At 5.50pm on Tuesday the 4th of June, 2019, a man who was well known to Police, fresh out of jail with a monitoring bracelet, obtains an ILLEGAL firearm and goes on a mass shooting rampage that left at least 4 people dead in Darwin, Australia.
Whenever the gun debate comes up in the United States, usually following a horrific event, Politicians, commentators and anti-gun activists point to Australia as the place on the planet that got it right.
Following the Port Arthur massacre in 1996, the then Prime Minister, John Howard, wasted no time in introducing sweeping new laws including confiscating over 650K guns through the “National Firearms Buyback Program”.
John Howard has always been praised for Australia’s so-called successful gun control.
But are these laws really as effective as people claim?
I often hear people argue that we haven’t had a mass shooting (killing 4 or more people at one time) since Howard’s gun control laws were introduced, which is wrong. We’ve had a few, including a mass shooting near Margaret River, which left a family of seven, including four children, dead. Today’s mass shooting is just the latest example.
The obvious retort is that they are far less frequent and severe than in the United States, which nobody here is disputing. They’ve always been that way, even before 1996. We’ve never really had a big problem with mass shootings in Australia.
But since Howard’s gun control legislation was introduced and the government disarmed the law-abiding population, illegal gun ownership and related crimes have gone through the roof.
In my state alone, we can hardly get through a news cycle without gun violence making headlines. And that is because there are more guns on our streets than ever before. The only difference is, now, most are illegal and in the hands of criminals.
When I used to own my Krav Maga gyms in Melbourne, where we also trained cops in Israeli tactical shooting, a number of the officers who worked in the Northern and Western parts of Victoria, told me that one in four traffic violations end with a firearm offence. Meaning that for every four cars they pulled over, at least one was armed.
You don’t have to like guns, in fact, you can HATE them, just don’t use Australia as your example of a perfect solution to your complex problem.
Because we are not the solution.
Today a criminal who had no chance of obtaining a legal firearm, still managed to arm himself and mass murder.
If I was there, my personal preference would be that I was legally armed so I could have neutralised the offender myself and not have to wait for the police. Who knows, maybe a few people would still be alive.
I get it, I’m well trained with firearms and I’ve lived in a part of the world that encourages it’s licensed gun owners to carry their weapons for that reason. And guess what, Israel doesn’t have a mass shooting problem either.
So what this should really tell you is that cliche statement “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”, is in fact true.