Moran: U.S. should look to Australia for guidance on gun control


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Ben Moran

With the presidential campaign season in full swing and President Obama’s second term coming to a close, one of the biggest topics of discussion is gun control.

Should we have tighter laws on gun control? Should we have better background checks and owner screenings? Is the government trying to take away our Second Amendment right? I’ve heard all of these arguments and many, many more.

Now, I’m not going to tell you whether I lean right or left. What I will tell you is that I have political ideologies from both major political parties. Regardless, I believe that we should have stricter gun control laws.

According to Gun Violence Archive, There have been 2,382 incidents of gun violence since the beginning of 2016 as of Tuesday afternoon, according to Gun Violence Archive. On top of that, there have been five mass shootings, 227 officer involved incidents and 609 deaths. These numbers were continue to increase every day. 

Let those numbers sink in because it’s been less than three weeks since the year started.

So what should be done with gun control? Let’s look to Australia.

A man named Martin Bryant entered a café in Port Arthur, Tasmania, two decades ago and murdered 35 people and injured an additional 22.

Equipped with an AR-10 and an AR-15, both being semi-automatic assault weapons, Bryant became the biggest mass murderer in Australian history.

What did Australia do after this horrific event? It would have been very easy to say it was just a tragedy. It would have been even easier to say it would put in place more security or stricter police forces. The crazy thing is, it didn’t do any of these things. 

Instead of making numerous and empty promises, Australia enacted one of the biggest gun reforms in history.

Automatic rifles, semi-automatic rifles and pump action shotguns were banned. Licensing rules were tightened and a 28-day waiting period was created. Additionally, a national gun registry was created and a temporary buyback program was instituted.

The outcome? A study by Christine Neill of Wilfrid Laurier University and Andrew Leigh of Australian National University found that in the decade after the law was enacted, firearm homicide decreased by 59 percent and firearm suicide decreased by 65 percent.

So why doesn’t America introduce a gun reform like Australia’s? Well, it’s not that simple

Overall, the main reason I hear why people want to keep their guns is for protection. They need guns to protect themselves, their family and their friends. For the purpose of protection I understand the desire of a hand gun or something simple that is used for protection. However, one does not need an assault rifle for protection; they aren’t called protection rifles. 

I have nothing wrong with people wanting firearms for protection, but do you really need something that fires 500 rounds per minute? Is a handgun not protection enough?

Assault rifles, semi-automatics, shotguns shouldn’t be available to the general public, at least not anymore.

We need to eradicate this facade that we have a right to every gun possible because we shouldn’t. Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Columbine; how many more have to die before we realize that our gun laws are flawed?

There’s also the argument that banning guns won’t work. You’re right, it most likely isn’t going to stop gun violence completely, but why shouldn’t we prevent some or a majority? And why shouldn’t we take steps to at least try and lower the casualties?

No, we are not going to prevent every crime or murder, but we can try to cut down the growing statistics.

We can’t just keep standing around and debating on what to do; we need a change, and the hardest part about this is that it’s coming at one of the most controversial times in American history.

The argument of more gun control vs. more gun rights has become much closer in the last decade, according to Pew Research Center. In the survey, support for gun control was more prominent than support for gun rights in 1995, leading 57 percent to 35 percent. As of 2015, gun control only leads by 3 percent against gun rights, 50 percent to 47 percent.

We need to update gun laws and we need to do it now. It may not be easy, it may not be popular, but it needs to be done. Standing around and making empty promises in a campaign or debate won’t prevent more people from losing their lives.

It’s time for action.