Gun Control in Australia

Group@2x

no-thongs-allowedIn our beach side suburb Coogee, a hot topic at our local RSL club is whether we should relax our footwear policies to allow the commonly worn ‘thongs’. That is a long way from gun control, which is the hot topic right now in America.

As a result of the latest massacre in Newtown Connecticut, there was a vote for gun control laws in America. The laws did not pass. Therefore most Americans believe that it is “their right” to be able to own a gun.

Australia travelled down this road 17 years ago. America should follow our lead. There should be gun control. It would be the start to a safer environment for all Americans. A new environment where they didn’t have to fear for their lives or the lives of their children.

Like America, Australia also used to have many gun massacres. That was until the Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania in 1996. This massacre resulted in 35 people being killed and 23 wounded. Broad changes to Australia’s Gun Control Laws were introduced soon after (in fact within 3 months of the massacre). At the time, there was serious opposition by many people. These laws banned and heavily restricted the ownership and use of most guns.

no-guns-allowedThe result is that there have been no mass shootings in Australia since then.
What an undeniable success!

My sister Ruby, introduced me to this 3 part YouTube series on gun control in America. These 3 videos argue in a humorous way that Americans should consider Australia as an example of a country that has implemented strict gun controls.

Warning: These videos are very funny!

gun-control-in-aus-google

I began to think… In Australia we are concerned about the inappropriateness of wearing thongs in a bar, whilst in America, they are still concerned about the safety of guns in a bar.
Of course I am only a child, but it took children to be shot, to get Americans to debate gun control. I hope the Americans will ask and listen, to what their children want.

I made these 2 images to explain the irony of Australia’s “No Thongs” signs vs. America’s “No Guns” signs.

Australian bar

Australian bar

American bar

American bar

2 bars, one Australian and one American. Both bars have the same name, same purpose and same rules… except for one striking difference.
These signs say so much about the environment that they live in. More than you could imagine.

I hope it makes the undecided American’s wonder: Which society would they prefer to live in?

By Eve Cogan

2 Comments

  1. SondreB on 21/05/2013 at 8:10 am

    Gun control has for a long time been a topic that engages people of all cultures and backgrounds.

    There is a lot of statistics and “evidence” that points towards not more or less crime, where there is more liberal gun laws.

    Culture is a very important factor on the rate of violence and murders in any society. Switzerland and Norway are countries with a lot of guns, but also very strict gun laws.

    I believe that culture changes will have the biggest impact on reducing crime and deaths, not stricter gun laws.

    The strict regulations in Norway did not stop Anders Behring Breivik from killing 75 people (some with the bomb, but most by shooting). The reality is, that if just a few of the people on the island was armed, they could easily have stopped Breivik.

    Some of the most restrictive (non-free) countries have some of the highest homicide rates: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

    Brazil, North Korea, Russia, Cayman Islands, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, Ukraine, Cuba are just some of the many countries with higher homicide rates than USA.

    Rate in Norway is 0.6, Switzerland 0.7, Japan 0.4, Singapore 0.3, Hong Kong 0.2.

    Australia rate is 1.0, same as China, Sweden, Saudi Arabia.

    All of these countries have very different cultures, very different levels of guns in the society and very different laws.

    Interesting blog post! Crime and statistics is a very complex topic, there are a lot of elements with correlation, but often not a clear causation.

  2. Brooke Rooney on 21/05/2013 at 10:34 am

    “I began to think… In Australia we are concerned about the inappropriateness of wearing thongs in a bar, whilst in America, they are still concerned about the safety of guns in a bar.” …Incredibly well said, Eve, and I personally couldn’t agree more.

    As an American, born and raised in the “South” where it is an everyday occurrence to see people walk around town with a pistol on their hip or a shotgun in their truck, I couldn’t agree more when you draw a comparison between the very different focuses in each society.

    Even though I grew up in the South, I always resented the idea of guns, but even being opposed to it, I still slept with a shotgun under my bed when I started living alone. And the best reason I can give you for WHY American’s are so “gun-crazed” is because of Fear.

    Stone cold, fear.

    In the beginning stages of my country, we were afraid of Native Americans, then Mother England. Then afraid of each other (when the Civil War began). Then afraid of immigrants, afraid of our government, afraid of our neighbors. Now we’re afraid of terrorists, afraid of anything “different” or “foreign”. We are a country built entirely on fear. And we cling to our “right” to bear arms because we are raised to believe that there is a shadow lurking around every corner. And unfortunately…we have good reasons to be afraid. The best and most recent example is the Newton Connecticut Massacre you mentioned in your post. And while you’re very right, Eve, that SHOULD be a lesson to Americans…it will still not be enough. Because what it has done is make us even more scared…Americans are now scared for not only themselves, but for their children’s safety. And that fear is going to do nothing but make people cling to their guns with even more strength. Because street shootings happen on a weekly occurrence in most cities, amid a variety of other unspeakable crimes – not just massacres.

    So, as an American, I am opposed to guns. But if I ever had to move back to Tennessee, I’d have a carrying permit in a heart beat and I would keep that gun on my hip and one under my bed and a taser in my purse because…when I am home, I am scared.

    But here, in Australia, I’ve never felt safer. And since seeing “the light” so-to-speak, I don’t ever plan on going back to live in a place where I would have to fear for the lives of my future children. NO WAY.

    Well written post, Eve, and I hope my response gives you a little bit of an insight into exactly WHY Americans are just so dang crazy when it comes to guns…we’re very, very scared.

    -Brooke Rooney

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