“Just another day in the United States of America. Another day of gunfire, panic and fear.” Those were BBC’s James Cook’s words in the aftermath of the San Bernardino terrorist attack. They were immediately picked-up and repeated by America’s assault media, indulging in immediate gun shaming. The underlying assumption: America should be more like “gun free” UK. Or, better yet (and as our President would prefer), Australia. In the aftermath of the aftermath, the BBC addresses that question directly: Are Australia’s gun laws the solution for the US? Skipping all the usual horrifying (horrifying I tell you!) stats, the “simple” answer is . . .
. . . probably not.
Although Australia does have a long history of hunting and sport, there is no equivalent to America’s Second Amendment right to bear arms here.
Another significant difference is the speed of government action. In 1996 John Howard managed to get all six Australian states to agree to and pass uniform sweeping gun control legislation in just 12 days.
It is hard to fathom the US government ever being able to get all 50 states to agree to something, let alone act that quickly.
So we can file this one at itaintgonnahappen.com. We done here? Don’t be silly! Auntie Beeb can’t leave it at that!
But according to Prof Alpers, the bigger difference is the cultural mindset.
“I don’t for a moment think it would happen in the US,” he says. “Australia already had a pre-disposition to doing something about it.”
He explains that although by far the deadliest, the Port Arthur shooting was not the first Australia had experienced.
He says the country had lost nearly 150 people in the years running up to 1996 in mass shootings, and the national mood was changing.
“Port Arthur was the straw that broke the camel’s back. You have to go back to those years to remember how visceral that backlash was.”
Mr Fischer is more optimistic. He believes meaningful change could come to the US, but only when a “silent majority” are “sprung into action”.
“Of course all mass shootings are a bridge too far,” he says. “But there is going to be one that really tips the balance. Watch this space.”
So “the silent majority” favor gun control? I don’t think so. As for the idea that a mass shooting will lead to gun confiscation, I think the good professor missed the fact that gun sales have gone ballistic after the San Bernardino slaughter. Facts. Who needs ’em?