that anal sphincter clears your ears.

          • fun bobby

            I can’t say that I know what you are talking about. seems like millions of guns get sold every year and the homicide numbers with guns goes down every year. I think if you want to talk to greg you might want to talk to him.
            we could actually disarm all the gang members by ending the gangs would you be on board for that?

          • Chuck

            There are millions of unregulated and unregistered guns on the streets and the NRA is blocking even the feeblest attempts at find them and getting them out of the hands of criminals and the mentally imbalanced. Pointing at the reduction in deaths via gun and thinking the problem is solving itself is foolish. The numbers are still in the neighborhood of 33,000/year. It’s still a huge number that needs a lot of work. As for disarming gang members, sure, how do you propose to do that when we have no idea where almost all those guns are coming from? Too many guns in this country are like a free lending library. Want one? Just go get it. No application necessary.

          • fun bobby

            here is a great way to reduce the “gun violence” numbers, simply change the definition to exclude suicide. we could reduce it by 2/3rds. of course that term was created expressly for the purpose of creating in inflated number.
            the source of the guns is irrelevant, you seem not to understand that its a matter of supply and demand. as long as there is a demand for guns there will be a supply. you seem to have the same mindset as cops who think they can succeed in the war on drugs if only they can discover the supply.
            like drugs this is a problem of reducing the demand. to reduce the demand for crime guns simply end the prohibition of drugs. overnight all the drug gangs are out of business and the “turf” becomes worthless and not worth fighting over. in some very violent cities this could cut the homicide rate 90%.
            actually to buy any new gun you have to fill out an application and have a government background check. unless of course you are a gang member then they tend to skip the checks. what do you think can be done about that?

          • Chuck

            It’s the second amendment type’s fondest dream – when they don’t like the data, just change the definition. Also, you can’t ignore the problem (as you suggest) and hope it will go away. The war on drugs is a straw dog argument. let’s try viewing the proliferation of guns like a cancer on the public health. It needs to be removed while the body is still alive. I reject the idea that 20,000 suicide deaths caused by easy access to a gun don’t count. I doubt most of those people would still commit the deed if their choices were knives or poison.

          • fun bobby

            ROFL you understand that the term was coined recently because the rate of gun homicide kept falling despite all the easing of carry laws nationwide?
            its disingenuous newspeak. newspeak makes rational debate very difficult by design.
            since it was a problem created by semantics that seems like the most obvious solution.
            I hope those people do choose a gun so they don’t choose a car or self immolation. they could harm others if they did so.
            the suicide thing is a red herring. is suicide illegal?
            is a “straw dog” argument like a straw man argument?
            if it is then you are wrong. basic economic principals apply to both problems in much the same way. its idiocy to try to ban or overregulate either, nothing but market failures have happened.

      • Terry Pie

        You are so full of crap. I’m a Veteran, civil servant and some law enforcement. I have never seen one cop killed by a legal conceal carry holder. Read my post up top. And you go on about our sick obsession for guns and the use of facts. HA, both sides do that. I doubt any of your statements are true and have doubts about your law back ground. The word is LIAR.
        But if it’s true, be prepared to turn in your weapon when you retire! You one us now slim. I’m not a Clive Bundy fan, BUT I was proud of the militias that stood up to our Feds.. They prevented another Ruby Ridge, you know the Feds shot and killed women and children. They prevented another Waco, you know when they killed citizens with TANKS, guns and Fire!
        Actually you may work for them.
        EYES..

      • fun bobby

        “If you don’t trust your own government, then you, as a citizen, should work to help fix it.”
        kinda hard to do from within a cattle car

      • fun bobby

        so are you afraid you are going to commit suicide?

      • fun bobby

        somehow this article neglected to mention that there has been regular mass murders in Australia committed by firebombing places. perhaps we and they should ban gasoline, oh wait the antis would probably love that.

    • Chuck

      Tired of NRA gunsels screaming at the hard cold facts that don’t support ther prejudices.

      • Another Mike

        Like the fact that Australia’s gun ban had no effect on its already decreasing homicide rate? It’s published on an official Australian government website.

        • fun bobby

          how about how new Zealand, much more like Australia than America is, did nothing and has no mass shootings either

          • Another Mike

            Yes, the last mass shooting in New Zealand took place in 1997, the year after the Port Arthur massacre in Australia, which led to the ban and confiscation of long guns there, but which did not, ultimately, change the gun laws in New Zealand.

            Two aspects of this last New Zealand massacre stand out. First, the young man was not just schizophrenic, but had been high on cannabis for the previous several days. Second, instead of a semiauto or even a pump, he killed six people with a single shot shotgun, a type legal in even the most strictly regulated countries.

          • fun bobby

            I wonder why this article forgot to mention all the mass murders in Australia by firebombing in the mean time. or the fact that America’s gun homicide rate is down by about the same rate as Australia. and the fact that Australia is huge and only has a population of only 8 million people. and how the gun laws there are used to deny aborigines and other minorities their ability, they have no recognized right, to bear arms.

  • TonawandaJosh

    …interesting that the drastic increase in violent crime (much like in the UK) isn’t mentioned, as a direct result of this legislation (an increase of 42+ percent, by some estimates). Also, I’d like to hear how many “mass” shootings happened before the Port Arthur event; like here in the states, it sounds as though in was another political knee-jerk reaction by politicians aiming to be seen as “pro-active”. It’s funny that there as in here, those making the push are ALWAYS ignorant of the devices of which they seek to regulate.

    • S David H de Lorge

      Except, according to most Australians, it helped. It worked.

      • fun bobby

        except that they are currently rolling back their bans because they don’t feel that way. for some reason article neglected that

        • S David H de Lorge

          “They” including which groups of them? Measured by whom? Asking what?

          And which of “they” continue to say they don’t feel the way you say they do?

          Dag! BTW, pile it on, eh? The audience for entertainment has pretty much moved along. It’s a new day, and I say we should too. I just don’t like to commit the discourtesy of failing to reply when someone addresses me, or I wouldn’t have been here today.

          • fun bobby

            Australia is rolling back its racist gun laws.
            I should have been more clear

    • Radioburning

      What’s also interesting is how America’s rate of homicide with a firearm also dropped around the same time as Australia’s, even though sales have gone through the roof…

      Oh, and there’s still been mass shootings in Australia after the gun ban, despite what many Aussies try to assert. A quick google search clears that up relatively quickly.

  • Rick

    Your guest seems obsessed with background checks at gun shows. Please point out an example of one mass shooting where the gun used was bought at a gun show without a background check. I’ve never heard of any.

    Typical liberal hypocrite. Owns a gun himself but doesn’t want anyone else to have one. Same goes for Obama. If guns are so dangerous, he should disarm the Secret Service.

    • Another Mike

      Guns used in all of the mass public shootings in America in the past couple years were legally purchased at brick-and-mortar stores after the buyers passed background checks. Two were stolen, and one was bought by the killer’s neighbor, as a favor to him.

  • Michael

    sure…gun confiscation of semi auto firearms on a national scale….after DC v. Heller…what are you folks smoking?

    there are plenty of civilized nations who respect gun owners rights to bear arms and have way lower gun crime than the US. Rather than going to the extreme of gun confiscation. hell, semiautomatic firearms, pistols and rifles, are legal in most of Europe, AR-15 style rifles included (see Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway…) and yet the gun crimes are lower.

    with this talk of emulating mass confiscation as done in UK or Australia, do you think that the fears of those who sincerely think that registration is the first step to confiscation are going to vanish? the opposite happens.

    registration could have a role to limit gun trafficking (even if stolen and smuggled guns runs high as the source of illegal firearms), if the gun-control side would stop forever obsessing about the style of the rifle, their looks and would stope the dreams of mass confiscation in the US.

    …keep up the good work, you are the best recruiting and funding device of the NRA!

  • jere

    The guest mentioned firearms only use was for farming, Olympic sports, hunting… But missed a big one, the peoples ability to protect or over through a tyrannical government. It seems more and easy to think that there is no need for this in our modern day. The mass public has its TV, sports and other entertainment and no reason to change,but look at other countries that are in the modern day that have been over thrown. As a thought,the republic of the united states government is corrupt on many facets the rich and the banks take more and more and inflated the value of currency. What if the poor need to rise up are the rich and the government the only ones that will have arms?

    • S David H de Lorge

      So, you claim a right to engage in insurgency against our country? Armed revolution, not speech in opposition?

      Should the Secret Service be aware of you? FBI?

      Should you become aware that most of us will forcefully oppose you? That you aren’t the only private citizens who are armed and skilled?

      • Rick

        Do you have any knowledge of U.S. history?

        • S David H de Lorge

          Yes.

          • robcoe

            Did you miss the part where armed rebellion against the government was how we got our start?

          • S David H de Lorge

            Did you miss the part about how George Washington raised an army in the free United States to go put down the violent “whiskey rebellion” on the near frontier?

          • ScottJ

            Washington became a hypocrite, just as Lincoln did (refused to let the confederate states secede, but split up Virginia to gain another pro-Union state).

          • S David H de Lorge

            I guess. Just imagine how much better off we’d all be in a totally balkanized country. Sort of like the way South America has thrived under a variety of states.

          • Another Mike

            Realize that the US has the fourth lowest homicide rate in the Western Hemisphere, behind Canada, Chile, and Cuba.

          • S David H de Lorge

            Sounds like a plan!

      • John Browning

        Tell that to North Koreans. Sucks for them I guess.

        • rrkr

          North Koreans have no Seoul

        • S David H de Lorge

          Yes. It does.

          And do South Koreans insist on unrestricted personal access to guns in order to feed a fantasy of being able to conduct armed resistance themselves if their government should go bad? Or are they grateful for relative safety in their homes and on their streets, and in the free conduct of their daily affairs?

          • Another Mike

            South Korea has a very high suicide rate coupled with its very low homicide rate.

          • S David H de Lorge

            Sorry to hear that. How does its suicide rate compare to that in the US? What proportion of its suicides are performed with firearms?

            While we’re on it, what are they respectively in Australia, where this discussion started?

          • fun bobby

            S korea has the highest suicide rate in the world and civilian ownership of guns is basically banned outright. because of that they produce these large caliber super high power air rifles and pistols. funny how people will work around these laws. I do always wonder what methods are popular since they do kill themselves so often without guns

          • S David H de Lorge

            And what is the proportion of suicides committed with high power compressed air weapons, in the absence of firearms?

            Or are they more of a poison culture? Anyway, highest in the world, I am told. But still not told how it compares and contrasts with American suicide rate, methods, gender, etc. Or with Canadian.

          • fun bobby

            great question, I think its not many. “Two most common methods of suicide in the period of 1993 to 2003 was poisoning and hanging, accounting for about 2/3 of all suicides”
            their suicide rate is higher than our suicide and homicide rates put together.
            not sure what the point is in comparing such vastly different cultures

          • fun bobby

            we are midway down the list with an average suicide rate

          • S David H de Lorge

            Average of what? All nations in the UN? Nations high in disparity between wealth and economic distress? Untreated miseries of old age?

            And what proportion by firearm?

          • fun bobby

            of all nations that report suicide rates.
            not sure about the proportion with firearm, what difference does it make?

          • fun bobby

            or are they all conscripted into the military as teenagers without even exceptions for conscientious objectors? because if their government should go bad a million N Koreans will pour over the border ready to take over. sort of a different boat than we are in in so many ways

          • S David H de Lorge

            Yes indeed.

            So does that raise the mystery of why they all don’t want to be armed to the teeth, backed by their government, for last ditch guerilla resistance to that huge army pouring into their cities, towns, villages, and homes?

          • fun bobby

            because they are all armed to the teeth and we are all armed to the teeth and we have their back. seems that the greatest threat to individuals there is themselves.

          • S David H de Lorge

            Tag team too?

          • fun bobby

            personally I am against all war

      • ScottJ

        Yes, all U.S. citizens have that right. The U.S. military soldiers pledge to fight against all enemies of the citizens foreign AND DOMESTIC, including our own government if needed. I have friends with long term military careers. They wouldn’t hesitate a second to ‘rise up’ against the gov’t. if that’s what’s needed. I don’t see a big uprising happening anytime soon. Life in the U.S. is pretty good… no matter how much we like to complain.

        • S David H de Lorge

          Who declares that a domestic force is an enemy?

          *Our* government! *Our* elected representatives, conducting our national business. Not a self-appointed mob of paranoids and other extremists. The latter constitute a domestic enemy, not a duly authorized defensive force.

          At such time as we have demonstrably lost electoral rights in guiding *our* government, and it has been demonstrated to take authoritarian command of “our” affairs, I may join them. More likely, I’ll work parallel to them, because affiliating myself with a bunch of nuts will not assure my wellbeing either.

          Until then, if my favorites lose an election, it is still my country and my government. If your favorites lose an election, it is still my country and my government.

          Happily, we seem to agree on that. My aggressive response was directed to the early lines of your comment (and belief that armed forces members who act against their government have breached their commitment to civilian command, defense of the Constitution, and are treasonous). So the latter part of my response is conciliatory.

          • ScottJ

            I agree with you. That scenario of a government which needs to be forcibly removed is a LOOOOOONG way off. It’s when the ‘bunch of nuts’ are the only ones acting reasonably and in your best interest that you and I would join them. Until then, I agree that they’re just a bunch of nuts.

          • S David H de Lorge

            There we go! Thanks.

            - dave

          • Steve_7

            Not really, look at what happened in Libya, Syria, etc., they turned on their own govt. It’s pretty obvious from the Federalist papers that James Madison thought that having an armed citizenry would stop Federal abuses.

  • Another Mike

    Australia confiscated and destroyed almost every type shotgun that Americans use for duck hunting and upland game. Only one-shot-per-barrel types are legal.

  • Another Mike

    Per this government-sponsored paper, Australia’s long gun ban had no effect on Australia’s already declining homicide rate:

    http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/current%20series/tandi/341-360/tandi359/view%20paper.html

  • AZSandy

    Australia doesn’t have a border with out-of-control, lawless Mexico. That changes everything for Americans living near the border.

  • Emma Stockwell

    Please look at the Liberal Gun Club and their stance on guns and gun control.

  • Sherryl

    Good for Australia for standing up to the NRA bullies! We here in the U.S. have allowed the NRA in this country to run the show for far too long. When will our legislators act to help end the violence? Anyone who says they must have access to semi-automatic weapons to hunt is just dead wrong.

    • Another Mike

      Have you ever hunted duck, or rabbit, or pheasant?

      • Sherryl

        So are you saying you need a rapid-fire, multiple shots in succession gun in order to get a defenseless animal? No, I am not a hunter, but your success as one should not depend on overpowering the animal with a weapon that leaves no sport in the term sport hunting.

        • Another Mike

          It’s always best to have people without any knowledge of an activity to make the rules for it.

        • fun bobby

          so that’s a no then. good luck shooting multiple flying targets with a single shot gun

    • ScottJ

      Do you ‘need’ a hammer to pound in a nail? No, your forehead will do the job. It’d sure be helpful to have a hammer though, right? If you were a hunter/rancher then you would know when you ‘need’ a semi auto compared to a bolt action, pump, lever, single shot…. I could type a lot explaining it, but there’s plenty of hunting forums for you to check out if you really want to learn (but I get the feeling you don’t).

    • Chris King

      Try using a bolt action as a 500lb hog is 50′ away from shoving his tusks up your ass and then tell me you don’t need a semi-automatic.

      “Poor defenseless animals”? SMH……. Let’s see how well you do hunting for food with a spear.

    • fun bobby

      sherryl what does hunting have to do with this debate?

    • Steve_7

      The NRA is an American organization but anyway, the biggest flaw in his argument is this comment about being 10 to 15 times more likely to be murdered with a gun in the US. That was always the case and has been since statistics on the topic have been kept. It’s not as if Australia had a really high rate of firearm-related homicide and it dropped after 1996. It was low and stayed low, it’s a bait-and-switch argument, because then he goes on about mass shootings and then he lies by saying there haven’t been any since 1996 and there have been.

  • ImaTaxpayer2

    Great discussion. I’d like to know if your guest thinks politics has anything to do with the lack of gun violence in Australia? I doubt they have a two party system in which one party incites gun violence, incites hatred for government and tries to portray itself as patriotic by rapping itself in the flag and incites violence against those who don’t.

    • Another Mike

      Australia’s right-wing party pushed the long gun ban.

    • Radioburning

      Inciting violence against people who think differently? Just because multiple Democrat office holders have recently openly called for the deaths of gun owners, their children, and NRA members, as well as offering a $100,000 reward yesterday for nude pics of 17 year old female trophy hunter Kendall Jones, doesn’t mean you should badmouth all those Democrats on a public forum!

  • andyk1985

    Even the interviewer is ignorant. Australia does not have a right to bear arms embedded in its constitution. The US does. Both the interviewer and the interviewee are showing woeful ignorance of the subject.

    • fun bobby

      not to mention that Australians are subjects

    • Steve_7

      Nor does the Federal govt. in Australia make gun laws – criminal law making power is reserved to the States. Imagine if that were the case in the US, all the Federal gun laws would disappear.

  • John Browning

    What about the thousands and thousands of murders in North Korea because they have no weapons to resist their Gov’t. I have spoken to many who have said that they believe there would be resistance if they had weapons. That is the real reason why most Americans don’t want to give up their guns. Keeping Gov’t honest.

    • S David H de Lorge

      I always liked my Browning.

      Not necessarily all “Browning” anti-government hyperextremists.

      Domestic insurgents in our country will be regarded as terrorists. Many of us are armed and prepared to keep them “honest.” Our National Guard will contain them before we even have to.

      Try getting used to reality. Try thinking of yourself as a fellow citizen of the United States, not of some imaginary dystopia. We have real challenges on which to work together. Or keep to yourself. Just don’t think we’ll let you take over our country.

    • rrkr

      In what way is the U.S. anywhere like North Korea? Every modern society uses the ballot box to control the government, not guns.

      • Radioburning

        Yeah, right now.

        There are still people alive that remember when the ballot box wouldn’t stop 6 million Jews from being murdered.

        • rrkr

          Oh, come on! If the Government was really going to get you, do you think you could stop them? Admit it, you like guns because you think they make you cool, not because you’re afraid of the silly Government! For you guns are like cigarettes … :-)

          • Radioburning

            I don’t think guns make me cool, I think guns ARE cool. Most of my friends are liberal, and can’t understand why anyone would ever want a gun, so my guns aren’t making me any friends.

            And I don’t own them because I might have to take on the government this weekend. But today’s government is not the same as it was 100 years ago, or will be 100 years from now. Just because I don’t have to defend Long Beach from a power mad dictator this weekend doesn’t mean the right doesn’t need to be protected for people 100 years from now.

            And, yes, I do think 88 gun owners for every 1 military member in the U.S. can, and probably has, deterred tyranny.

          • rrkr

            >> right doesn’t need to be protected for people 100 years
            >> from now.

            Just VOTE. I guarantee you we will not need guns if each of us take it upon ourselves to vote as intelligently as we can in each and every election. (And btw, engage with those unlike us – like you and I are doing – so thanks for that!)

            >> And, yes, I do think 88 gun owners for every 1 military
            >> member in the U.S. can, and probably has, deterred
            >> tyranny.

            Our military has been specifically created to be a professional fighting force that knows not to take power into itself. If our military really wanted to take us out, we would not stand a chance.

          • Radioburning

            Gun owners in the U.S. are ten times as many as soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, how did those wars turn out? And if the military did go to war with U.S. citizens, it would destroy the country and politicians know that.

          • rrkr

            Not sure the military is scared of us .. :-)

          • fun bobby

            do you think the head of Syria’s air defense was scared of people with pistols and rifles? I think he probably was when they shot him, despite his fleet of fighter jets.

          • fun bobby

            “Our military has been specifically created to be a professional fighting force that knows not to take power into itself.”
            just as the militaries of all military dictatorships were at one time. unless you are making the point that the individuals in the military would most likely side with the people because their oath is to defend the constitution

          • rrkr

            BTW, I agree guns are awesome examples of cool engineering and design. Like sports cars. I can understand why people would like to own these marvels of engineering. But these are dangerous devices too. Hence the regulation.

            Certainly bullets aren’t cool, right? So would you would agree that we could limit the amount of ammunition folks could hoard, or large capacity magazines, or taking certain types of guns (like assault rifles) into public spaces? Or rules to ensure that kids never get their hands on weapons?

          • Radioburning

            Besides the fact that limiting how many bullets someone can own/buy being draconian, archaic, ineffective, and intrusive on an Orwellian level, you will never be able to control how many bullets someone could amass if they wanted to. Millions of people make their own bullets, and putting restrictions how how many you could buy would take a tiny bit of effort to get around.

            Besides, having 5,000 rounds means nothing when the worst mass shootings in history have happened using less than 100 bullets on average.

            P.S. Eric Harris fired 96 rounds at Columbine before taking his own life…using ten round magazines. He had more magazines on him, but there was no one left to shoot, besides himself.

          • rrkr

            >> limiting how many bullets someone can own/buy
            being
            >> draconian, archaic, ineffective, and intrusive on an
            >> Orwellian
            level

            Good Lord! A bit of an overstatement, no?

            In any case, I was just throwing out a few suggestions. What suggestions would you have regarding gun regulations that might work?

          • fun bobby

            the best change in law to reduce gun homicide would be to end the prohibition of drugs.

          • fun bobby

            so really you just want any sort of limit and restriction no matter if it makes sense or solves and actual problem?

      • fun bobby

        they respect our votes because we also have the right to bear arms

        • rrkr

          Your votes are respected because the US is a democracy.

          • fun bobby

            no, its not. have you been to America? are you from here?

          • rrkr

            Yes. Ohio. Clearly you have a different perspective about my country :-)

          • fun bobby

            and no one has informed you that the form of government in the united states is constitutional republic?

          • rrkr

            Your point? Just curious where you are going with this.

          • fun bobby

            you said “Your votes are respected because the US is a democracy.” but that is not true as I demonstrated. in our system of government we have systems of checks and balances, an armed citizenry is the ultimate check on out of control government, that’s why they respect out votes.

          • rrkr

            Interesting that you think so. Thanks for sharing your opinion.

            But, for example, I don’t have any guns, but my vote is still counted. How might you explain that?

            And (say) in Canada – which limits guns – how is it that everyone’s votes are respected?

          • fun bobby

            ever heard of “herd immunity”?
            in Canada anyone can send away for a ruger mini14, identical in all relevant ways to an AR15, mail order and have it delivered to their house.

          • rrkr

            >> ever heard of “herd immunity”?

            I guess you’re saying that because you have guns, I am protected from the Government. True?

          • fun bobby

            indeed, I have one to loan you should that time ever come. I would suggest getting one of your own unless you are real handy with a bolt action.

          • rrkr

            On the herd immunity note, there must be a right threshold at which the herd has immunity. The US has 97 guns per person. England has 6.2 (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_guns_per_capita_by_country), and they must have herd immunity as well, because their elections are free and fair.

            Given that 6.2/person seems to work, couldn’t we greatly reduce the number of guns owned per person in the US, and still have free and fair elections? Just curious.

          • fun bobby

            so when did they elect the queen?
            BTW we are now above 102 per every 100 Americans. and gun crime is trending ever lower.

          • rrkr

            The Queen is a titular head only, no? She is essentially a permanent employee of the British state. I believe most of the British place want the Queen and the royals to stay.

          • fun bobby

            do they have a choice? no, they are subjects and we are citizens. there is a big difference between being free men and being subjects of a monarch. free men have arms, ironically the british do have a right to bear arms but it is subject to government approval, that’s why we made ours clear that it was not to be infringed.

          • rrkr

            >> do they have a choice?

            I believe there have been a couple of elections (I think in the 60s when the British economy was tanking) where one party has wanted to abolish the monarchy. However, the party that wanted it lost badly. The monarchy in Britain stays because the people truly want it (and get very defensive, btw, when others – like me when I was in England questioned the role of the Queen! It was weird!)

            But let me repeat my previous argument regarding %of gun ownership and free elections.

            >> US has 102 guns per capita and has free elections
            >> England has 6.2 guns/person and has free elections
            >> Yemen has 55 guns/person and no free elections

            So it would seem to me that there is no correlation between gun ownership and freedom of the vote.

          • fun bobby

            perhaps you need more data points and longitudinal data, also despite the numbers the british on paper do have a right to bear arms

          • rrkr

            Maybe .. but you see my point, of course.

            See, I think, if folks want to own guns because they are cool, in the same manner fancy cars are cool, and iPods are cool, then they should by all means do so. Heck, I might even!

            But I don’t see any argument beyond that for owning guns – like gun ownership is needed to protect us from the Government (which is US; we are the government. Do we need to be protected from ourselves?!) or that everyone needs to own a gun for self-defense – there’s not been ONE burglary or other crime in my neighborhood in the past 15 years!

          • fun bobby

            maybe looking at places where the government is not actively murdering people en masse is not germaine. perhaps these are more relevant statistics.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_genocides_by_death_toll

            in 100% of these events the victims had their right to bear arms restricted by law before.

            you tell me, Do we need to be protected from ourselves?!

            that’s the idea behind gun control is it not?
            I don’t think anyone has argued that everyone needs a gun for self defense, perhaps some have suggested it would be advantageous, but only a few places actually require everyone to have a gun and there are many exceptions.
            that’s lovely for your neighborhood, I hope you always live in such a great situation, I am willing to bet some of your neighbors have guns as most wealthy white people do. My neighbors house was broken into last year and a couple of cars were broken into recently as well on my street. in one case the perpetrator was ransacking someone’s car and when they came out he just looked at them and kept going, the police don’t have much of a response time for most things. I live in a decent middle class neighborhood, my neighbor on the other side is a medical doctor, in this city there are slums a half mile from million dollar mansions. just imagine what its like for people who live in bad neighborhoods. then imagine that many of our gun laws target poor people making lawful gun ownership much more difficult for them. since a $10 fee to vote disenfranchises poor and minority people how could a $150 fee not do the same(to a greater degree of course)?

          • rrkr

            >> maybe looking at places where the government is not
            >> actively murdering people en masse is not germane

            Is the U.S. actively murdering people en masse?

            >> you tell me, Do we need to be protected from

            >> ourselves?!that’s the idea behind gun control is it not?

            Nice point! :-)

            My response: Yes, we do need protection from ourselves. The question is what means do we use. We use the vote to protect us from the overreach of our elected leaders – i.e. the government.

            We also use laws and regulations to protect us from dangerous actions by individual citizens (like speed limits). I see gun control as an example of the latter.

            Right?

          • fun bobby

            >> maybe looking at places where the government is not
            >> actively murdering people en masse is not germane

            Is the U.S. actively murdering people en masse?
            -not our citizens, en masse, at the current time that is why it is not a good example. now 150 years ago…. there were laws forbidding the sale of arms to natives and their possession of arms passed well before the deliberate extermination effort perpetrated on the native Americans.

            >> you tell me, Do we need to be protected from

            >> ourselves?!that’s the idea behind gun control is it not?

            Nice point! :-)

            My response: Yes, we do need protection from ourselves. The question is what means do we use. We use the vote to protect us from the overreach of our elected leaders – i.e. the government.
            historically sometimes that works and sometimes it does not. consider there are current efforts to make voting laws, like gun laws, subject to poll taxes and tests, to exclude the poor and minorities from voting.
            We also use laws and regulations to protect us from dangerous actions by individual citizens (like speed limits). I see gun control as an example of the latter.

            Right?
            in theory, in practice it is similarly counterintuitive, for example in some cities in Europe they have removed all the traffic lights signs and all other traffic controls. they have seen reduced accidents and less traffic.
            VT for example requires no permit to concealed carry and they have the lowest rate of gun crime in the nation.

  • Moosecrackers

    Keep in mind that John Howard, whose government passed the Aussie gun control measure, is a conservative.

    Aussies just seem to be able to do things to make life better, period. In the 1970s they passed a law to switch to metric by a certain date, industry complied, and on the appointed date feet and inches and pounds were no more.

    They appear to care more about their citizens generally, and do not have a decades-long epidemic of stark-raving right-wing insanity to try to deal with as we do in this country.

    • Another Mike

      The Australians celebrate a peculiar holiday called Sorry Day, where they apologize to the aborigines for stealing their land, and for kidnapping their children, to be raised outside their culture.

      The government has yet to do anything concrete to make up for what they did to the aborigines.

      • fun bobby

        the other 364 days are screw the aborigines day so I guess it makes sense.

    • Dave

      Move to Australia.

    • Steve_7

      Australia only has a population of 21 million now, so reaching consensus is easier. In the US doing anything is much harder, e.g. getting rid of the $1 bill. And bear in mind John Howard technically didn’t pass the law or even write the law, the Federal govt. in Australia doesn’t have that power. What they did is arm twist the States into doing it and this “law” varies considerably from State to State. So not really a consensus, in reality. This whole subject is really smoke-and-mirrors.

  • Linda Daily

    Maybe it is time to re-interpret the Second Amendment? I do not think our founding fathers could imagine our current society….or the type of semi-automatic guns currently so easily obtained. Hurrah for Australia. And hurrah for Michael Bloomburg and his campaign.
    What are the NRA and gun owners so frightened of?

    • ScottJ

      I’m a gun owner. I think a reasonable one too. If you go by the founding fathers’s views (they were fighting against their own government), then the people of the U.S. should have drones with nukes… whatever it takes to defend against one’s own government. Realistically though, we have guns and not much else. What Australia has proven is that gun registry is needed to confiscate the guns. That’s why gun owners fear it. I have used single shot, bolt action, pump, double barrel, and semi auto guns regularly. They all have uses which suit them best. My degree is in history. Gun ownership by the people is very important. In peacetime, gun ownership in the cities means something very different from gun ownership in rural areas. The U.S. has a lot of rural area with a lot of people in those areas… I’m one of those people. I care about animas and their quality of life, and I hunt. I care about people, but I also care about self determination and know that ‘shit happens’. Guns are important tools which can be misused. Nothing more. Sometimes you need a drill, sometimes a chainsaw. Be careful with the chainsaw, but don’t take mine away because you don’t personally need it.

      • Another Mike

        Back in the 30s, when the National Firearms Act was debated in Congress, there were proposals to make all firearms dealers buy licenses, and to regulate pistols and revolvers. The head of the NRA at that time, a Princeton man and Olympic gold medalist, argued that citizens, especially in rural areas, needed pistols for self-defense, and that pistol dealers in rural areas would sell too few per year to be economical. Further, the burden of filling out Federal paperwork would be onerous.

        • fun bobby

          that’s all true, very prescient

      • Linda Daily

        I do not understand how a few regulations and permits infringe on your rights as a gun owner and hunter. The goal is to keep guns out of the hands of people with criminal records, a history of mental health issues or underage.
        How can anyone read the description of the mass murder at Sandy Hook and not feel that something has to be done?
        Both sides need to have the conversation and come to a compromise.

        • ScottJ

          I’m fine with a few regulations and permits. We already have that. I can own a full auto machine gun if I want to do the paperwork and pay the fees (not cheap). I don’t have a use for a ful auto so I don’t do that. I have a concealed carry permit, but almost never use it. I needed to attend a class and pass a shooting test to get it, and I agree with that. Not everything can be prevented. Would it have been nice if someone with some basic training and a gun or knife could have taken out Lanza? Sure. Should someone that messed up in the head have had a gun? Probably not. Most everyone is a criminal of some sort. I’ve had speeding tickets (one in the last 8 years). By the BATF definition of a gun silencer, every pillow you own is a ‘silencer’ and comes with a mandatory “10/10″, which is 10 years jail and $10,000 fine. We don’t need more laws or more strict laws, we need better implementation of reasonable laws. BTW, silencers aren’t whisper quiet like in the movies, they are considered a courtesy to neighbors in europe, and were restricted in the US only because during the great depression many farmers were having livestock poached. Background checks are good, but the last background check bill proposed was finalized without enough time to be read before the vote, made a felon of anyone who let a friend or family member borrow their gun, and promoted deception tactics to ‘catch’ gun sellers. We need lawmakers who will keep things simple, straightforward, and in the best interest of the people.

        • fun bobby

          and what law that was not already in place in CT would doooo something?

    • robcoe

      They in fact could envision automatic weapons, the first such guns were wheel lock rifles that could fire 2-3 bursts of 8 rounds each without reloading(making them, in Brady Campaign terms “high capacity machine guns since they could fire 16 or 24 rounds without reloading), they were made in the 16th and 17th century. Rapid fire weapons are an old technology, the reason single shot muskets were used rather than the more advanced weapons(muskets were not state of the art at the time) was they were cheap, easy to produce and easy to use, not because they were the best around.

    • Dave

      You know nothing of history, obviously.

  • Another Mike

    The other lesson from Australia is that gun registration is a necessary prerequisite for confiscation and destruction. Unless the government knows who owns guns, and what guns they own, they cannot be sure they have gotten them all.

  • John Browning

    Why do the Swiss have such low gun murder rate when military service is compulsory and everyone is issued a gun to keep which means virtually every family has a gun?

    • Another Mike

      One reason is that the Swiss deny the right to gun ownership to immigrants from certain countries.

      • John Browning

        I would also add, homogeneous society and quality education.

        • rrkr

          Also, the Swiss require licensing for guns and control who is allowed to have guns.

          • Another Mike

            Most of the Swiss licensing requirements came into being when they conformed their gun laws with the Schengen and Dublin agreements in 2008. Even though Switzerland is not in the EU, what the EU decides affects them.

          • Steve_7

            There aren’t any licensing requirements per se in Switzerland for simple ownership of a firearm, unless it’s a prohibited firearm, like a machinegun.

          • Another Mike

            Because of the Schengen and Dublin agreements, the Swiss have to get a firearms acquisition permit (Article 8 of the Swiss weapons law). You have to be 18, not the subject of a conservatorship, not a danger to yourself or others. And neither a violent felon nor a habitual one.

            And if you’re not getting it for hunting, sport shooting, or because you’re a collector, you have to explain why you need it.

            Further, if you sell one of your personal firearms to someone else, you need to keep a written record for ten years.

            Not only are machineguns prohibited these days, but machine guns converted to semiauto are prohibited. This does not include the Swiss military rifles, which the military will convert to semiauto for you upon your retirement.

            The Swiss also prohibit firearms possession to nationals of Albania, Algeria, Sri Lanka, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Turkey.

          • Steve_7

            You only need a permit (as far as guns go) to acquire for handguns and semi-auto rifles from dealers. Maybe semi-auto shotguns, I can’t recall. But bolt-action rifles for example don’t require any paperwork. I’ve actually done it, this is not me quoting a website.

          • Another Mike

            Before or after 2008?

          • Another Mike

            OK, for bolt-action you don’t need permission in advance. I don’t have a bolt-action shotgun so I don’t care.

            But the buyer must prove to the seller’s satisfaction the four requirements. Then the seller must draw up a formal contract of sale (Vertrag) and send a copy to the cantonal arms office within 30 days. This part is from he proTell.ch website.

          • Steve_7

            Oh except ID, you have to have ID.

          • Steve_7

            Nope, no licensing. You need a permit to buy a handgun or a semi-auto rifle from a dealer though.

    • S David H de Lorge

      Because the mandatory guns are mandated to be kept locked away for national defensive needs. Because Swiss citizens have not been buying millions of excess small arms, and feeling entitled to carry them wherever they go, or leaving them around for illegal diversion by burglars, or black market sales to all buyers.

      If you’re going to attempt to argue by analogy, you really need some rationally relevant equivalence.

      • Another Mike

        Requirements to lock up the family assault rifle were proposed but never enacted.

        • S David H de Lorge

          Ah. More accurate reporting? Related in what way to the presence of ready-to-hand guns in all affairs of daily living?

          • Another Mike

            So your government-issue machine gun in the hall closet is not ready to hand?

          • S David H de Lorge

            Not while I’m wishing to reach for my .45 in the midst of an episode of road outrage. Meantime, my 12 gauge is pretty flexible and effective for household purposes.

      • Steve_7

        Not accurate at all, you can buy surplus Swiss Army guns at the Army surplus shops all over Switzerland, and there’s no requirement to keep the guns you’ve been issued locked up at all. They do tell you to do it if you can but there’s no law that requires it.

        • S David H de Lorge

          Yeah. And it’s so convenient for thugs to go on a spree concealing a long gun en route. And there are so many hand guns in circulation in private transactions and burglaries.

          • Steve_7

            What are you blathering on about, have you ever been to Switzerland? No-one would bat an eyelid to someone carrying a rifle openly there, every town and village of any consequence has a rifle range for the obligatory rifle programme. There are people wandering around with rifles openly in Switzerland all the time, just go to a train or bus station. I suppose the concept of most people using public transport or walking to get around is odd to an American.

          • S David H de Lorge

            Tell me that when you’re visiting the banking district in Zurich rather than the scenic countryside with people touring to the shooting range. While you’re there, ask around about how they like seeing people carrying a weapon at the market for no particular reason.

            And whether this is the weapon they would expect to confront when being mugged or raped.

          • Steve_7

            So no you haven’t been to Switzerland and you don’t know what you’re talking about. Guns are routinely carried around in urban places in Switzerland, not just rural areas, for example go to the central train station in Zuerich. Every town has a 300m rifle range, not just in rural areas. Some of them are indoors in tunnels. If you happen to be walking down the street on a common practice day you will see lots of people walking down the street with rifles over their shoulders.

            Just accept your original statement was wrong – there are millions of surplus Army guns in private hands and they don’t have to be kept locked up.

          • fun bobby

            the government there subsidizes ammunition for citizens

  • Charlie Beard

    I am a rabid npr junkie, who evens listens during fund raisers. My kids grew up on your programming. I am also a rabid gun owner, who after listening to this show will finally do something I should have done years ago. I am joining the NRA.

    • Brian

      Welcome!

    • S David H de Lorge

      Offset by my resignation years ago. Think I’m alone? Ask George HW Bush.

      • Another Mike

        George HW Bush bought a Life Membership as part of his 1988 Presidential campaign. He had no previous affiliation with the group. Then he resigned from the group after Wayne LaPierre coined the phrase Congressman Dingell had used to describe the ATF: jack-booted thugs. LaPierre was reflecting on a series of outrages that the ATF had been involved with, notably the Ruby Ridge sniper killings and the Branch Davidian massacre.

        • S David H de Lorge

          Thank you, I was going to say, for some accuracy in telling history.

          Except it wasn’t accurate. “Jack-booted thugs” was uttered by NRA administrators in referring to loyal American agents undertaking lawful actions in what year?

          And in what years did Ruby Ridge and Waco happen? And where was George HW Bush then? And how long was that after he resigned his NRA membership during his presidency?

      • fun bobby

        no worries they have this Bloomberg guy working overtime on recruiting new members and he has sent them from 3.5 million members to 5 million in the last few years

        • S David H de Lorge

          Well, see there? Reproductive profligacy on top of phallus power!

          • fun bobby

            I know what those words mean but I can’t determine what you mean organizing them in that manner

    • fun bobby

      Ditto

  • ScottJ

    I lived in a town with my mom until I was 9 (she got ALS disease and passed away) and in that situation, there was no real need for guns. Since I’ve moved in with my dad on a farm, I now have many guns and use them regularly. There’s a big difference between urban and rural areas as far as gun ownership and how guns are viewed. On my farm, we raise buffalo (bison) and only field slaughter. We shoot and bleed out in the field and take the animals to a locker for processing. They often need 5-10 of them all at once in the morning. I can get by with 4 bolt action rifles, but my AR 10 with 20 round magazines is much more appropriate for the job. It’s a semi auto .308 “assault” rifle. It’s far from over-sized and over-powered, since I still use a .338wm and .458wm bolt action on the big bulls. Maybe for some people’s uses it is excessive, but certainly not for my needs. I’ve also been on pig hunts. A semi auto is by far the best gun to have. The US isn’t Australia, but that doesn’t mean we can’t share ideas. I do support gun safety courses and training. They are tools which can be quite dangerous (like a chainsw) if used improperly.

    • fun bobby

      should we mandate chainsaw safety classes?

  • podmanic

    Can’t be done in this country. The gun lobby’s total intransigence funded by the likes of the Koch brothers, not because they care about guns per se, but because 2nd amendment absolutism is the path of least resistance to manipulating the base into a blanket resistance against any governmental power or responsibility, no matter how necessary. Thus, climate change denial goes hand in hand with gun fetishism and directly benefits the fossil fuel industry. No matter how compelling even minor firearms regulation can be made, that argument can’t possibly overcome the broader case against the federal government in favor of a more Feral Republic.

    • ImaTaxpayer2

      While the right has their base distracted they are passing laws and manipulating the tax code in direct opposite to the best interests of their constituency, at least anyone below the top 3% income earners of their constituency. As the top 3% continue to concentrate wealth they have these bible clutching gun fitishists convinced that the problem is regulation and taxes, not low wages and loss of earning power.

      • fun bobby

        sounds like quite a conspiracy

    • fun bobby

      perhaps instead of trying to dream up gun controls that are “compelling” how about thinking up ones that will affect gang members and be “effective”

  • Brian Phelps

    Why did the interviewer not ask about the effect the law had on assaults and homicides? So now you have less gun deaths at a cost of more muggings, violence, and homicides in Australia and other countries according to: http://crimepreventionresearchcenter.org/2013/12/murder-and-homicide-rates-before-and-after-gun-bans/

    • Another Mike

      The Australian Institute of Criminology paper I link below shows that assaults are up, particularly aggravated assaults, sexual assaults are up, but that robberies which had gone up after the long gun ban are now down.

    • fun bobby

      and crime in America is way down in the same period

  • peter

    I don’t need a semi-automatic to hunt. I need a semi automatic for self defense they’re letting people out of jail in California. If you don’t want to be able to protect your family that’s fine but don’t take away my right to protect mine

    • S David H de Lorge

      For a moment of clarity, they’re letting some people *without a history of violence* out of prison somewhat early in order to save a little on wildly out of control sentencing mandates and consequent costs.

      And in order to make enough room to assure that they can hold violent offenders as long as mandated.

      But clarity doesn’t help that much along these lines of thinking, does it?

      • Another Mike

        Between two-thirds and three-quarters of urban homicides are related to the illegal drugs trade. Whether these individuals are personally violent or not matters little when their crimes are essential to their empires of violence.

        • S David H de Lorge

          Thank you for digressing into an argument in favor of an end to prohibition and the dissolution of the DEA.

          • fun bobby

            I have to agree with you there

  • peter

    yep now I’m joining the NRA too this is ridiculous.!!

    • fun bobby

      call your MA state senator before Thursday and ask them to vote no on the gun bill

  • S David H de Lorge

    How about inviting some Australian gun enthusiasts here to give witness to their national experience?

    Brady Fund for gun control? Other funding sources? Interested citizens?

    Many of them will give witness that their country is better for its action. Few of them hold such radical anti-government views as voiced by a few extremist Americans at such high volume. Any of them can still go hunting, and defend their homes. (All of them can choose to listen to more science reporting than we have on radio, to more readily access high quality, affordable health care, and to travel unmolested through their own streets.)

    What happened to my attempt to post my earlier version of this comment?

    • Chris King

      They also have protected borders.

      • S David H de Lorge

        And considerable public uproar about illegal immigration. Turns out boats cross shoreline borders pretty handily.

        • fun bobby

          and they send the people who try to immigrate there to Papua New Guinea

    • Steve_7

      It’s illegal in Australia to have a gun for personal protection and I don’t think you’re really in a position to speak for Australian gun owners. I dare say I know more than you do and they all think the 1996 changes were bonkers. Have a look at the SSAA website for example.

      • S David H de Lorge

        Discussion by tag team?

  • John

    More left wing frothing at the mouth “progressive” BS. We don’t have a gun problem, we have a societal problem. We have no parenting anymore. And the more LEFT we get as a society, the less anyone ever takes any responsibility for anything and we end up with all kinds of perverted, animalistic gang-bangers and lunatics. Just look at Chicago. Tightest gun control around. More killings there than nearly anywhere else. Hmmmm…. sure looks like THAT’s working out well. NOT. And DON’T give me that bulls**t reasoning of “well, they’re getting their guns from the next state over” excuse. If that were the case/cause of the problem, the tell me WHY the next state over doesn’t have the same problem as Chicago! Leftists have a problem with logic. They don’t have a relationship with it and they don’t understand it. You want Utopia but Utopia is unattainable. But you’re all too stupid to know that. In the long run, all you “progressives” are gonna get the government you deserve. And remember, the Australians didn’t HAVE a 2nd Amendment – and therefore they were disarmed. Their loss. DO NOT blame me for the actions of other and then take my personal property and my right. Love Australia’s gun laws? Move there.

  • dave

    Nothing brings out the lunatic left fringe idiots faster than anything which dares to infringe on the First Amendment. Oh NO! Can’t have Amazon or any one group/company controlling what gets published. But SURE you can take away the 2nd Amendment right ‘cuz you don’t “feel” safe.

  • kit

    This massacre was about an abusive, controlling, violent man who wanted to exact the most profound revenge against his estranged wife he possibly could. The key word here is EX or ESTRANGED. When domestic violence victims finally get fed up with the abuse and take steps to end it, tragedies and mass shootings like this happen. He had no capacity to do anything other than to express his rage and outrage by murdering six people WITH A GUN! These cases happen all to frequently. The DC Sniper, Joseph Palcynzski, the Seal Beach, CA multiple homicide, the Wisconsin Spa multiple homicide (I could go on and on~I train hostage negotiators in California): ALL of these cases were about violent, abusive men who had LOST CONTROL of their victim/s. Gun+abusers=massacres and carnage.

    • Russell Wyler

      Many of these shooters are “lone gunmen”. They are mostly on some medications, namely anti-psychotics. All have some anti social behaviours. The MO’s are generally all the same. All are males.
      Many get “suicided” by choice or their handlers.
      These lone gunmen are part of the CIA’s MK-ULTRA program.
      Mind control sleeper agents used to create the problem and our great leaders then come up with the solution of wanting your weapons.
      Action, reaction and synthesis.

    • fun bobby

      so you think that now there are frequent mass firebombings in Australia is preferable?

  • Kimber_TLE

    Australia?

    You mean where “Last year [2012], there was a public shooting in Sydney, on average, every three days. The pace has not slackened. In the past month there has been a shooting, on average, every two days.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-editorial/criminals-with-guns-are-a-problem-not-only-for-gangsters-20130730-2qxen.html

    You mean where estimates released in April 2013 by the Australian Crime Commission shocked everyone when the Commission suggested there are enough illegal guns in Australia to arm every member of the military with eight weapons each! And that’s just the illegal weapons!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0GPPxGX8pdA

    You mean Australia, where on 23 Jan 2013 Mike Gallacher, the (former) New South Wales Police Minister, told ABC News Australia “New South Wales police identify that a syndicate had gone and purchased, for want of a better term, a post office franchise and were bringing hand guns in directly from the manufacturer and the records police have show that hundreds of guns have come in through our borders into New South Wales alone, it really is a significant problem that the Federal Government is now recognizing.”
    http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2013/s3675339.htm

    Australia, where in 2008, the Melbourne Institute reported “The Australian Firearms Buyback and Its Effect on Gun Deaths.” The Institute concluded “Although gun buyback’s appear to be a logical and sensible policy that helps to placate the public’s fears, the evidence so far suggests that in the Australian context, the high expenditure incurred to fund the 1996 gun buyback has not translated into any tangible reductions in terms of firearm deaths.”
    http://www.melbourneinstitute.com/downloads/working_paper_series/wp2008n17.pdf#24

    Yeah. Australia. Safe. Want to discuss the bikers and gangs???

  • Malthusias Zhirinovsky

    Well, of course Tim Fischer is going to crow about their gun confiscation being a success. Do you suppose he’s going to come on NPR and say “I supported a plan that cost the Australian taxpayer over $500 million, and it didn’t do a damn thing!”?

    Meanwhile, independent examinations of the Australian gun ban have revealed it has done pretty much nothing. Money flushed down the toilet, but the Gun Control Advocates don’t care. They just steam on ahead, facts be damned.

    http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1736501,00.html

  • Sam Mosin

    First, I would prefer journalism without the advocacy for abolition of our constitutional rights. Just give us the facts. Second, if Australian public policy is a worthy benchmark, why didn’t you ask your guest about immigration rules and practices in the land down under? We really could learn a lot from them on that subject.

  • Paul K.

    It would be nice if NPR could have someone interviewing people that has some background with firearms. Someone that has tried to purchase a firearm at a gun show in California. The story left some much untold. I would like to know what’s to powerful to have, which calibers and gauges? Are not owned. I have never heard a firearms story on NPR that wasn’t biased

  • Freedom Fighter Southern Cali.

    Look what gun control has do e in Chicago. Wake up America and stand up for your Rights.

  • Another Mike

    Tim Fischer fails to mention that as a primary producer (co-owner of his wife’s polled Hereford ranch) he is entitled to own semiautomatic rifles and shotguns.

    People who don’t own agricultural property have no such justification.

  • Civil Rights

    Gun rights are civil rights. Just as is Freedom of press. Freedom of religion and Freedom of speech.
    Anyone who thinks the POLITICAL CLASS has the commoners best interest in sight has a mental disorder.

    • fun bobby

      I hope if you live in MA you have called your state senator and told them to vote no on the 17th

  • Radioburning

    Australia is roughly the size of the U.S…with a population a little bigger than that of Los Angeles county. Mass shootings were also extremely rare before they banned guns, with only a handful happening over the 100 years before they banned guns. Most of which were massacres of aborigines, and not the “crazed madman” style shootings that happen nowadays.

    Now, instead of using guns for mass killings, deranged psychos just deliberately burn down buildings with people in them, like the Childers Palace massacre, Churchill fire, and Quakers Hill nursing home fire.

    Oh yeah, and their general rate of gun crime has remained the same.

    So, don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back, Australia.

    • Steve_7

      The main point to make is that there HAS BEEN a mass shooting in Australia since 1996 and people Mr Fischer just don’t mention it. What they’re saying is factually wrong and they must know that it is because they were still in power when it happened.

  • bruce lerner

    One-sided, as usual from NPR.

    The interviewer asked how the people in Oz felt about losing some of their 2nd Amendment rights. What an idiot. Oz has no 2nd Amendment rights ‘to keep and bear arms.’.

    Yes, gun crime is down in Oz; but other violent crime – with fists, knives, swords, rocks, 2×4′s, is up dramatically – as criminals no longer fear armed resistance by honest citizens.

    Not here. I will not live in a place where I must have iron bars on my windows and doors, like urban and suburban Oz.

  • Terry Pie

    Now here’s the truth. Guns are supposed to be destroyed over there, YET they are coming up in the hands of “organized criminals” or the “mobs”. Law abiding citizens who own guns, mainly shot guns are the only ones legal btw. They have to keep them locked up, trigger locked and the keys in separate locations. Imagine going to prison for killing a intruder because you got to your gun locks before he got to you? Let’s tell the truth. Mass murders went from parks to inside law abiding peoples homes where they can no longer protect themselves from robbers! Further reading about the TRUTH:

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2013/08/21/Aussie-Politician-Complains-About-U-S-Gun-Laws-But-Gun-Crime-In-Sydney-Is-Out-Of-Control

  • Terry Pie

    After you zealots take my weapons, who’s going to take the criminals guns? YOU?

    • The_Truth_Seeker(TM)

      Have you been shot yet by one of the criminals? Isn’t your chance of getting killed in a car accident, a LOT higher, than your chance of a “criminal” being around every corner and out to get “YOU”? There are a WHOLE LOT of ways to die,Terry – criminal shooting of strangers, is near the bottom. Now shootings between people who know each other, children accidentally shooting other children, and death by gun-suicide, including LOTS of Veterans (who sure know a lot about guns), is another matter! But you don’t want to talk about THOSE ways of dying “by gun”, do you?

      • disqus_UzcL1EG2zn

        Apparently we watch dfferent news. I sleep well with mine and it sets very comfortable in my conceal pouch..

        • The_Truth_Seeker(TM)

          You didn’t answer the question! What is the F’n chance, that you are ever going to be shot to death by an intruder, or someone that just wants to pop you, for no reason at all?

          I be almost anything that you’re going to die of one of 100 other causes. This is a mental delusion and fantasy that all you gun-lovers share – the fantasy that you will be taken out in a hail of gunfire. You guys watch WAY too much TV!

          You’re probably going to just die of cancer, or heart disease, like the rest of us – with no guns! All the guns in the world can’t protect you against a car accident, or fatal disease. It’s all just a big waste of your money. Buy health insurance, instead – it’s a LOT better investment towards your long life!

  • Russell Wyler

    BIRTH CONTROL TODAY, GUN CONTROL TOMORROW, MIND CONTROL THE DAY AFTER, THEN WE REST.

  • Steve_7

    And the lie continues – there has been a mass shooting in Australia since Port Arthur. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monash_University_shooting Moreover the number of mass shootings prior to 1996 has been exaggerated.

    Rarely if ever mentioned is that Martin Bryant who committed the Port Arthur massacre had his guns _illegally_, moreover there was no public inquiry afterwards.

    What he doesn’t mention is that Australia had a lot less armed crime than the US even prior to 1996 – and it was going down. So it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that it is still quite low now. And it’s going down in the US as well. And the number of mass shootings prior to 1996 in Australia has been exaggerated by people like Mr Fischer as well to make it sound as though the changes in the law had an impact.

    The estimate is that there are more guns in circulation now than there were prior to 1996, which also make it sound unlikely that the 1996 changes lowered firearm-related suicide, either. It did go down but it’s debatable as to the reason why. And overall suicide rates went up!

    • The_Truth_Seeker(TM)

      “estimate” – By who???

      • Steve_7

        Based on comparing the number of guns registered prior to 1996 to the number registered now, however not all States had registration back then so you have to look at estimates, e.g. from the Australian Institute of Criminology. But Victoria for example (the second most populous State) did have registration so that’s a simple comparison.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

July 28 5 Comments

Rob Reiner Reflects On Making Movies From ‘And So It Goes’ To ‘Princess Bride’

The actor and director has been making people laugh for decades.

July 28 4 Comments

New HBO Documentary ‘Love Child’ Looks At Gaming Addiction

"Love Child" tells the story of a South Korean couple whose baby starved to death while they cared for a virtual child.

July 25 Comment

Ebola Epidemic Strikes Top Health Worker

NPR's Jason Beaubien just returned from Sierra Leone, which along with Guinea and Liberia is suffering from the worst ever Ebola outbreak.

July 25 Comment

ER Physician Documents ‘Lost Underground’ Of WWI

Soldiers carved artwork into the walls of vast quarry systems beneath the trenches that defined the war.