When President Obama spoke in reaction to the heinous October 1 attack on Umpqua Community College, he went beyond his usual calls for more gun control and suggested instead that America consider following the path blazed by Australia and Great Britain.
In the mid-1990s Australia and Great Britain both instituted what were virtually complete bans on firearm possession.
Obama referenced the bans thus:
We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours — Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours. So we know there are ways to prevent it.
And Obama is not the only one who suggested taking a gun-free approach to American life. The anti-Second Amendment message was also pushed by Slate, Vox, and Dan Savage.
For example, on October 1 Slate ran a story reminding readers that Australia enacted their gun ban in response to an attack on April 28, 1996, wherein a gunman “opened fire on tourists in a seaside resort in Port Arthur, Tasmania.” Thirty-five were killed and 23 others wounded in the attack. Twelve days later Australia’s government banned guns, period.
On October 2 Vox explained that Australia “confiscated 650,000 guns” via a “mandatory gun buyback” program which forced gun owners to hand their firearms over for destruction. Vox claims the result was that “murders and suicides plummeted’ and suggested such a path might be an option for America following “the murder of at least 10 people at Umpqua Community College.”
Vox did not mention that “firearm-related murder and non-negligent homicide” began plummeting in America in the mid-1990s as well. But in America, the decrease in violent crime did not correlate with a gun ban but with a rapid expansion in the number of guns privately owned. The Congressional Research Service reported that the number of privately owned firearms in America went from 192 million in 1994 to 310 million privately owned firearms in 2009. Subsequently, the “firearm-related murder and non-negligent homicide” rate fell from 6.6 per 100,000 in 1993 to 3.6 per 100,000 in 2000 and finally to 3.2 per 100,000 in 2011.
But none of this made any difference to Dan Savage, who responded to the attack on Umpqua Community College by calling for the Second Amendment’s repeal. Savage tweeted, “F**k the NRA, f**k the gun nuts, f**k the Second Amendment — better yet, repeal the Second Amendment.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.