Flanked by children who wrote to him after the Sandy Hook shooting last month, Barack Obama today proposed the strictest American gun laws since Bill Clinton’s assault weapons ban in 1994.

Guns, where they belong - on the trash heap. Photo: AFP

He deserves a lot of credit. It won’t be easy to push this legislation through the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and America’s powerful gun lobby will resist, but Obama has signalled that he is willing to fight hard.

The President’s proposal would forbid the purchase of military-style assault weapons by civilians, while also banning high-capacity ammunition magazines and mandating universal background checks for gun buyers.

He has also issued a number of executive orders – decrees which do not require congressional approval – although placed in context, most of these measures are little more than window dressing.

Importantly, Obama seems to have learned from some of the flaws in Clinton’s earlier ban, which expired under President George W. Bush in 2004. Gun companies circumvented that legislation by making small aesthetic changes to their products, thus ensuring that their guns weren’t classified as assault weapons under federal law.

In its policy release today, the White House has explicitly warned that it will not allow that practice to be repeated. Even so, Obama should expect some trickery from gun manufacturers in the future if his legislation does pass.

He can also expect a significant public backlash. A Washington Post/ABC poll released several days ago does show majority support for banning assault weapons (58 per cent in favour), and a whopping 88 per cent of Americans support background checks for gun buyers.

But the same survey found that 55 per cent of Americans agree with the National Rifle Association’s position that there should be armed guards in schools. Even as support for some regulation of the industry grows, America’s gun culture endures.

Any opposition to Obama’s plan will be extremely vocal, whether it’s in the minority or not. Remember the Tea Party? Take that level of anger and double it.

And yet, for all the acrimony that this proposal will cause, it doesn’t go nearly far enough. According to our best estimates, there are already roughly 300 million guns in public circulation within the United States. Whatever Washington does to regulate the sale of new firearms, those 300 million weapons will still be out there.

Clinton’s assault weapons ban only applied to guns manufactured after the 1994 law had been passed. If Obama copies that approach, any new legislation will do virtually nothing to stop the bloodshed in America’s streets.

Obama’s proposal is an excellent start, but nothing more. Unless tougher measures are enacted later, the violence will continue.

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    • TruthAsker says:

      07:57am | 17/01/13

      How can it be an excellent start when you’re admitting it will do nothing to stop gun crime? Also I don’t suppose you’re aware that so-called assault weapons make up 3% of all gun crime in America? Why not use the ‘excellent start’ to ban hand guns? Oh, because it’s black gang bangers shooting each other, and we all know they don’t matter, right?

      Useless legislation that will only serve to divide the country further and achieve nothing in regards to it’s purpose.

    • Sam Clench

      Sam Clench says:

      08:57am | 17/01/13

      We actually don’t disagree to the extent that you think. These measures are useful as far as they go. They should at least make it more difficult for nutters to commit massacres, like Sandy Hook. But they need to be a stepping stone toward stricter measures to combat the everyday violence that you highlight. If Obama tried anything more than this off the bat he’d be howled down.

    • Brett says:

      09:04am | 17/01/13

      Ah yes, the “Aussie” perchant for bans.  Sorry, not quite as simple as that TruthAsker.  Kneejerk bans, endless petty rules and restrictions are the Australian way, where pretty soon need a permit to cross the road.  Americans are a confident, fiercly independent and resourceful lot who (unlike so many Aussies) don’t want government micromanageing every aspect of their lives.  It’s hard for sanctimoneous Australians to understand, but guns are deeply ingrained in American culture, whether “we” approve or not.

    • Huh says:

      09:12am | 17/01/13

      @brett

      Someone proprosed a permit to cross the road ? When ? Who ?

    • Bruce says:

      09:53am | 17/01/13

      I guess its some kind of start. However, would not more USA dollars into the mental health system in the USA be more appropriate. It appears there are a huge number of people in America needing mental help.

    • Paul says:

      11:07am | 17/01/13

      @ Brett: I certainly agree with your sentiment. Travelling regularly throughout the United States with work I notice one thing everytime, an armed society is a polite society especially when one is cool. I’ve never had an issue. They are polite on the road, put the indicator on and they’ll let you in, unlike arrogant Australian drivers. Go to a bar and everyone is there for a good time not to swill rum and pick a fight. The friendliest people are black or hispanic.

      Last November I was in Sierra Vista, AZ. They have open carry laws and you can cruise around on your Harley with a bandana as a helmet. Go out for dinner and everyone is polite, even the kids are well behaved unlike our privileged, little mongrels with mothers who think their little darlings can do no wrong.

      Manufactured fear from the Australian media is a curse of this Nation. Bob Marley had it right in his track, Redemption Song. ‘Emancipate yourself from mental slavery’.

    • TerryG of PK says:

      01:18pm | 17/01/13

      Brett@9.04am - “Ah yes, the “Aussie” perchant for bans.  Sorry, not quite as simple as that TruthAsker.  Kneejerk bans, endless petty rules and restrictions are the Australian way” Kneejerk, no, overdue. “Americans are a confident, fiercly independent and resourceful lot who (unlike so many Aussies) don’t want government micromanageing every aspect of their lives”  5740 children under the age of 18 killed because of guns in the states in 2008 & 2009, at what number of deaths would you say enough is enough?

    • K^2 says:

      02:17pm | 17/01/13

      And that slaughter to the nation
      Shall steam up like inspiration,
      Eloquent, oracular;
      A volcano heard afar.

      And these words shall then become
      Like oppression’s thundered doom,
      Ringing through each heart and brain
      Heard again, again, again –

      Rise like lions after slumber
      In unvanquishable number
      Shake your chains to earth like dew
      Which in sleep had fallen on you.
      Ye are many. They are few.

      -Percy Bysshe Shelley

    • Paul says:

      03:19pm | 17/01/13

      @ TerryG: I’ve got an answer to that question. When people in educated Nations stop imposing on others freedoms especially amongst ourselves. Scratch the surface and there is a savage in all of us. You on the other hand are a hand-wringing, know better by reading statistics, dominating savage. Hope you had a great Xmas and that when you had, or were at a party some animal child didnt crash it and throw a steel spike in your boys head.

    • TerryG of PK says:

      06:39pm | 17/01/13

      Paul @ 11.07 - Travelling regularly throughout the United States with work I notice one thing everytime, an armed society is a polite society especially when one is cool. I’ve never had an issue. They are polite on the road, put the indicator on and they’ll let you in, unlike arrogant Australian drivers.
      You have just described Holland, Germany, France and many other countries I have visited, you seem to want to link politeness to an armed society. You’ll have to do better than the examples given to convince us hand whringers.
      “Hope you had a great Xmas and that when you had, or were at a party some animal child didnt crash it and throw a steel spike in your boys head.”  I’m sorry to inform you your aplication for a gun licence has been denied. After an extensive psych evaluation it was decided you are not fit to carry a gun.

    • Ian1 says:

      08:01am | 17/01/13

      When guns come to mind, the Americans have a fight on their hands.

    • subotic says:

      08:20am | 17/01/13

      When guns come to mind, the Americans have FREEDOM OF CHOICE in their hearts.

      And I support the American public AND the NRA in their efforts to stop a small group of selfish individuals trying to take away a basic freedom that most people take for granted - living YOUR life the way YOU want to.

      This isn’t about guns. This is about the right to choose how you want to live your life. Oh, and about keeping the bloody government out of my backyard.

      Gee, what’s next? They wanna tell me how to live my life in my bedroom?

      It’s coming….

    • Will says:

      08:39am | 17/01/13

      Subotic - the NRA just want to sell guns.  That is all.  Cherry picking small parts of a constitution written hundreds of years ago and taking it out of context in order to keep paranoid people with overactive imaginations scared and angry.  Who are the small group of individuals you mention?  The parents of the 20 kids who were just killed because of the gun laws you are so desperate to keep in place?  Or the families of the thousands of others who are needlessly killed each year in the US?  The fact is that the NRA and it’s membership are the small group of selfish individuals.

    • marley says:

      08:41am | 17/01/13

      @Subotic - surely there are lines to be drawn when it comes to freedom of choice.  I’m not arguing for prohibiting guns, but I don’t see an issue with tightening the licensing requirements or limiting ammo clips, any more than I see an issue with requiring drivers to have licences and obey traffic laws, or forcing car manufacturers to install seat belts and airbags in the cars. 

      With the rules Obama is proposing, most Americans will still be able to have firearms, but the risk to society at large will be slightly reduced.  True, Americans will not have absolute freedom of choice, but then, unless you live in an anarchy, no one does.  It’s just deciding where the limits are that’s in play right now.

    • hawker says:

      08:45am | 17/01/13

      Of course it’s impossible to ‘live your life the way you want to’ in a meaningful way without assault weapons.

    • Borderer says:

      08:53am | 17/01/13

      @subotic
      Gee, what’s next? They wanna tell me how to live my life in my bedroom?

      It’s coming….

      Gold…
      It IS THEIR COUNTRY and they can live how they want to, they can vote and the freedom to choose is not evil, you just have to live with the consequences.
      I still don’t get how banning legal guns stops the majority of gun crime which is commited with illegal weapons. It would make sense that they make possessing unregistered weapons a serious crime, like minimum 5 years in prison, provide an amnesty for six months to hand in or register guns and start enforcing, the NRA would back that, particularly if Obama actually worked with them by allowing them to participate and (possibly even fund) the registering of weapons (while signing up members). The NRA think they’re becoming more powerful by adding members but are only really registering people who would support them anyway. Obama takes thousands of guns off the streets and the NRA defend their members constitutional rights, win win.

    • Philosopher says:

      08:54am | 17/01/13

      I wonder if the school-kids chose to be shot to death. They are easily influenced by pop culture!

    • Dean Frenkel says:

      08:59am | 17/01/13

      In reply to Subotic, shouldn’t you change your name to Sub-idiotic? The only freedom when it comes to guns is freedom from guns, freedom from the dangers of guns, freedom from the gun culture. I suppose you consider freedom from education as a right.

    • Golly Gee Wizz says:

      09:01am | 17/01/13

      @ subotic

      So the nutbag who lives a couple of doors away from you and thinks you and your family are the ‘Devi’l has a right to have access to a high powered weapon as well…...... thats not going to work out too well, as it hasnt for quite a few Americans this year! Dont you think it would be better if people like that couldnt access, lets say, an SKS with Armour Piercing Rounds too easily?......

    • Duh says:

      09:04am | 17/01/13

      @Subotic

      Yes, it is. It’s about guns.

      I support the American public in their efforts to stop a small group of selfish individuals trying to take away a basic freedom that most people take for granted - living YOUR life.

    • subotic says:

      09:05am | 17/01/13

      @Will, until you’ve done some research, or at least spent a bit of time outside of your inner-city, latte-sipping, Sydney hipster cocoon & lived in the US for a minute, how is it possible for you to know what’s best for the average American citizen?

      Maybe the average American citizen is paranoid & wants a gun or 2 to keep the damn government out of their backyard. There’s a problem with this? Just because you don’t mind giving your freedom of choice away doesn’t mean the rest us have to.

      As for the selfish individuals, I’ve got a dollar down says your best mate Obama has a gun or two around his own damn home. And if he doesn’t, the 3 or 4 goons that protect him & his family sure as hell do. Wanna take their guns away too? Didn’t think so.

      @marley, you know I know…

      @hawker, just like it’s impossible to ‘live your life the way you want to’ without freedom of choice. Do I need a gun? No. Do I want the choice to have one? Why the hell not? Just coz you don’t want/need “something” doesn’t mean the rest of the planet should follow your lead!

    • Mr. Jordon says:

      09:05am | 17/01/13

      @ subotic says: 08:20am | 17/01/13

      That basic freedom is the right to bare arms against the government not for self defence against other nutter with guns.

      And here is a NEWSFLASH. Those arms are no match for the US government which has tanks, aircraft, drones, missiles etc etc.

    • Philosopher says:

      09:10am | 17/01/13

      subotic, a society with no restrictions on freedom of choice is not actually a functioning society. It’s merely a collection of individuals fighting one another, since we all have different wants and needs. Or to put it another way, it’s the Gold Coast without a police force.

    • Hello says:

      09:17am | 17/01/13

      @subotic

      “Maybe the average American citizen is paranoid & wants a gun or 2 to keep the damn government out of their backyard. There’s a problem with this?”

      Yes, there is. The problem is that they are paranoid.

      The government are not in their backyard.

    • Violetcrumble says:

      09:34am | 17/01/13

      I want the freedon to chose to drive my car really fast when I’m drunk….. How dare the government deny me that freedom!

    • Bubba Ray says:

      09:58am | 17/01/13

      —- take away a basic freedom that most people take for granted - living YOUR life the way YOU want to.—-

      Most people over the age of 4 or so know that they live in a society full of other people and that living in such a society carries with it a range of obligations.

    • subotic says:

      10:07am | 17/01/13

      See, the hardest thing about all of this is you have a whole cacophony of Australians who think that Americans are just the same as we are and that’s the biggest & most arrogant mistake in the argument.

      That, and ignoring the fact that mass murders are the end product of untreated mental health issues and not just by “owning a gun”. But hey, we’ll conveniently ignore the real root cause as that’s too hard for all the politically correct latte-sippers to deal with.

      The reality is that everyone here assumes that the (insert percentage here) of American citizens who are Caucasian & speak English are the same type of person as your average Aussie Dave/ Bruce/ Russell etc.

      But they ain’t.

      And the mindset of your average white American is based on a completely different set of historical circumstances than your average white Aussie male.

      Australian’s have never had to fight for a single thing.

      Ever.

      No fighting for freedom. No free choice. Not even when it comes to voting. Everything is done for us or we are “forced” to do it. Nobody here has ever had to fight for anything. Never.

      The government here just tells us what to do and we accept it. It’s a historical fact. We have never had slavery here. We’ve never had a civil war. And the worst thing that’s ever happened to your average white Aussie boy is spilling the bong-water in the bedroom and mum walking in going “Ooooh what’s that smell?”

      So for all you smart-arses out there who want to tell another country how to live and why they should live their lives the way you want them to, how about minding your own goddamn business?

      I mean, honest to god, if Hakeem Jackson from downtown Harlem started telling you that “you Aussies out there shouldn’t be eating pork because I don’t and it upsets Allah”, are you gunna stop eating pork?

      Sure, eating pork and owning a gun AIN’T the same thing, but try telling that to Hakeem. He believes it, so why shouldn’t you? Huh? Huh?

      And yeah, let’s totally forget about that whole correlation with mass murder & the mental health thingy too. I’ve seen your mate Obama’s health care solutions for the US.

      Which is why US citizens all sneak on up to Canada for health care, right marley?

    • Philosopher says:

      10:15am | 17/01/13

      Bubba Ray, even my 2 year old boy knows he lives within a rule-bound system. Somehow he has escaped the inherent trauma of this knowledge. Now you may draw whatever inferences from this, that you may…

    • Philosopher says:

      10:24am | 17/01/13

      subotic, eloquent defence. Except haven’t you seen the new Spielberg movie? The civil war in the United States is over; they have a massive, well-resourced defence force. If US citizens choose to go out and blast deer during the spring break, that’s all very wonderful… yet as you know, man is wolf to man and so they turn their guns on their fellows.

    • Fiddler says:

      10:28am | 17/01/13

      @ subotic. I understand you. Sadly most Australians are quite happy to give up every single freedom in the book in order to feel safe, then have the nerve to say in the first sentence of the national anthem that we are free.

      @Will, the NRA are neither a gun shop, nor a manufacturer, they don’t “sell guns”, even with the restrictions the guns will still sell, just revised versions of them.

      The problem Australians have is we have been effectively brainwashed into thinking that instead of punishing people for doing the wrong thing we should punish everybody instead. The US is an extreme example, but they have a lot of liberties we don’t but if you do the wrong thing, prepare to be punished and hard. Compare this to Australia, where everything is illegal and if you break the law prepare to be hit with a piece of wet lettuce.

    • egg says:

      10:29am | 17/01/13

      @subotic, I have the freedom to walk down the street without having a gun pointed at me. That’s how I want to live my life. Is there a problem with this? Just because you want a gun, why should your right to a gun - without restrictions, apparently - override my right to not be shot?

      Imagine the stupidest, most arrogant, violent person you know, and now imagine they have a gun. I don’t get why people would argue it’s a good thing to hand these things out like they’re fucking candy.

    • Chillin says:

      10:42am | 17/01/13

      subotic,

      Not only well said, but 100% on the money.  But ask fml, apparently the left don’t tell other countries what to do, if it doesn’t affect us here in Australia.

    • hawker says:

      10:53am | 17/01/13

      That other standard of the pro gun crowd: we’re telling Americans what to do. For heaven’s sake, this is an opinion website, people are offering opinions. Start your own site, and ban comment on foreign…......oh wait.

    • Philosopher says:

      11:09am | 17/01/13

      Yes America has a long and proud tradition of not being seen to tell other sovereign nations how to behave, what is acceptable and what policies to adopt or discard. Somehow they have resisted the temptation! ahahahahshhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

    • Chillin says:

      11:12am | 17/01/13

      @hawker

      The point of saying ‘don’t tell Americans’ what to do is that Australians have no idea what life in America is like, you feel entitled to impart their values.  It doesn’t fly when Americans tell us what to do.

    • Roger says:

      11:26am | 17/01/13

      @suboitc

      “mass murders are the end product of untreated mental health issues”

      I’m very pleased to see that no women in America have mental health issues.

    • fml says:

      11:31am | 17/01/13

      Chillin,

      Name ONE thing Australia has told another country to do, and they have complied?

      There is nothing. We have our own laws, seriously, you have not answered the question (because you can’t) how do civil laws in other countries affect us in Australia?

      Why should Immoral laws in other countries be an excuse for us to have immoral laws? Why can’t we base laws (what ever they may be) on what we want? Seriously you have nothing…

    • marley says:

      11:32am | 17/01/13

      @subotic - being a Canuck, having visited the US on innumerable occasions and having worked with Americans on and off over the years, I’m well aware that they’re not the same as Canadians or Australians.  Their history is different, they’re values are different, and their understanding of what freedom is is different as well.  There are things we can learn from them, especially when it comes to free speech. 

      That said, I’m going to stand your arguments about never having had to fight for freedom on its head.  We didn’t have to fight for our rights, because we were able to peacefully negotiate them.  We didn’t have to fight a war over slavery, because we’d abolished it a half century earlier than the Americans did.  We did fight at least one war for freedom, though - WWII - and we fought it for two years while the Americans sat on the sidelines, making millions out of selling us armaments.  The Americans can be quite selective when it comes to freedom - which is why they had to have a civil rights movement and “freedom riders” in the 1960s. 

      Personally, I think a society which defines itself through negotiation and discussion rather than through armed conflict has something to be said for it. 

      As for mental health issues, sorry, but I’m not convinced on that point. If I look at one indicator of mental health - suicide rates - the Americans don’t appear to be any crazier than Canadians or Australians, and a lot saner than Swedes and Germans. Their mental health system is lousy, but so is ours.  And those models of public health care - Finland, Norway, Germany - have all had nutters committing mass murders.  It’s not the health care system that’s the underlying problem. 

      But, as you say, the Americans will make their own decisions about gun laws.  That’s no reason why those not directly involved can’t have opinions.  After all, we have opinions about Chinese human rights and Afghan religious laws and European nanny-statism.  Why shouldn’t we have opinions about the US as well?

    • subotic says:

      11:42am | 17/01/13

      @Hello,

      Paranoid? You want paranoid?

      Lemme tell ya a story –

      I remember a time thinking “how terrible” it was that somebody like David Koresh was ever allowed to exist in society. Made up his own religion. Had multiple “wives”.  Had a cache of weapons. What an evil, evil man, right?

      And… I remember, that “thankfully”, the FBI etc swooped in with a few Black Hawk helicopters and killed him, his wives, his children, his “compound”, and then set fire to the lot to make sure they wiped any trace of his evil ass off the face of God’s green Earth.

      So, tell me Hello, and all you enlightened Aussies, which one of these crimes was he being punished for?

      1. Making up his own religion?

      Using this model for an Aussie example, I should call for the government here to kill anyone who makes up his own religion? Scientology anyone?

      2. Had multiple “wives”?

      So, if this is the case, Julia Gillard should be expecting all of us, the Australian public, to, like our fellow “Coalition of the Willing” Americans, request our Aussie government kill anyone who has multiple wives? All you Mormons, African animists & Muslims out there with sneaky relationships, look out! We have you in our sights!

      3. Had a cache of weapons?

      Aaaaahhhh, them evil gun thingies again! Thankfully Aussies don’t have them anymore. Well, only cops & criminals. Yes, both groups of people we know & trust so well….

      Anyway, at the time, I was glad David Koresh was dead.  I didn’t want a man like that out there. A man who was able to just believe what he wanted to believe. A man who could have multiple relationships with members of the opposite gender. A man who was able to own a gun.

      And so, based on the FBI’s handling with David Koresh & The Branch Davidian as an example, what a lot of Punchers out there are basically saying then is that we, the Australian public, should adopt the American way of doing things (after all, you want them to adopt our ways, don’t deny it) and call for all made up religions, all practising polygamists and all gun owners to have a squad of Black Hawk choppers rain down the Hand of Julia upon them, upon all religionists, polygamists and gun owners so as to vanquish their heathen hides from the face of the planet? Or at least Australia.

      That is what you’re asking for, right?

      I mean, I’m not saying David Koresh was right. Not by a long shot. I’m saying he, and every other American, deserve to have the right to live their lives the way they want to without having them & their family burnt to the ground by a government agency who didn’t chose instead, say, to just arrest him when he went out for a loaf of bread….

    • hawker says:

      11:44am | 17/01/13

      Fair enough Chillin. Henceforth I will restrict all my comments to issues concerning the Adelaide middle class. I trust you’ll be doing similar. I’ve got my eyes on you Chillin!

    • Ben says:

      11:46am | 17/01/13

      @Subotic

      Why do I need sit a test for a Car Licence?
      Why do diabetics or other people with Non-Mental illness need a doctors certificate to gain a Drivers Licence? 

      Why When I get the Licence it’s restricted??
      Why cant I drive a Bus or a Truck with my ordinary licence???

      Why when I purchase a car it needs to be registered?
      Why if I want to sell the car it needs to have a road Worthy?
      Why if I want to hand my car over to a family member I need to change registration?
      Why do I have to pay 3rd Party insurance?

    • Chillin says:

      12:07pm | 17/01/13

      @fml

      Right here on the Punch, Australians feel they are entitled to tell other countries what to do - Americans and guns, India and rape, happens daily.

      I’m not the one saying civil laws elsewhere affect us here in Australia, you are.  I never argued they did, you made that up in your own head.

      I never said, nor proposed immoral laws be brought to bear in this country.  I never argued they should, you made that up in your own head.

      You are running arguments that you started and no one else mentioned.

    • Modern Primitive says:

      12:09pm | 17/01/13

      Bravo subiotic, bravo.

    • St. Michael says:

      12:18pm | 17/01/13

      For the record, subotic, we have actually fought civil wars or at least have had armed popular insurrections in Australia before.  Look up these little things called the Rum Rebellion and the Eureka Stockade.

      But, possibly because we’re not cut of the same cloth as those Americans who sacrificed 100,000 of their own people, in some cases their own brothers and cousins shooting one another—dead—before they come up with a solution to their economic problems, we haven’t ever really had a civil war on the scale of the one in the United States.

    • fml says:

      12:22pm | 17/01/13

      Chillin,

      Wow, you base your assertion that Australians tell other countries what to do on the punch?

    • Ben says:

      12:32pm | 17/01/13

      @FML

      Could you tell me Australian or International law   David Hicks Break?

      Could you tell me what Australian Law has Julian Assange broken? Remember He hasnt been charged The Police just want to have a chat to him.

      Some Republicans have called for the exacution of Assange on the Charge of Treason.

      FML how can an Australian be charged for Treason in the USA?

      The Height of Hypocrosy on the Americans, The Americans have there gruby liitle fingers in almost every nation even here in Australia. Just look at Mark Arbib running back to the USA Government telling the yanks that they where going to knife a Sitting PM. Now thats Treason.

    • Ben says:

      12:32pm | 17/01/13

      @FML

      Could you tell me Australian or International law   David Hicks Break?

      Could you tell me what Australian Law has Julian Assange broken? Remember He hasnt been charged The Police just want to have a chat to him.

      Some Republicans have called for the exacution of Assange on the Charge of Treason.

      FML how can an Australian be charged for Treason in the USA?

      The Height of Hypocrosy on the Americans, The Americans have there gruby liitle fingers in almost every nation even here in Australia. Just look at Mark Arbib running back to the USA Government telling the yanks that they where going to knife a Sitting PM. Now thats Treason.

    • subotic says:

      12:34pm | 17/01/13

      @St. Michael, more blood was shed last time some guy called Dave kicked over the glass bong and stepped on it than both of those so-called Australian Civil Wars combined.

      All those “Civil Wars” were were 2 isolated cases where a handful of Irish Australian males had one too many beers and decided to actually try to create societal change.

      What a bunch of idiots!

      Everybody knows the only thing Australian’s ever really try to change is the rest of the bloody world….

    • hawker says:

      01:23pm | 17/01/13

      Subotic,

      Having an opinion on whether the USA would be wise to reform it’s gun laws is hardly the same asking them to “adopt our way of doing things”.

    • subotic says:

      02:13pm | 17/01/13

      @Ben,

      Why don’t we make people get a license to breed?
      Why don’t we stick the elderly on chunks of ice and float them off into the ocean when they can no longer contribute to society?
      Why is it that you can be Mayor of San Francisco at age 18, but you have to be age 26 to drive a cab?
      Why isn’t stupidity painful?

      Yep, I’m hearin’ ya….

    • Homer is subotics hero. says:

      02:30pm | 17/01/13

      Clerk: [Homer grabs for his gun, but the cashier holds onto it] Sorry, the law requires a five-day waiting period. We’ve got to run a background check.
      Homer: Five days? But I’m mad now!
      [the cashier pulls the gun away from him]
      Homer: I’d kill you if I had my gun.
      Clerk: Yeah, well, you don’t.

    • St. Michael says:

      02:46pm | 17/01/13

      @ subotic: It was 27 people—miners and police—dead at Eureka.  Possibly more since many of the miners fled into the bush and may have died from gunshot injuries there.

      Admittedly the idiot who gunned down children at an American primary school had a higher death toll, but I wouldn’t exactly be claiming a higher death count as a victory in this case.

      Mark Twain, a rather insignificant American, had this to say about it:

      “By and by there was a result, and I think it may be called the finest thing in Australasian history. It was a revolution – small in size; but great politically; it was a strike for liberty, a struggle for principle, a stand against injustice and oppression….It is another instance of a victory won by a lost battle. It adds an honorable page to history; the people know it and are proud of it. They keep green the memory of the men who fell at the Eureka stockade, and Peter Lalor has his monument.”

      Goes to prove my point: unlike the US, we can figure out how to change our societal structure without having to kill six figures of our own people to do it.

      And, one might note, that’s even with Americans in the Eureka Stockade, of which John Joseph—a black American miner—was one.  He was subsequently tried for treason and found not guilty by an all-white male jury here in Australia.  Doubt that would’ve happened in mining country in America of the 1850s.

      The Rum Rebellion was bloodless, but therefore a great success: it was the only successful armed coup in Australia’s history.  Essentially it was the culmination of a long-running tussle for power between the government and private entrepreneurs, a fight over the future and the nature of the colony. The early governors wanted to keep NSW as a large-scale open prison, with a primitive economy based on yeomen ex-convicts and run by government fiat.

      At least New South Welshman learned the lesson that Queenslanders ignored: never give a Bligh command over your country.

    • K^2 says:

      02:58pm | 17/01/13

      Subotic is 100% correct.  On every point.  Once you all (especially you Bubba-Ray) realise that the most powerful word in existence is the word “NO” this world can start to change.  All those by laws that 99% of you detest, a bin collection fine, or whatever it may be, if enough of you every day people say “no” and do not comply the system of control will start to collapse.  Ghandi did this, and proved it to work.  There are 300 million guns in America, and comparitively to this number violent gun crime remains low, guns are not the problem and unless you remove all guns from existence you merely exascerbate the problem by placing the guns in the hands of those you can least trust with the power - government.  Well, gee guess what they call this? Centralisation of power and every time in history its happened tyranny has followed, every single time.  Government comes from fusion of two latin words - Gubernare meaning control, and mente meaning mind.  The government wants control, just look at your lives today!  This is a Fabian ideal, and has been in tiptoe mode for a good century now.  Well guess what our current government are all members of, the bloody Fabian society.  Guess what else, Obama is a Fabian.  Are we connecting the dots yet?  Don’t believe me? Go look it up, go look up what Fabians believe in, go look up who are, and were card carrying Fabians and what other control they instilled all around the world.  America has a huge military, but they do not serve the people the military serves the bloody government!

    • B4Bear says:

      03:04pm | 17/01/13

      subotic says:

      Well at least we know you value your right to choose more than the lives of a child or adult who will be murdered using a gun. Glad you cleared that up.

    • subotic says:

      03:10pm | 17/01/13

      @St. Michael, see, the thing is, nobody here can do that now, can they?

      After all, there’s nothing worse than any activity, even armed revolution, that might cause me to miss the tennis.

      Or spill my beer…

    • Cameron says:

      03:23pm | 17/01/13

      In the words of Franklin Roosevelt in his Four Freedoms speech:
      “We look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
      The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.
      The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world.
      The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.
      The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.”
      Your so called “basic freedom” of gun-ownership contradicts the latter two of these. It’s also naïve and deluded.
      Next, how dare you say that Australians have never fought for anything – this is an utterly stupid statement for several reasons, not least of all because we are the ONLY country to have fought beside the United States in EVERY war the US has fought since our federation. (FYI, my great-grandfather copped mustard gas and shrapnel in the Somme, my grandfather contracted malaria in Milne Bay and I was rocketed in Afghanistan.)
      Ultimately, I think it’s fair to say that guns have a limited range of house-hold applications, yet American chose to believe they’re somehow a human right because a poorly worded constitutional amendment empowered them to establish an militaristic, vigilante culture where even soccer mums are armed like they’re about to step into Call of Duty 4.
      Your dependence on weapons for a sense of personal security is immature and can be likened to the sense of power physical size gives to school-yard bullies. I wouldn’t give weapons to children, nor to those with a child’s mentality.
      Finally, this problem is snowballing due to denial and ignorance that lessons can be gleaned from elsewhere. We’ve learnt a lot from America’s mistakes over the years. If only they would too.

    • K^2 says:

      03:44pm | 17/01/13

      St. Michael, during those “revolutions” in Australia you speak of - the people had guns.  How far do you think they would have got without the guns?  Well just ask Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, or Malcom X how far you can get in a “cold” (peaceful) revolution (as opposed to a “hot” violent one) when one party has a gun, and one does not.  Unless guns are entirely removed from both sides of the equation, all it can ever do is create an imbalance of power.  In medieval times a revolution occured when peasants made long bows.  What it meant, was that for the first time, a peasant could kill a knight, which was unheard of until then.

    • St. Michael missed subotic's train of thought says:

      03:58pm | 17/01/13

      ...er, what?

    • Trevor says:

      08:12am | 17/01/13

      Have a look at the Fox show ‘Red Jacket Guns’ for a glimpse into the types of weapons in circulation in the US and the rednecks who love them. Recoilless rifles, Bren guns and fully automatic shotguns are just a sample of the types of weapons in private US hands. More scary are the types of people who own such weapons. You know the type- methhead looking, self proclaimed ‘ex-military’ (yet morbidly obese) idiots who often openly see Obama as the devil. As a loving gesture to his dear old granny, one of these clowns repaired her old double barrel twelve gauge. Nothing says family love more than a family yippee shoot I suppose!

      Obama is going to have a hell of a time getting this through if he found Obamacare hard to get through the paranoid ‘anti-communist’ legislature there. Armaments is one of the only manufacturing industries left in the US, funnily enough supported by the government and the military industrial complex. This will divide the nation even further and will add weight to the seccession movements currently underway in every US state.

      For those who like shows such as Red Jacket, they are going to love watching civil war!

    • gabrianga says:

      08:53am | 17/01/13

      I presume you include the African American and Latino “rednecks” who have been known to use these weapons on occasion to settle a gang war?

    • Luke says:

      09:10am | 17/01/13

      Way to sprout your ignorance Trevor! Recoiless rifles have been around since WWII. It has nothing to do with the power or fire rate of a rifle. Bren guns were a cheap and rather unreliable machine gun used by the Brits in WWII and such things have been banned for the public in the US since the 1930s. Also covering the AA12 fully-automatic.

      Many of these shows don’t tell people that the people they film are collectors with special collectors licences who would have taken a mountain of paperwork to purchase such weapons from suppliers. Not some Joe off the street who just walked into a gun shop and came out with one of those weapons.

      But keep up the self beclowning champ. You’re really helping you side there make it’s point.

    • Rhino says:

      11:55am | 17/01/13

      Luke, look up FPSrussia on youtube, he is a near insane young (not fat) American with a wild love of guns and explosions and a horrible fake russian accent. One of his videos features him dual weilding AA12 automatic shotguns. He has also fired rocket launchers, mortars, 40mm bofors cannons, a minigun, a machine gun armed quad rotor drone and much more.

      He has used all these weapons in the USA on his own property.

    • Peter Yo says:

      03:04pm | 17/01/13

      @Rhino,

      And he hasnt killed a single person -.-

    • Radio says:

      04:16pm | 17/01/13

      Correction @Hmmmmm.
      One of the men behind the channel responsible for procuring the weapons (not firing them on camera) was killed.

      Carry on.

    • Hmmm says:

      04:44pm | 17/01/13

      Oh, this guy.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/09/keith-ratliff-fpsrussia-dead_n_2439284.html

      “Ratliff was known as an outspoken gun advocate. In a message posted to Twitter on Aug 11, 2012, he wrote: “I went to the movies with my pistol in my pocket the whole time I was praying that somebody would try to pull a Batman!”

      Kitty Wandel, a manager and producer for FPSRussia, released a brief statement regarding Ratliff’s passing: As I am sure most of you know Keith Ratliff has been with the FPS Russia channel for quite some time now, helping us out with everything from pulling pranks to finding almost impossible weapons to use in videos.”

      Carry on.

    • Tork says:

      08:14am | 17/01/13

      You’d think people have more sense…
      I’ve got a good idea!  Make it a requirement of law that if someone wants to purchase a gun, they must first play russian roulette with it.  If they survive, they may purchase the gun.

      but they then must also be admitted to a mental hospital for being crazy and then have their fun taken away from them.

      problems solved.

    • Punters Pal says:

      08:18am | 17/01/13

      This really is America’s internal issue and I don’t know why should we, Australians are expected to have an opinon about it. We don’t like to be lectured about our own issues, like Aboriginal health or refugees. We shouldn’t be casting judgements about internal issues of other countries either.

    • tbird says:

      12:10pm | 17/01/13

      I second that comment!
      Its the same situation with the article the other day about India and its treatment of women, basically its not our problem to solve. Butt out Australia, we are not that important nor are we the World Police.

      Also anybody who has viewed Michael Moore’s documentary “Bowling for Columbine” will understand why Americans always had/need/want guns.

    • gabrianga says:

      08:25am | 17/01/13

      2013 must be the “Year of Profound Announcements” which mean little or nothing.

      First PM Gillard’s “plan for the future” now Obama’s “Executive Decisions” on gun laws.

      Seems as if the White House and the Labor Government are sharing their armies of spin doctors.

       


      Could the White House and the Labor Government be cutting costs by sharing their armies of spin doctors

    • Sam Clench

      Sam Clench says:

      08:33am | 17/01/13

      In fairness to Obama, “executive order” is a technical term. It isn’t something his spinners came up with. But many of these particular executive orders seem to be attempts to look busy, so to speak.

    • Haha says:

      09:09am | 17/01/13

      Could Tony Abbott give Karl Rove a job ?

    • simonfromlakemba says:

      12:08pm | 17/01/13

      Well we could have the war on terror, that went great.

    • bananabender56 says:

      08:29am | 17/01/13

      Simplistic articles don’t really highlight the problems - whether you have an ‘assault’ weapon or a pump action shotgun the net result is the same. Most modern automatic handguns would have a 10 shot magazine and given their small size you can carry and change multiple magazines in short order. To be controversial, there are parents in Australia killing their children by not vaccinating them so let’s get down off of our moral high ground.

    • Tator says:

      09:20am | 17/01/13

      Actually, try 15 to 17 depending on the calibre and make and model.  My service weapon the Smith and Wesson M&P .40 cal carries 15 as standard.

    • Bananabender56 says:

      10:14am | 17/01/13

      I think in some US States they limited the magazine capacity to 10 rounds but whether it’s 10 or 15, you can still fire and reload very quickly and at short range you’re going to die regardless of whether it’s a S&W .40 from a handgun or a .223 from an ‘assault’ rifle

    • Bob the builer says:

      08:34am | 17/01/13

      Unfortunately for sam he doesnt understand gun violence in the usa. Currently the us murder rate is about 5.4 per 100000 people much higher than any developed country which usual are betweeb 1-2 per 100000 people. If however you break this down on the basis of color that is black and white (latinos are counted as white in the us) black people who are about 12% of the population have a murder rate if 34-40 per 100000 people. The black murder rate accounts for the entire murder rate that is higher in the us vs the rest of the world. Clearly the black population has a terrible problem. So we have a population with 300000000 guns one for about each person, but if you exclude the black population the murder rate is similar to ours???? Please explain.

      Our own experience with a gun ban has resulted in a drastic reduction in the number of mass shooting, but no change in the murder rate. So the gun ban debate is purely one of do we widh to stop mass killings and not reduce the murder rate. If we do that is fine but the ban will have no effect on the murder rate. In the us money should rather be spent on reducing violence in black society. Then the us murder rate will fall. Maybe guns form part of this, but they would not form all of it as the white community has lots of guns but not the same murder rate

    • TChong says:

      08:51am | 17/01/13

      Bob
      How do explain the fact that the Columbine murderers, like the Sandy Hook, Aurora and else where are almost always committed by good ol’ White Boys.?
      Discounting these horrors, because they dont meet you theory about harmless caucasians doesnt seem particulary helpful.
      Are the Sandy Hook kiddies any less dead?

    • Josh says:

      09:15am | 17/01/13

      Bob, good points well made. The media would be too scared to touch those statistics with a barge pole.

    • Levi says:

      09:26am | 17/01/13

      TChong. Stop taking one thing and calling it another.

      Bob raises a good point. He never said white guys didn’t do Columbine or Sandy Hook. Stop attacking the Strawman.

      He said there is a problem, most likely poverty and drug use, amongst the black population which exposes them to far higher homicide rates than the white population IN GENERAL.

      He is saying if that problem is dealt with, the overal murder rate per capita is similar to any other developed country.

      Get off your racial and moral high horse.

    • Roger says:

      09:28am | 17/01/13

      @Bob

      Why do you think that 100% of the mass shootings in America for the last 30 years have been committed by males ? Is that just a coincidence ?

    • Mr. Jordon says:

      09:33am | 17/01/13

      90,000 people have died from gun shots since Sandy in the USA.

    • marley says:

      09:42am | 17/01/13

      @Mr. Jordan - 90,000 have died of gunshot wounds since Sandy Hook?  I doubt that very much.  If I recall the numbers, there are something like 20,000 firearms suicides and 10,000 firearms murders A YEAR in the US.  Way too many, but well short of 90,000 in a month.

    • Rossco says:

      09:50am | 17/01/13

      Tchong, just like Vtech was committed by an angry white boy….oh wait.

    • Sam Clench

      Sam Clench says:

      09:54am | 17/01/13

      From memory, the correct figure is about 80,000 gun-related deaths per year, with roughly 30,000 of those deaths being homicides.

    • Troy Flynn says:

      10:22am | 17/01/13

      Actually Mr. Jordan, I heard Obama’s speech on the news this morning and the number was 900 not 90,000. Still way too many for one month.

    • Mr. Jordon says:

      10:41am | 17/01/13

      Sorry my error.

      926 people have died from gunshots since Sandy. Which is still huge. And that includes 14 children.

    • Jon says:

      10:48am | 17/01/13

      Hey Sam Clench way to inflate the numbers!!!! Gun Homicides including police shootings and justifiable homicide 8500 in 2011 according to the FBI… So what is it incomplete research that reaks of something else that starts with incom, or did the real numbers and trend just not fit the agenda…
      Fact is legal gun ownership in the USA is at a 40 year high, and crime including murder, rape actually everything is at a 40 year low….
      Oh and by the way your are 3 times more likely to be a victim of a violent crime in Australia then the USA… Mass shootings are a tragedy but represent a blip that is even in the wild west usa is decreasing in frequency… Of course I do find the fact that 98% of them since 1950 happen in mandated gun free zones most curious, why is that, can’t they read the all powerful signs!

    • Chillin says:

      11:05am | 17/01/13

      One L. Goh wasn’t a ‘good ol’ white boy’
      Eduardo Sencion wasn’t a ‘good ol’ white boy’
      Omar Thornton wasn’t a ‘good ol’ white boy’
      Nidal Malik Hasan wasn’t a ‘good ol’ white boy’
      Jiverly Wong wasn’t a ‘good ol’ white boy’
      Seung-Hui Choi wasn’t a ‘good ol’ white boy’
      Sulejman Talovic wasn’t a ‘good ol’ white boy’

    • Sam Clench

      Sam Clench says:

      11:29am | 17/01/13

      :O Here comes the mea culpa! You’re absolutely right Marley. My apologies.

    • Roger says:

      12:35pm | 17/01/13

      @chillin

      But they were all boys.

      Do you think that’s just a coincidence ?

    • Greg says:

      12:45pm | 17/01/13

      @Chillin, well said.

      The fact is that the media only headline the mass murderers who fit their racial criteria.

      The only exception that I know of is the murders committed by John Allen Muhammed and Lee Boyd Malvo. But that was only accidental, as the incompetant Police Chief insisted that the suspects where white during the initial investigations, causing their shooting spree to be extended with more victims.

      It is an established Big Media policy for most types of crime reporting:

      http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=24144

    • Greg says:

      12:52pm | 17/01/13

      @Sam,

      Don’t worry about it. You’re a journalist. Everybody knows that you just make stuff up to suit your purposes.

      It’s no more surprising than a politician breaking a promise.

    • Chillin says:

      12:57pm | 17/01/13

      @Roger

      I never argued that they weren’t male.  The strawman arguments around here are out of control.

    • Greg says:

      01:58pm | 17/01/13

      @Roger, you are wrong.

      A 30 second google search found Jennifer San Marco and Aileen Wuornos, who were both female mass shooters from the US within the last 30 years.

      There are plenty of other women shooters, like Sylvia Seegrist, who have just missed out on an arbitrary “mass shooter” classification because only 3 out of 10 shooting victims died. Only fatalities count apparently. So what are you saying? That women cannot shoot as accurately as men?

      There are plenty of other female mass murderers who have drowned children like Andrea Yates, or have poisoned or overdosed their victims, like Dorothea Puente.

      Their victims are just as dead as if they had been shot. So what exactly is your point?

    • Sam Clench

      Sam Clench says:

      02:00pm | 17/01/13

      Now now Greg, save your cheek for when I make an error in one of my yarns.

    • Roger says:

      02:03pm | 17/01/13

      @chillin

      Nobody said you did.

      Do you think that’s just a coincidence ?

    • Chillin says:

      03:38pm | 17/01/13

      @Roger

      No.

    • Roger says:

      04:31pm | 17/01/13

      @chillin

      So why do you think almost all of the mass shootings in America have been committed by males ?

    • Greg says:

      06:53pm | 17/01/13

      @Roger,

      I don’t think that it needs much psychoanalysys to determine why there is a difference.

      Women are used to getting their grievances addressed by governments, whereas men are used to having to do things for themselves.

    • Seano says:

      08:37am | 17/01/13

      I agree these laws wont end the bloodshed in the short term but the US need to start somewhere. Hopefully they’ll get these laws through and Americans will see that gun control doesn’t mean the end of their freedom.

      Part of achieving change for the better in the US is that the power of the NRA needs to be challenged. After Sandy Hook in the face of grieving families they showed no contrition using the opportunity to demand more guns.

      The NRA’s position that guns are important to protect against the possibility of a rogue government whilst demanding that the government place arm guards in every school is the definition of crazy. Let’s not forget that there were armed guards at Columbine High School who we’re able to prevent the massacre and that when Ronald Regan was shot he was surrounded by at least a dozen armed security people. Armed guards do not guarantee safety.

      The NRA craziness doesn’t stop with armed guards in schools, they have also blamed video games and the mentally ill for the violence whilst releasing shooting games and ignoring the fact that every other western democracy in the world has both video games and issues with mental healthcare but nowhere near the gun violence.

      What’s concerning for Australia is that since Howard’s successful gun buyback and banning of assault weapons we’ve allowed handguns to build up in our community. Hopefully the government will be acting on this in the near future pro-actively rather than in response to a tragedy.

    • Ricey says:

      10:37am | 17/01/13

      Do you know about our current handgun laws?  They are draconian.  I was on my way to getting a hangun licence, but all of the over-regulation, requirement to compete 6 times a year etc. just sapped the fun right out of it.  Even though the pistol matches are a lot of fun, the nonsensical compliance requirements made it all a bit of a chore.  Clearly regulation developed by people who have no interest in or idea of firearms.  I pulled out of it and went back to recreational rifle shooting - not as fun (the speed vs accuracy of handgun shooting is challenging and enjoyable), but a lot less demanding on time and effort in compliance. 

      I do agree with a lot of the reforms from 1996, particularly around storage requirements, licencing, safety courses, background checks etc., but I am completely opposed to some of the useless rules around handguns and the near-banning of semi automatic rifles.  The magazine limits imposed are fine… most people have no need to have more than ten rounds loaded when hunting.

      I do get annoyed by comments like yours however, typically from people who don’t understand our current laws, and seem to advocate further tightening of those laws without knowing what they actually are.  Furthermore, the tightening of those laws achieves nothing - they are way over the top now, and it takes so long to get through the process that they are highly effective at making sure the people who qualify for a gun, are not in some hetaed rage and needing a gun to commit crime.  Those people would seek to obtain a firearm illegally anyway, so they can get them quickly and be less traceable. 

      So relax - our laws are tight - too tight in book, but they are as effective as they need to be.

    • Ricey says:

      11:42am | 17/01/13

      All that shows is that the sport is more popular now than before.  As I said before, the process is so strict now, that the people getting these handguns are very heavily vetted and committed, and financially committed - it isn’t cheap.

      The professor raising the issue says it may not even be a problem, and that it just needs investigating. 

      And this quote: 

      “We’ve got more shooters, we’ve got more firearms, but we’ve got fewer crimes.”  I won’t paste the associated comments, they’re in the article.

      So why do you disagree?  Your article doesn’t support your disagreement, nor do you understand Australia’s gun laws… furthermore you probably have little understanding of firearms in general.  I understand the media whips up fear on this topic, but Seano, our laws are way more than adequate - they are painfully too restrictive.  Because of that, you have very little to worry about. 

      If someone wants you dead, they don’t need to use a registered gun, but if they really want to, they’re going to grab an illegal gun, not a registered firearm that is highly traceable.

    • simonfromlakemba says:

      12:57pm | 17/01/13

      I hate guns and don’t think they are needed in any society. But I am not living in la la land and realise that will never happen.

      Guns in Australia aren’t a problem so what happens overseas has no bearing here. We don’t have the poverty or the same broken society America has.

    • Ricey says:

      02:02pm | 17/01/13

      @simonfromlakemba:  thanks for your reasonable response.  What makes you “hate” guns though?  Is it the guns themselves or you mean the misuse of guns?  Guns are a tool;  military guns are for killing people (Governments are allowed to use them for this apparently??), hunting rifles are for hunting etc.  It’s like saying, “I hate chainsaws”, where you probably mean you hate the misuse of chainsaws on people.  Chainsaws are for use on trees afterall.

    • Seano says:

      05:03pm | 17/01/13

      The issue is that with more and more guns being brought in and the shooters party slowly chipping away at gun safety laws when they strike weak politicians like Barry O’Farrell we run the risk of returning to where we where pre-Port Arthur which had a number of mass shooting leading up to it.

      No one needs a gun at home for recreational purposes.

    • NESLIHAN KUROSAWA says:

      08:41am | 17/01/13

      Hi Sam,

      All those changes to having personal weapons still have big battles to fight in those American states traditionally believe that having a personal gun is as essential to our lives as having shelter, clean water and food, meaning our lives depend on it.  This particular legislation may get the much needed support in places like in New York where most people do care for social issues simply because once upon a time New York was also a murder capital just like Chicago, USA right now. 

      It is also high time that most Americans and lawmakers acknowledge the negative aspects of gun related violence on the US streets. Especially more so for poverty stricken areas where unemployment is rampant and lack of educational and social opportunities is a way of life for some young people.  You can still have all the new legislation supporting reforms but who is really going to stand up to the people of deep South and the powerful gun lobby?  That would take a certain amount of strength and risk taking on the parts of people like Mr Barrack Obama and other politicians.  Kind regards.

    • Ollygt says:

      08:59am | 17/01/13

      Yeah our recent issues in Woodridge QLD would’ve been so much improved if the people involved had easy access to firearms. *heavy sarcasm*

      You either try to remove almost all guns or arm everyone and live in a state of paranoid fear.

    • Shane says:

      09:00am | 17/01/13

      Good on President Obama for trying. So long overdue it’s not funny, but they have to start somewhere. Good luck, Mr President, and good luck, America.

    • Jaqui says:

      09:01am | 17/01/13

      The first step to communist oppression, disarm the people so they may no longer defend themselves from the oppressor.
      Long term oppression means you don’t give the people the means to have a revolution.

    • Seano says:

      09:27am | 17/01/13

      As rifles have proven to very effective against civilians not so effective against predator drones and tanks.

    • Mr. Jordon says:

      09:30am | 17/01/13

      Taking away one type of gun is not disarming the people.

    • Bob says:

      10:21am | 17/01/13

      @ Jaqui

      The old ‘Reds under the Bed’ paranoia, eh?
      Exactly what revolution are you taliking about? Im a little worried you are lost in a time warp Jaqui and do you have any concept how little impact a bunch of Redneck Good ol Boys would do up against the American Military…..... obviously not.

    • Jaqui says:

      10:39am | 17/01/13

      @Bob: newsflash bob, the American Military is just a bunch of undisciplined redneck hillbillies.
      Oh and PS, the reds aren’t under the bed, one is your prime minister.

    • egg says:

      10:51am | 17/01/13

      Ah, and if there’s any communist countries ‘round these parts, it’s America, am I right? Huh?

    • Seano says:

      10:53am | 17/01/13

      Jaqui, Tanks fire back, predator drones just explode and most mental illness is treatable.

    • Jaqui says:

      11:26am | 17/01/13

      @Seano: So what is your excuse for not getting that sorted?

    • Seano says:

      12:12pm | 17/01/13

      @Jaqui: I’m not your doctor.

    • Jaqui says:

      12:30pm | 17/01/13

      @Seano: Well that is quite obvious, it takes a little intelligence to become one.

    • Seano says:

      02:42pm | 17/01/13

      Says the loon who sees commies everywhere…

    • Dean Frenkel says:

      09:05am | 17/01/13

      Why the absence of the word ‘terrorism’ in relation to the behaviour of gun advocates and the 2nd Amendment? Surely the right to arm yourself to protect against excesses of Gov’t sounds like like a terrorists’ amendment. America has many virtues but is also chock-full of loud, red-neck terrorists. Let’s call them for what they are.

    • AdamC says:

      09:07am | 17/01/13

      Mandatory background checks, bans on assault weapons and limitations on weapons’ ammo capacity are all reasonable, balanced reactions. However, I am not sure whether that would actually prevent these sorts of shooting sprees, but it may lower the body counts.

      In terms of cutting the homicide rate, though, the Yanks would get a better outcome from legalising and regulating drugs.

    • SERIOUS says:

      09:07am | 17/01/13

      Bob the Builder presents a reasonable overview of murder rates in relation to colour. However, the murder rate has nothing to do with the recent spate of mass killings using assault weapons. In Australia, if you look back at the way we got rid of the small but significant mechanisms of the tobacco industry in Australia to the point where today, the ‘smoking kills’ approach and a ban in advertising across the board has been in place for many years, you will confer that there has been a profound ‘culture shift’ in relation to smoking anywhere in Australia. In the US, there are whole TV channels devoted to gun shows, advertising and the like. In Walmart and sports stores, entire rows of shelves (under ‘hunting and camping’) are filled with guns, cross-bows et al! The background checks are often less invasive than trying to get a driver’s licence or passport. I am willing to bet that no US State has a working gun owner register that can be checked with confidence -just too many sellers. The issue of murder rates may be based on socio-economic background but the issue of how many people are too easily killed by guns in America, is an issue of gun control and education. Stop the advertising and glorification of weapons via video games, toys and retail outlets, and you will eventually see a small cultural shift. But sadly, America loves its guns and they make most of their lifestyle choices out of fear and insecurity.

    • Monty says:

      09:21am | 17/01/13

      I cannot see the gun laws in America being changed adversely if at all by the Obama’s decree’s or legislation…nor do I see American’s agreeing openly to have their constitution changed.  Particularly by the powerful gun lobby.  How much is America a democracy when the country is killing itself from within and American’s buy guns to protect themselves…the problem is inset within their constitution.  Bringing change to the constitution will take time and a complete backflip as how American’s perceive their own society.

    • Josh says:

      09:23am | 17/01/13

      Sam, if you want Obama to go further, say by making people hand in Semi Automatic rifles, you’ll do a few things, the first is overnight you’ll make normal Americans Felons, you’ll leave gangs with their already illegal firearms, and you risk starting a civil war.

      Semi Automatic Rifles, account for 3.5 percent of all firearms homicides, they should focus on the common sense things, storage, training, and vetting. Licensing and registration for handguns, and tougher penalties for the use of firearms during a crime.

      Otherwise this is just legislation for the sake of looking like doing something, or part of a wider plan to disarm the population. The arrogance displayed by those that would so easily see others give up their right to defend themselves (both against the state and other people) is mind numbing.

      How quickly we forget the lessons from the past.

    • Bizarre says:

      09:28am | 17/01/13

      Correct me if I’m wrong….but is there anything in this article that actually tells us WHAT has BEEN PROPOSED…there seems to be nothing except to say “Obama’s proposal is an excellent start, but nothing more.” Why bother to write the article if you can’t inform your readers of the facts…sheesh ..

    • Sam Clench

      Sam Clench says:

      09:45am | 17/01/13

      “The President’s proposal would forbid the purchase of military-style assault weapons by civilians, while also banning high-capacity ammunition magazines and mandating universal background checks for gun buyers.”

      That’s the summary. This is an opinion piece, not a news story. If you want minutiae, you’d be better off reading the yarns by my wonderful colleagues at news.com.au wink

    • gabrianga says:

      09:29am | 17/01/13

      The way Vice President Biden threatened the use of a President’s power to declare an “Executive Order” if the NRA and others didn’t toe the line sounded very much like an abuse of power.

      For all Presidents it apppears very much akin to the use of Regulations rather than an Act in Austalian Parliaments.

      Of course some personal beliefs and wishes that have little or no chance passing the House and Senate are thrown in

      eg.  http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Executive_Order_13600

    • cityboy @ Sydney says:

      09:47am | 17/01/13

      The Second Amendment should be abolished; that is the sensible “starting point”. It’s totally out of date.  There has never been a better time, politically, to get that debate going. Obama would be a bonafide hero for generations if he had the courage to do it.

    • marley says:

      09:59am | 17/01/13

      As I understand it, Obama can’t abolish the Second Amendment.  The only way to abolish a Constitutional Amendment is to pass another Constitutional Amendment, and that’s outside the powers of the President. Only Congress and the States have that power - and it needs a two thirds vote of both Houses followed by ratification by three-quarters of the States.  Obama can get the discussion started, but actually abolishing it?  It just isn’t going to happen.

    • daniel says:

      10:01am | 17/01/13

      How many people who’ve commented (including the author) are US citizens? This constant obsession with having to lecture (a deviation from an opinion) the US or any country for that matter on its internal issues is embarrassing.

    • Yeah right says:

      11:01am | 17/01/13

      The US doesn’t get itself involved in the affairs of other countries!!!

      We’ll just forget about the US army flying halfway around the world to invade Iraq to remove a dictator.

    • Nathan says:

      04:09pm | 17/01/13

      @Daniel - Do you believe we live in a Global Economy? Do you believe in Global Citizenship? To believe that what America does with the passing of these laws will not and can not affect you is very narrow minded.

      Here in Australia we have The United Nations putting pressure on our Government to bring us in line with the UN’s view that citizens should not be armed. The Greens are actively pushing this approach by trying to compare Handguns to AR-15s as they are both “semi-automatic”.

      The reality of it, is once Obama goes through with his plan to ban sales of semi automatic rifles, the Australian government will take it as a que from the WORLD that nobody will care when they remove it’s citizens firearms… again !.

      We may have no “right” to own a firearm, but what more right do we need other than we “want” to? this is the SAME right that lets you own a Car, A TV, a computer, have access to the internet… the right to CONSUME product you deem fit for YOUR lifestyle.

      And at what stage will you decide that your rights are being infringed on? that someone is taking something from you that you WANT but do not apparently NEED? think long and hard about this one.. because when the time comes, those of us who have lost OUR possessions and passions might just decide yours aren’t worth protecting.

    • John says:

      10:03am | 17/01/13

      Gun’s are designed to kill people. There is no argument to that. They should ALL be banned.

    • West of the Wimmera says:

      10:53am | 17/01/13

      John, That is a narrow minded and simplistic approach to guns, maybe you should try assault weapons and military guns are designed to kill people.
      Are you suggesting that Sporting guns such as trap shotguns, air pistols or single shot rimfire rifles are designed to kill people? Or should we just ban them all, and be done with the rednecks? Should we just shut down all of the law abiding, responsible sport shooting clubs, just because you don’t agree?
      Maybe if you went to one of these clubs and had a look, (I would be more than happy to host) you would see how absurd you comments are.
      I personally think that Obama’s proposal is a step in the right direction towards America’s gun reforms, and do not believe there should be Semi-Automatic Assault rifles in society.

    • West of the Wimmera says:

      10:53am | 17/01/13

      John, That is a narrow minded and simplistic approach to guns, maybe you should try assault weapons and military guns are designed to kill people.
      Are you suggesting that Sporting guns such as trap shotguns, air pistols or single shot rimfire rifles are designed to kill people? Or should we just ban them all, and be done with the rednecks? Should we just shut down all of the law abiding, responsible sport shooting clubs, just because you don’t agree?
      Maybe if you went to one of these clubs and had a look, (I would be more than happy to host) you would see how absurd you comments are.
      I personally think that Obama’s proposal is a step in the right direction towards America’s gun reforms, and do not believe there should be Semi-Automatic Assault rifles in society.

    • Ricey says:

      11:11am | 17/01/13

      So are knives John, but I hate cutting onions with a spoon.  I also hate chasing foxes, feral cats, and wild pigs with a spoon, so I would like my gun.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      10:07am | 17/01/13

      Australia’s ban on firearms has worked to a certain extent. We are told that people in Australia can buy guns & have them sent through the mail & they get through undetected. The reason? People can order, there are unscrupulous people who will facilitate this particularly in, you guessed it, the US of A, virtually any gun they want simply by arranging for the parts required tobe mailed individually!
      Australia Post & Customs should withold all & any gun parts which arrive here. There are legal gun shops in Australia & for legal guns there are plenty of spare parts available (I.e for shot-guns, rifles & sporting pistols).
      If Australia Post & Customs cannot identify gun parts to suit AK47s & other totally unnecessary weapons then they should be taught & a web site be created on which it becomes law that all guns, spare parts (all with serial numbers) be registered.
      Anyone caught trying to import any part of any guns which are illegal in Australia should be charged & hit with a minimum, mandatory fine of at least $20,000.

    • LC says:

      12:46pm | 17/01/13

      The issue with Customs and the others is not that they cannot identify gun parts coming in through the mail, but they do not have the manpower and resources to check more than 10% of the shipping containers that enter the country, and they do not have the authority to search a private vessel without a warrant or court order. This means a lot end up slipping through under the radar. Even if every container and boat they inspected had weapons or parts of them in/on them, they’d be still potentially lots more coming in that go undetected, therefore meaning the criminals will still be better armed then the people they terrorize.

      Though I agree with you that the penalties for misusing a firearm should be severe. Not just a $20,000 fine, but also a decade in prison.

    • Fed Up says:

      10:07am | 17/01/13

      “A Washington Post/ABC poll released several days ago does show majority support for banning assault weapons (58 per cent in favour)”

      Where was the poll done ....Vermont?
      Please!
      Assault weapons are popular by those who have them because of the mistrust of the Fed Gov and the fear of what may happen when the system collapses.
      The country was built on a mantra of self reliance and self responsibility.
      Alot of political rhetoric by Obama….the result….more people will end up buying guns.

    • bananabender56 says:

      10:23am | 17/01/13

      Having lived and worked in the US I can say that a lot of people who own assault rifles use them for hunting rabbits, possums and other varmints. An AR15 with a scope is just as good as a shot gun when dealing with rabbits except you don’t have to reload every other shot.

    • Ricey says:

      10:54am | 17/01/13

      “Assault weapons” (the media love calling them that - sounds more scary doesn’t it?) or more correctly, semi automatic rifles, have a lot more use than being hoarded by paranoid survivalists.  They are a perfect tool for hunting varmints/small game in large numbers, because you can fire successive shots quickly.  They are also a lot of fun for target shooting because you are not constantly chambering the next round.  If we had the legal right to own them again in Australia, I would probably look at one.

    • gabrianga says:

      10:13am | 17/01/13

      Perhaps a budget should take precedence with the President before he starts to amend the Constitution?

    • Tommy Gunn says:

      10:38am | 17/01/13

      A small start by O’bama,but practically useless if the 300 million existing weapons are to be left in private hands !  Love him or hate him,but the removal of so many killing machines by Howard was a brave and good thing to do…  I fear for the future of the USA—will they self implode ?

    • Tommy Gunn says:

      10:38am | 17/01/13

      A small start by O’bama,but practically useless if the 300 million existing weapons are to be left in private hands !  Love him or hate him,but the removal of so many killing machines by Howard was a brave and good thing to do…  I fear for the future of the USA—will they self implode ?

    • Colin says:

      10:45am | 17/01/13

      Any man (and men are in the majority of gun-toting psychopaths committing mass-murder) who ‘needs’ a handgun, a sub-machine gun, an assault rifle, a self-loading carbine, or any other weapon purely designed to kill other human beings rapidly and effectively, obviously has either a very large misanthropic mental defect or a very small penis. But, generally, both.

    • Leigh says:

      10:52am | 17/01/13

      Background checks are useless. Mad people can appear to be completely sane when it suits them, and most have no official record of mental problems. So, forget that one.

      Forget Obama, too. He is going to try to fix the mistakes in general governance
      HE made in his first term by committing the exact same mistakes in his second term. He is an idiot who couldn’t run the country properly in a few years; he has no show in doing anything about the gun problem, which has been around since the 18th. Century.

      We will be hearing lots of reports of gun atrocities in America for decades to come. It’s just the way America and it’s ‘tough guy’ leaders are.

    • Mark D says:

      10:57am | 17/01/13

      Unfortunately, the “Right to Bear Arms” was created two hundred years ago (or so). There was no Navy, Army, Marines or Air Force. The right to protect yourself was written into the Constitution. SOLUTION- sent all civilians with weapons to fight in all the conflicts and wars. Keep the Navy, Army, Marines or Air Force at home in the US.

    • Mark D says:

      10:57am | 17/01/13

      Unfortunately, the “Right to Bear Arms” was created two hundred years ago (or so). There was no Navy, Army, Marines or Air Force. The right to protect yourself was written into the Constitution. SOLUTION- sent all civilians with weapons to fight in all the conflicts and wars. Keep the Navy, Army, Marines or Air Force at home in the US.

    • Watson says:

      10:57am | 17/01/13

      @Subotic

      Your assumptions about what australians have gone through in the past angers me. Ask the aboriginals about slavey in the early years of white australia.What about the freedoom of early settlers who had to fight tooth and nail against this unforgiving land. These early settlers and convicts worked harder harder than any of us ever had to . They created the foundations for australia through blood sweat and tears. And by the way subiotic they didnt need a assualt weapon to do this.

      Assualt weapons are entirely out of place in any civil society. Assualt weapons where never used nor existed in America’s 1700’s ,they have no place in the early history of gunslinger america. Weapons ,as with most things us human make, are getting deadlier and more efficient . The line has to be drawn somewhere .

    • subotic says:

      12:40pm | 17/01/13

      @Watson, your stupidity angers me more than my assumptions anger you.

      Feel better?

    • Subotic feels better now. says:

      02:35pm | 17/01/13

      HOMER
      Oh, how am I supposed to last five days without shooting something?

      He watches as a “Target Superstores” van, a line of ducks, a line of rabbits, Patty & Selma on a bicycle and Ned Flanders on his ride-on mower pass him. Flanders passes twice.

      Soon, the five days has passed. Homer waits impatiently outside the gun store.

      HOMER
      Come on, come on, open up!

      The gun salesman opens the shop, and Homer rushes inside to go to the toilet.

      HOMER
      Ah! That’s the stuff! (He comes back out into the store.) Now, I believe you have some sort of firearm for me.

      CLERK
      (picking up a large wad of paper) Well, let’s see here. According to your background check, you’ve been in a mental institution…

      HOMER
      Yeah.

      CLERK
      Frequent problems with alcohol…

      HOMER
      Oh heh heh, yeah.

      CLERK
      You beat up President Bush!

      HOMER
      Former President.

      The clerk stamps the paper.

      HOMER
      “Potentially dangerous”?

      CLERK
      Relax, that just limits you to three handguns or less.

      HOMER
      Woo hoo!

    • Doh says:

      10:58am | 17/01/13

      People are either naive or stark raving mad if they think a “ban” will reduce crime.  Think of the bans in Mexico, or even the UK.  Both have crime rates much higher than the US.

      The only way to reduce crime is to raise the morals and morality of the people.

    • Mark says:

      11:15am | 17/01/13

      To be fair to Obama, this is a good first step. Genuine social reform can only be achieved incrementally - many worthy social reforms fall by the wayside because the people pushing for them over-reach and seek outcomes the population is not yet ready for. When they make it a choice between all or nothing, what they get more often than not is nothing. The key will be if Obama or future presidents are able to follow this up with further incremental reform when the US population is ready for it.

    • Geko says:

      11:20am | 17/01/13

      I believe in no regulation of guns whatsoever.
      Let anyone buy them.
      Then punish crimes.
      I have no doubt that crime will decrease, there will be fewer murders, and the good guys can have carte blanche to protect themselves.
      Especially from leftist governments!

    • james says:

      11:37am | 17/01/13

      how does that help the dead children?

    • marley says:

      12:04pm | 17/01/13

      @Geko - and your evidence that having more guns will decrease crime is?

    • Ross says:

      12:18pm | 17/01/13

      To James who says .How does that help the dead children?
      What will help a dead child . Only a photo to remember them by.

    • fml says:

      12:27pm | 17/01/13

      @marley,

      Because if everyone had guns, then when someone shoots another person they would be shot down quicker. like how the wild west worked and there were real gentlemen and there was very little crime..

    • marley says:

      01:37pm | 17/01/13

      @fml - aha. It all makes sense now.  Let’s all hark back to that time of peace and virtue in the American West (unless you had the misfortune to be a native), when men were men and guns solved all arguments.  Just what we need in modern urban America (or anywhere else).  Bags of doorknobs at 20 paces just don’t have the same impact as an Uzi for settling disputes.

    • fml says:

      02:15pm | 17/01/13

      Marley,

      Very true regarding the bag of door knobs, but can i say? I guess i am a purist.

    • Geko says:

      11:25am | 17/01/13

      Mark says wrote “To be fair to Obama, this is a good first step. Genuine social reform can only be achieved incrementally”

      Sounds like the SNEAKY Fabian socialist mantra (a la Gillard) to me!
      Also sounds like what Gillard is pushing down our throats lately.

      It is one more step in Antonio Gramsci’s call in the 1930s for a revolutionary ‘march through the institutions.’

      Gramsci, an Italian Marxist, realised that Western capitalism would not be destroyed by economic class struggle, for it is good at meeting people’s material needs.

      What was needed, therefore, was a long-term campaign against the core institutions through which bourgeois culture is transmitted to each generation.

      Break the hold of the churches, take over the media, subvert the schools and universities, and chip away at the heart of the citadel, the bourgeois family, and eventually, the whole system will fall.

    • Thunderoad says:

      12:59pm | 17/01/13

      Or it could be a sensible government taking action that’s in the best interests of the public at large that elected them to make decisions on their behalf

      The level of abject paranoia that you exhibit in this forum on a daily basis is the very same rot of stuff that has contributed to the situation that the US finds itself in today.

    • Geko says:

      11:27am | 17/01/13

      This article calling for more govt control reminds me of Ronald Reagan’s words .....

      “I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.”
      Ronald Reagan

    • james says:

      01:52pm | 17/01/13

      A dud comment by a dud president.

      No suprise there from the B grade actor he was.

    • DMR says:

      11:32am | 17/01/13

      America is just sad.  They spend trillions trying to protect themselves from “terrorists”, yet the biggest threat to any American is another American with a gun.  America is imploding as we speak and its days as a superpower are over.  America is bankrupt and their goverment has become disfunctional and controlled by the ultra rich..  I would want to keep my guns too when the country decends into anarchy in the not too distant future.  The fact that 20 kids had to die is sad, the fact that many more will die in the future is just stupid.  The rest of the world will just shake their heads and watch what was a great country decend into a has been.  But at least they will have their guns.

    • Nathan says:

      11:34am | 17/01/13

      Government and anti-gun people spreading utter tripe.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_attacks_in_China_(2010–2012)

      Take a read people, This is what happens when you ban guns - people turn to other means of causing harm. Now, you can ban knives but good luck convincing all those wholesome families to give up their Sunday rost because they cannot carve it.

      To paraphrase Tim Minchin “a night on Wikipedia might freaking enlighten you” (YouTube his 9 minute beat Poem)

      The childers backpacker hostel: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childers_Palace_Backpackers_Hostel_fire

      Arson resulting in 15 deaths - described as a “massacre” at the time.

      Grow a brain, look at the facts, drop the emotion of who dies where and when and how and approach the issue with logic and reason and draw a proper conclusion instead of believing what everyone else tells you.

      In Australia suicide rates were on the downfall from the early 80s, and at a steady rate, statistically speaking they would have continued to decline even without the firearms act of 1996. Plenty of community mental health groups have attributed to this, the statistics are out there, go check for yourself don’t believe me.

      If all gun owners wanted to kill someone, then they wouldn’t be hesitating to do so, death just doesn’t follow a gun around. Law abiding reasonable citizens should not be accosted and degraded just because you believe differently to them.

    • John says:

      06:41pm | 17/01/13

      Thanks, Nathan.

      I took a read, and noticed that in almost all of those attacks in China, nobody was killed.

      It’s lucky that none of the attackers had guns, otherwise they would have killed lots of people, as they do in America.

      Thanks for reminding us about that.

    • fml says:

      11:35am | 17/01/13

      Man, why does a brother have to start a well regulated militia to get a gun around these parts?

    • Roger of Sydney says:

      11:36am | 17/01/13

      Australians have become a gullable lazy bunch who believe that the government will defend them, feed them and look after them. I love the people who hate guns who call out for help when they cant defend themselves. The American people should stay armed to defend themselves from their own Government who will protect their own mates at any cost. Governements dont attacked their own people though, thats rediculous, perhaps you should tell the people of Syria that.

    • Achmed says:

      11:38am | 17/01/13

      I dont know why anyone in Aust is bothering to waste time and space debating what America should or shouldn’t do.  The views and opinions of people in Australia will not matter one iota to the Americans.  We will not in anyway influence the outcome of any legislation.  And nor should we.

    • Mojo says:

      11:38am | 17/01/13

      Obamas a communist. This is all communistic. We chose our guns long ago and we are sticking. Besides it wasn’t the guns in any of these shootings, it was the people. A gun is a tool like a typewriter or an alligator.

    • St. Michael says:

      12:21pm | 17/01/13

      Never heard of a typewriter that could kill 30 people in under an hour.  Even an alligator would have problems reaching that kill spree in that period, and you can’t carry an alligator concealed.

    • Hasil says:

      12:21pm | 17/01/13

      This is exactly why no reform will get through. Federal legislation can do nothing about guns, it is a State legislation issue. Too many Red states will oppose any legislation. It only takes 2% of the US population to be opposed to changes. Far more than 2% believe that Obama is a communist looking to fundamentally change the US. They will see any gun reform as the Government stripping them of weapons - they believe those weapons are necessary to fight their own government in the future. Australians honestly do not understand the culture and psyche of the average American - this fellow sees an alligator as ‘tool’. The original article above is naive and lacks understanding of the United States and its turn inward and the rise of neo-conservatism since WWII. They are now a power in decline and as the Asian century progresses they will continue to tear themselves to pieces and revert to the backwoods from whence they came.

    • Gus says:

      11:41am | 17/01/13

      how can you put the words gun and culture in one sentence.guns are made to kill.is that a cultural activity?

    • Aussie, now a US resident says:

      11:43am | 17/01/13

      Growing up in Australia, in the big smoke, I always thought that guns = living in fear of death.

      Having lived in Ohio and Texas, I can’t help but feel that concealed carry guns = a safer environment to live. If you break into my house, I can shoot. If I am in the street you will be polite, if only because you do not know if I am carrying a gun.

      I have experienced almost zero abusive behaviour (e.g. road rage, abuse, attitude, public drunkeness) in the US, yet had this frequently every day in Melbourne.

      The death rate amongst black Americans is very high, but this is not because of the guns per say, but because of the failed war on drugs (gangs etc). The death rate for the white / latino population is about the same as most other countries. BUT, the level of personal and property crime is much much lower than in Melbourne or Sydney.

      Most Australians will not understand this unless they live in the US (a 2 week visit does not count).

      Sadly the bigger problem is the breakdown in mental health services, where your GP is prescribing big pharma products instead of referring to psychiatric services. This is where change needs to occur.

      The US is a very different culture, and sadly Australians are very quick to judge something they do not understand.

    • Tator says:

      12:05pm | 17/01/13

      Wouldn’t the Health Insurance Industry there have a fair bit to do with that as well as they probably push for GP’s to use psychopharmaceuticals which are cheaper in the short term rather than more expensive psychological/psychiatric therapies.

    • Aussie, now a US resident says:

      12:20pm | 17/01/13

      @ Tator

      You are correct. Also the State governments who were also able to to reduce mental health infrastructure costs.

      Unfortunately it will be very hard to back track this.  But the government will eventually have to do something about it.  The right to defend oneself is extremely strong (I I really do ‘get’ the benefits of it) so there will never really be a decrease in the availability of firearms.

      What is happening is a massive buy up of firearms, ammo and clips (at vastly inflated prices) before extra databases are implemented. Their is a very strong distrust of the government across the US, and people simply don’t want to be on a list saying they have this or that type of weapon.

      Also it is very interesting to see the difference between large city residents and the rest of the country.  Something I don’t think most Australians understand is the far higher percentage of Americans who don’t live in a large city, as compared with Australia.

    • bananabender56 says:

      02:04pm | 17/01/13

      @Aussie, to confirm a friend of mine said the price of an AR15 in Florida has jumped from around $1,000 to $2,300 since the talk of increased firearm controls.

    • Geko says:

      11:45am | 17/01/13

      james wrote “how does that help the dead children?”

      Check out the HEAVILY ARMED SWISS POPULATION.

      Just about every one there has guns, yet the murder rate is very low.
      FYI: It’s a CULTURAL THING NOT A GUN THING!

    • james says:

      01:47pm | 17/01/13

      So there culture is broken, big suprise.

      Until they fix it, the children will continue to die with ease, until the means of easy execution is removed.

    • Jack says:

      06:27pm | 17/01/13

      Yes indeed; let’s check out the “HEAVILY ARMED SWISS POPULATION”, where apparently “just about every one (sic) has guns”.

      In fact, let’s debunk that pathetic old chestnut once and for all.

      Swiss males undergo basic military training, usually at age 20, after which Swiss men remain part of the “militia” in reserve capacity until age 30 (age 34 for officers).

      Each individual is required to keep his army-issued personal weapon (the 5.56x45mm Sig 550 rifle for enlisted personnel and/or the 9mm SIG-Sauer P220 semi-automatic pistol for officers, military police, medical and postal personnel) at home.

      Up until October 2007, a specified personal retention quantity of government-issued personal ammunition (50 rounds 5.56 mm / 48 rounds 9mm) was issued as well, which was sealed and inspected regularly to ensure that no unauthorized use had taken place. The ammunition was intended for use while traveling to the army barracks in case of invasion.

      In October 2007, the Swiss Federal Council decided that the distribution of ammunition to soldiers should stop and that all previously issued ammo should be returned.

      By March 2011, more than 99% of the ammo has been received.

      Only special rapid deployment units and the military police still have ammunition stored at home today.

      Switzerland’s guns and ammunition are very strictly regulated by the Government, right down to counting the bullets.

      Finally, in 71% of Swiss households, there are no guns whatsoever.

      So much for “just about every one (sic) has guns”.

    • Geko says:

      11:47am | 17/01/13

      fml wrote “Man, why does a brother have to start a well regulated militia to get a gun around these parts?”

      Do the words “LEFTIST GOVT PUSHING SOCIALIST IDEOLOGY DOWN OUR THROATS” resonate with you?

    • fml says:

      11:56am | 17/01/13

      Sounds like Barry White whispering sweet nothings into my left ear on a sunny day smile

      You do realise it was the howard government which removed high powered weapons from Australian society? I didn’t know he was a communist. I have to use that one!

    • Baloo says:

      11:57am | 17/01/13

      Did someone throw out a Luger pistol in that photo?

    • Colin says:

      12:06pm | 17/01/13

      No, I think the one that you see is probably a .22 Woodsman or something similar…It certainly is not a parabellum; there’s no toggle action for a start…

    • Baloo says:

      12:17pm | 17/01/13

      Yeah, I’m no gun expert but I thought it looked like one.
      Thanks Colin smile

    • Tator says:

      03:57pm | 17/01/13

      Looks like a competition air pistol to me, from the large ribbed section at the rear of the receiver, the length of the barrel, and the hand grip.  It also looks like it is of a break barrel design.

    • Colin says:

      04:13pm | 17/01/13

      @ Tator

      Yep, you could well be right there - but it’s definitely not a ‘Luger’ (P08) as suggested…

    • Bear says:

      12:19pm | 17/01/13

      If we had more guns more stupid people would get shot. You should be staunch anti gun.

    • Jaqui says:

      12:28pm | 17/01/13

      @Bear: Wow, hey guess what I am not anti-gun, I wouldn’t have to guess your reasons though since you already spelled them out.

    • Bear says:

      12:44pm | 17/01/13

      Sometimes it’s best to say nothing than open up and prove that typical righties often aren’t the full quid.

    • Jaqui says:

      01:21pm | 17/01/13

      @Bear: And yet here you are throwing around personal insults which has obviously become perfectly acceptable on the punch as long as some low life leftie piece of shit is throwing them around.

    • Bear says:

      01:41pm | 17/01/13

      Vroom, that’s the sound of my first point going over your head. You and all your lower north shore elite bogan dregs can jam it you know where. I’m just putting you in your box.

    • Jaqui says:

      02:13pm | 17/01/13

      @Bear: Oh you had a point did you? Other than your misogynist personal attacks?
      You aren’t even coming close to putting me in my box, what you are is showing us what a complete lowlife you are who lacks the intelligence and the manners to engage in a conversation without it devolving to personal attacks. Unsurprising of course considering you are a leftie.

    • Philosopher says:

      02:28pm | 17/01/13

      *sigh* I love it when love blooms on the Punch. Get a room, you two smile

    • Baloo says:

      02:53pm | 17/01/13

      “Other than your misogynist personal attacks?”

      lolwut?

    • expat says:

      12:23pm | 17/01/13

      It has very little to do with guns and everything to do with reducing freedom, if this bill was to pass (highly unlikely) then precedence has been set to apply bans/restrictions on everything else that the government deems fit.

      The US has a very different perspective when it comes to the freedom and right’s of it’s people compared to the likes of Australia, where government input is promoted.

    • LC says:

      12:26pm | 17/01/13

      I agree with this insofar as the ban on assault weapons. While I have no qualms with large caliber weapons, automatic weapons, or even weapons which can be converted to fully automatic without great effort (such as AR-15s and TEC9s) to be banned for civilian use, I cannot say how many Americans feel the same way. But I can tell you that the major concern for most Americans is what will be banned next. What if the next ban was on handguns for home defense, like what happened here? It should be subject to the regulations of any other firearm, yes, but there’s no reason at all that people should not have the right and the means to be able to defend themselves and their family and enforce their right to feel safe in their own homes, and many Americans feel this way.
      And I cannot see a ban on semi-automatic rifles going down as well as it did here. Many, many more Americans own them than Australians did in 1996. This is only a few of the issues I can see, but the consequences will be the same: At best, a lot of pissed of Americans who won’t hand in their weapons, turning a sizable number of people who have otherwise never have or will commit a crime into felons, and at worst, the outbreak of civil war, putting another major drain on the American economy.

      Gun control in the US at this point in time, well, “Gate”, “Horse” and “Bolted” come to mind. There are enough guns to arm every man and woman in the country, and then some. If America wanted to go down this route, it would have had to do so before the turn of the 20th century. There are too many guns in circulation there for it to make any meaningful impact.
      The more practical solution for America would be a cultural change in how guns and gun ownership is handled. If they exchanged their “Stick it to the man” attitude and justification for gun ownership for the more Swiss-ish attitude of the precision shooting of an apple of a head, things would change for the better. Hell, because gun laws differ widely on a state-by-state basis, uniform gun laws concerning registration, level of training needed before a license is given, storage, reasons that would cause ineligibility to obtain a gun, clip size, yes/no automatic weapons, yes/no large caliber weapons and penalties for misuse, so everything is the same across all the states would make a big difference. Say, if all the states decided no fully automatic weapons, then that would mean the crims cannot merely source them from another state and bring them into one where the ban exists, as the situation is now.

    • Geko says:

      12:26pm | 17/01/13

      marley wrote “@Geko - and your evidence that having more guns will decrease crime is?”

      Check out the EYEWITNESS post by our man in the US
      “Aussie, now a US resident” above.

      Here is an extract “Having lived in Ohio and Texas, I can’t help but feel that concealed carry guns = a safer environment to live.”

    • marley says:

      12:43pm | 17/01/13

      Well, having lived in Canada and Australia, I can’t help but feel that both are safer places to live than the US is.  Of course, I can produce actual statistics, not just anecdotes, to support me.

    • Aussie, now a US resident says:

      01:15pm | 17/01/13

      @marley

      But you haven’t lived in the US have you?

      When quoting statistics, make sure you drill down into the data to remove related party crime (gangs, drugs, criminal infighting).

      Then compare the non gun related crime rates (home invasions, street assault, abuse, glassing, theft) between various countries.

    • Colin says:

      01:43pm | 17/01/13

      @ Aussie, now a US resident

      “When quoting statistics, make sure you drill down into the data to remove related party crime…”

      Yeah, nice obfuscation there, ‘Aussie, now a US resident’, but we are not talking about CRIME, we are talking about MURDER.

      NOTHING covers up the fact that there were 9,136 HOMICIDES (that doesn’t include accidental shootings - this is purely for murder by firearm) by firearms in the USA last year and just 30 in Australia for the same period…

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2012/jul/22/gun-homicides-ownership-world-list

    • marley says:

      01:44pm | 17/01/13

      @Aussie - a year or so ago I spent some time comparing violent crime statistics in Canada and the US.  Direct comparisons can be misleading, because the Canadians include more things in their statistics than the Americans do - so, on the face of it, assault levels seem to be lower in the US - because they don’t include common assault whereas Canadian statistics do.  Rape is another one - but American stats refer only to violent, penetrative rape while Canadian stats include all forms of sexual assault.  When you drill down and look at the hard numbers, America has more violent crime by some considerable degree than Canada does.  I suspect, if I bothered to do the same comparison with Australia, I would find the same.

    • Colin says:

      02:16pm | 17/01/13

      Sorry, that should read,

      “Not JUST talking about crime…”

    • simonfromlakemba says:

      02:20pm | 17/01/13

      @Aussie-Us

      Deaths are deaths no matter who gets killed or for why.

    • Nathan says:

      04:37pm | 17/01/13

      @Marley - Thankyou for proving at least part of the pro-gun point. AR-15s are still perfectly LEGAL in Canada, you simply require a license to acquire it, and are restricted to magazines pinned at 5 rounds, with Magazines readily available and ability to swap them out very quickly this is a moot point.

      In October last year, Canada went so far as to SCRAP their long arms registry as it was PROVEN ineffective and wasteful of government funds, it was so farcical that someone once registered a STAPLE gun on it.

      Handgun restrictions are not nearly as tough as those in Australia, owners can request permission to take it into the wilderness to protect themselves from animals, and they do not have the “high calibre” restriction owners here in Australia have, they cannot own .25 and .32 ACP rounds - primarily these are for “derringer” single/two shot pistols which are very small and designed to conceal.

      My point being that you felt Perfectly SAFE in an environment where AR-15s are legal to own with the right permits and restrictions, but are happy to argue that in America they should be fully banned.

      In Sweden, everyone is taken for mandatory military training at age 20, and issued with an “assault rifle” to be stored at home, this country is statistically one of the SAFEST to live in in relation to firearm crime.

      Please explain, how one country with proven statistics, and one which by your own admission is “safer” have access to these apparently scary firearms, but are both better off than the United States?

    • marley says:

      06:18pm | 17/01/13

      @Nathan - I felt perfectly safe where it’s very hard to get a handgun permit and damn near impossible to get a hand gun carry permit. In the US, everyone and his demented uncle has access to guns of all sorts; in Canada, there’s easy access to long guns, but handguns, not so much.  And guess what - with all the problems of gangs in the major cities, and guns being easily smuggled in from the US, the firearm murder rate is still one helluva lot lower in Canada than the US.  So yes, I felt safer in Canada.

    • Jarred says:

      12:30pm | 17/01/13

      There is a problem with the term “military style assault weapons”. the weapons like the AR5 look like military weapons but they are not, no military would chose those weapons to kit out their soldiers with. True military weapons i.e. fully automatic weapons are already banned in the U.S. the weapons that are to be banned simply look like military weapons, it is like having a Ferrari body with a V.W engine. There are hunting rifles shotguns and handguns that can fire just as many rounds just as fast as “military style assault weapons” but no one is suggesting banning these. The measures taken Obama may make some people feel like something is being done but the problem is much deeper than a certain type of weapon being available. The issue is complicated and goes to the heart of American culture and includes poverty and mental health . 
      Unlike here there will never be consensus in the U.S to ban all weapons, if politicians tried the country would see a second civil war states would succeed and it would be a mess. The reality is that will always be in easy to get in America for anyone who wants one, the question no one asks is if you take gun regulation off the table how do you lower gun violence in the U.S. It is a hard question to answer but I think it will mean making their society more equitable and just and it will mean making mental health a priority.

    • Mel says:

      12:48pm | 17/01/13

      Obama is well meaning but isn`t going to get anywhere with this until he sets the legislative framework up to do it . What he needs to do first is :

      1) The second amendment needs to be removed from the constitution
      2) The first amendment needs to be ratified to exclude divisive or anti-government groups or organisations or groups that indulge in rhetoric that can be construed as such
      3) ratify the fourth amendment to allow search and seizure without warrants or due cause with groups or suspected members of groups excluded from the first amendment
      3) the NRA and the Tea Party are declared terrorist organisations thus allow the full use of the military to deal with these extremists and to avoid putting local law enforcement in a compromising position as far too many of them belong to one or both of these groups .

      With these changes in place He would be free to act against radical extremists like the NRA and the Tea Party in the united states without being in breach of constitutional law

    • marley says:

      01:03pm | 17/01/13

      With these changes in place, Obama would be that radical extremist you complain of.

      Do you have the slightest idea how the American Constitution works?  Do you seriously think that two thirds of Congress and three quarters of the States are going to vote for even one of these amendments, never mind all of them?  Do you actually think that fundamental human rights apply only to those whose ideas you agree with and not to those with whom you disagree?  Because that’s what it sounds like: silence those who are critical of the government, those who have conservative views, those who support the constitution as it now stands.  Then implement searches and seizures without the nicety of having to obtain a warrant, and deny persons guaranteed constitutional protections because you’re suspicious of their motives.  I expect you think that’s progressive;  I think it’s neofascist.

    • LC says:

      01:06pm | 17/01/13

      Are you nuts?

      What you’re suggesting would turn the US into a real fascist state overnight, and would spark a civil war. Even if 1/4 of armed citizens rose up, it would cause big headaches, especially seeing as a sizable chunk of the US military will desert it, they don’t want to fire upon people who are trying to defend the rights and freedoms by granted the constitution. They may even turn their own weapons on the US government, if there’s enough of them. The same thing happened in Libya during their civil uprising.

      We would not accept such public policy over here, so why should the Americans?

    • Bear says:

      01:13pm | 17/01/13

      No need to declare them terrorists, just legally declare them c#%^s! That they are.

    • Mel says:

      01:42pm | 17/01/13

      America is under attack from within by the racists and bigots of NRA and the Tea Party who are complicit in the continuing slaughter of helpless children and teachers and minorities , until these organisations are dealt with America won`t be safe for normal people . If these groups are the “concerned law abiding citizens” they claim to be then they will obey the law and disband and disarm . If they don`t then they are shown to be the dangerous extremists they actually are and should be dealt with using the military in it`s proper role to protect the real citizens from enemies of the state instead of oppressing other nations

    • James1 says:

      02:11pm | 17/01/13

      Why don’t they just make all who want to bear arms join a well regulated militia?  Wouldn’t that be consistent with the wording of the constitution?

    • LC says:

      02:24pm | 17/01/13

      And you think the solution is to make America’s leaders the extremists, with laws similar to the fascist and communist regimes they’ve opposed throughout history?

      How about you read some of your replies before shooting your mouth off? America’s military are forbidden to get involved in civil matters both under international law and the constitution. Even if they could, most of the American military believe that they are fighting in defense of the freedoms granted by their society. They’re not going to turn their guns on average citizens to support of taking their rights away. In fact, they might just turn their guns on the government who took away the rights to begin with, alongside the aforementioned citizens. Sizable chunks of the Libyan army didn’t want to turn it’s guns on it’s own citizens, as your short memory has forgotten. Basically, the only result of your fascist wet dream will be full-blown civil war.

      This assumes, like Marley said, that your changes are passed in the first place. Do you really think that even one of those amendments would secure the double majority needed to pass, let alone all of them? I doubt it.

      What I’d usually say now is “You Mel are a typical whinging idiot who knows nothing of what you’re talking about or the consequences it’ll lead to” but you go above and beyond that. You, Mel, are a dangerous out-of-closet fascist, and your idea are anathema to any society that wants to call itself free. I hope that you aren’t living in this country, we have more-than-enough nanny state closet-fascist morons here to deal with as is.

      PS: I wonder how you feel about people breaking other areas in the law. Perhaps your solution for people exceeding the speed limit by 2-3km/h is to ban cars for everyone, and those caught driving them have their legs cut off above the knee, no court, no lawyer, no judge/magistrate? Think of all the children’s, teachers and minorities whose lives would be saved!

    • marley says:

      02:25pm | 17/01/13

      @mel - your definition of “normal” is not mine.  I don’t have a problem with people having different ideas to mine, even if I disagree profoundly with them.  So long as they don’t directly incite violence, I see no reason to shut down the Tea Party, the Communist Party, the Nazis or authoritarians like yourself who think that having the good intentions should allow you to flout constitutional protections, abrograte fundamental human rights and impose your will on the people, regardless of whether you have a mandate to do so or not.  To be honest, while you may not be inciting violence, I think you and people who think like you are more dangerous than the Tea Party and the NRA combined.  So far as I’m aware, neither of the latter has flouted any American laws;  you’re proposing to do so.

    • Geko says:

      01:02pm | 17/01/13

      Mel wrote “Obama is well meaning but isn`t going to get anywhere with this until he sets the legislative framework up to do it”

      Spoken like a true Fabian socialist.
      Better still why not just shoot all those who disagree with the party line.
      Stalin would be so proud!

    • LC says:

      01:19pm | 17/01/13

      I think it’s safer to call that joker a “neo-facist”. But I agree.

      Every nasty villain in history and today, from Kim Jong-Un to Mao to Stalin to Hitler (yes, I went there) would be shedding a tear of pride at this guy. Hell, the former might have a job offering available for him!

    • Mark says:

      02:02pm | 17/01/13

      “Better still why not just shoot all those who disagree with the party line.”

      That’s an interesting thing to say given that you’re (just about) the only one here advocating for more guns, rather than fewer.

      On the rest of the tripe you’ve littered this page with, I could explain to you that the US has a higher number and proportion of gun-related deaths than any comparable industrialised country, or that Australia has not had a single mass shooting since Howard’s reforms in 1996…but you, like many Americans on this issue, cling to your beliefs so feverishly that you won’t change your mind regardless of the evidence presented to you, so I won’t waste my time further.

    • Geko says:

      01:05pm | 17/01/13

      Marley wrote “Of course, I can produce actual statistics, not just anecdotes, to support me. “

      lies, damn lies and statistics.
      Reminds me of the Australian police depts. desperately fudging violent crime statistics to make them look innocuous!

    • marley says:

      01:39pm | 17/01/13

      @Geko - you stick with the lies and the damn lies. I’ll stick with the statistics.

    • James1 says:

      02:09pm | 17/01/13

      “Reminds me of the Australian police depts. desperately fudging violent crime statistics to make them look innocuous!”

      Yeah.  The police should be using anecdotes, not statistics, to inform resourcing decisions.

    • Bear says:

      01:19pm | 17/01/13

      In all this one incredibly important thing is being forgotten. More important than kids easily, more important than Obama but even more important than guns! Even more important the Republitards! Money!!! Don’t you watch those gun shows on Fox or even the fisherman. What do they all say? money money money. It will cost a fortune for sellers but what about the average Joes with 50-70 guns who will lose MONEY in their collections and they have to give up a few!?  It’s about the money! Everything else is second.

    • PeterM says:

      01:33pm | 17/01/13

      Ahh Sam ..... the musings of youth without regard for the realities of life and facts.
      Three things should be put before Congress on this issue.
      1. Compulsory background checks PRIOR to purchase of a firearm.
      2. Stronger storage regulations to help keep legal firearms out of the hands of those who otherwise could not have them. Prime example being the Sandy Creek shooting.
      3. Get some appropriate funding for mental health.

      You cannot un-invent the wheel and the fact that the vast majority of firearm crime comes from those who have illegal weapons or who would otherwise not be passed on a background check.  Laws do nothing other than place further restrictions on those who already observe them.

    • Chris says:

      01:53pm | 17/01/13

      Then there’s the journal news fiasco - publishing the names and addresses of lawful gun owners, some of which are vulnerable women living alone, police officers, judges and district attorneys, witnesses. You don’t stop a bad guy with a gun by taking guns away from the good guys. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Yw3sZ_reY8

    • Watson says:

      02:26pm | 17/01/13

      Freedom = weapons   Maybe in a revolution
      Many weapons are stolen and used in evil acts.The owners always have the best intentions.

      Adam Lanza’s mum owned guns with all the best intentions.

    • Greg says:

      02:34pm | 17/01/13

      This whole gun debate issue isn’t so hard to understand, despite all the efforts made to confuse people.

      It’s not about banning guns, certain types of guns or reducing the number of guns. Guns exist and cannot be un-invented.

      The political elites, such as Obama, will continue to be protected by the police and military, who will have continued access to guns. No debate about that.

      Criminals who ignore the law will also have continued access to guns. That is self evident too.

      The whole debate is over whether anybody else can have continued acess to guns, or whether gun ownership should be limited to those who want to wield authority over or victimise the rest of us in some way.

      Unless you are really, really stupid, and ignorant of history, the correct answer should be obvious.

    • marley says:

      02:56pm | 17/01/13

      @Greg - no, it’s not a simple choice of everyone having guns, or only those who want to victimise us having guns.  It’s a choice of everyone having access to any sort of gun they want; everyone having access to certain types of guns; people with clean records and no mental health issues having access to certain types of guns;  fewer people having access to assault weapons and/or handguns; fewer people having concealed carry rights; or only the police and military having access to guns.  You’d have to be really really stupid and ignorant of history to believe that the correct answer lies at neither of the extremes, but somewhere in the middle.

    • Greg says:

      03:36pm | 17/01/13

      @marley, yes it is that simple.

      The ever increasing restrictions and conditions on gun ownership for ordinary people are means to the same end - the creation and maintenance of a power imbalance between those who are empowered and those who are weakened.

      There may be varying degrees of oppression, but freedom is an absolute - people either have it or they don’t. When it comes to freedom there is no middle ground.

      And if people don’t have the means to protect themselves then they are not free, as their freedom can be removed upon a whim.

    • NSS says:

      06:17pm | 17/01/13

      Ah, the old “need to protect our freedom” saw. Yep, cos owning an assault weapon and lots of ammo magazines is going to make soooo much difference when the massively powerful Armed Forces of a country like America decide to back a dictatorship.

      If you were in Syria, perhaps you’d have a point, but not in the US - a country with so many checks and balances on power that even the most powerful CE( ie POTUS) can’t pass laws worth a damn unilaterally, as this very dilemma illustrates.  Really, you need to think this stuff through.

      As for Australia, thank god we don’t feel the same way about weapons as they do and thank god we trust the ballot box as all the defence of political freedom we need.

    • marley says:

      06:24pm | 17/01/13

      @Greg - you know, I don’t tend to judge whether countries are “free” or not on the basis of their firearms laws. I don’t think the US, with its constitutional right to bear arms, is one bit freer than Canada or Australia or the UK or France. 

      Freedom lies in constitutional protections, whether explicit or implicit; in the rule of law; and in democratic systems of governance.  It doesn’t lie in the point of a gun or the fall of a guillotine.

    • Mark says:

      02:38pm | 17/01/13

      I don’t actually have much of a problem with the ‘home defence’ argument for owning guns. However, a pistol or similar weapon should do just fine. I challenge anyone who wants to try to convince me why anyone needs a semi-automatic AK-47 (or similar weapon) with a magazine of up to 50 bullets for ‘home defence’. Exactly who or what army do you think is going to be showing up to your door?

    • Bear says:

      03:00pm | 17/01/13

      You need to mix a bit of cucky churchy Conservatism into your thinking. Maybe once it was the blacks but today it’s more likely to be zombies after the rapture or reverse vampires.

    • John Torkildsen says:

      02:54pm | 17/01/13

      The mere thought of the Dear Leader surrounding himself with children brings back so many pleasant memories of Saddam Hussein doing that very same thing as his regime faced a UN ultimatum of invasion before Desert Storm.

    • Bear says:

      03:10pm | 17/01/13

      Presumably you would have sided with the Nazis? They wouldn’t have you in Scandawegia now, much more at home in Oz if youre a Nazi.

    • Geko says:

      02:57pm | 17/01/13

      Mark wrote ” Exactly who or what army do you think is going to be showing up to your door? “

      Look outside for leftist closet totalitarians in govt Mark!

    • Subotic belongs to the NRA says:

      03:22pm | 17/01/13

      The National Ray-Gun Association (NRA) is a fringe party in the political world of the Futurama universe. They support the right to own doomsday devices and seek to eliminate the three day waiting period for mad scientists.

    • Ben says:

      04:53pm | 17/01/13

      I’m sure our American friends reading this are grateful that we Australians - who have totally eliminated crime in this country - are gratuitously advising them how to fix their problems.

    • Thomas says:

      06:48pm | 17/01/13

      They’re looking very closely at the legislation John Howard introduced after the Port Arthur massacre, and are understandably impressed and envious of the fact that Australia has not had a single mass shooting since.

    • OzTrucker says:

      05:00pm | 17/01/13

      The yanks don’t give a rats what we or anyone else think!

      But here’s the thing. One has to question the rank hypocrisy of a bloke who says its ok for his children to be protected by sub-machine gun wielding secret service agents but it’s not ok for everyone else’s children!

      We really need to get over ourselves I reckon. We hear these numbers of several thousand people killed by guns in the states each year. Think about it just a little bit people! The population of the US is more than 350 million! It’s a drop in the bucket! More people get killed by cars in the US each year and you don’t see them banned.

      As others have said and I have personally seen it is just amazing how polite peopl are and how low the crime rates are when people walk around with holstered pistols in clear view.

    • Bear says:

      05:20pm | 17/01/13

      It’s a lot more “several thousand’, way to distort fact with vague untruths. It’s 30 000 dead of which 12k are murders. And how many wounded? Line in war many more than are killed. But no as if any yanks care what we say or would even know but it gives something other than to navel gaze for once.

 

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