The tough task of solving United States gun problems

Some of the guns returned in 1997 after the Australian buyback scheme - our gun laws may not work in the United States. Picture: Dean Sewell
Some of the guns returned in 1997 after the Australian buyback scheme - our gun laws may not work in the United States. Picture: Dean Sewell

There are a few things that occur like clockwork following mass murders like in Las Vegas last week.

One is that those in the US who like guns – or those politicians who take money from gun groups – will spout the usual crap of “can’t we have a day or two to mourn before politicising this?”.

If 50 people were killed in any other circumstances – apartment fire, train crash, bridge collapse – would anyone say “hey, let’s not do anything for a couple of days”?

Of course they wouldn’t. They’d do something. Except when it comes to guns, because it’s far easier for politicians in the US to sweep those 50-odd deaths under the carpet rather than take action that will be unpopular with some.

Another thing that follows on from these tragedies is that gun control routine from comic Jim Jefferies gets a run on social media – which is okay, it’s a good routine.

The other thing that surfaces is references to Australia’s gun laws, and the fact there has not been a single mass murder with a gun since they were introduced in 1996.

The implication being that America should follow our lead.

If only it were that simple. We’ve never had the same history of mass shootings as they do in the United States, which makes it easier for a gun ban to take hold here. 

In the 10 years leading into Port Arthur there were only around five mass shootings here. In the US, in that same period there were at least 14.

The US also has a higher crime rate and I can’t criminals handing in their guns.

Also, illegally importing a banned gun into the US – which is connected to two other countries – would be a lot easier than into a island nation like Australia.

None of this should be seen as an excuse for the US to do nothing here – for the politicians to sit on their hands is morally reprehensible. But their solution will likely be quite a bit more complicated than ours.

This story The tough task of solving United States gun problems first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.