After a high-profile misuse of a firearm, the new “normal” for anti-gun elites is to tout Australia and the United Kingdom as exemplars of what gun control should look like in the United States. They contend that if Americans would only embrace the restrictions adopted by more “enlightened” countries, violence would largely be a thing of the past. Never mind the United States’ unique history, culture, demographics or our all-too-uncommon respect for the human right of self-defense. Critically, Australia’s gun laws don’t just ban firearms by type and model, but they also highly restrict who is allowed to possess what few firearms are left and for a narrow range of purposes.
President Barack Obama spoke of his envy for the Australian and British models after a high-profile shooting in Oregon last fall. But this wasn’t the first time. In 2013, after a shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., Obama praised the gun control regimes, proclaiming that “In the United Kingdom, in Australia, when just a single mass shooting occurred,” those countries “mobilized and they changed.”
But it’s not just Obama that has this fixation. Hillary Clinton has gotten into the act, too. At a campaign event in New Hampshire, Clinton was asked about Australia’s gun ban and if the U.S. could do the same thing. In response, Clinton said, “Certainly the Australian example is worth looking at.” (For more on Clinton’s anti-gun extremism, see “The Clinton Files II.”)
Clinton is right. The Australia example is worth looking at. Not as an example of an approach that should be embraced, but as a reminder to the American people of just how extreme the Obama and Clinton gun control agenda truly is.
Australia adopted the National Firearms Agreement (NFA), which includes a broad range of gun restrictions, in 1996 after a meeting of the Australasian Police Ministers’ Council that was held in response to a shooting in Port Arthur, Tasmania.
The centerpiece of the NFA is a ban on semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic shotguns and pump-action shotguns for those who do not require such firearms for an occupational purpose. The ban was enforced by a mandatory gun “buy back” (confiscation) program, where owners received set compensation for surrendering their banned firearms. And the list of banned firearms is encyclopedic and chilling: Remington 870s, Ruger 10/22s, Ithaca Model 37s, Mossberg 500s, and other commonly held firearm models. Banned, confiscated and destroyed.
Critically, Australia’s gun laws don’t just ban firearms by type and model, but they also highly restrict who is allowed to possess what few firearms are left and for a narrow range of purposes. An NFA pamphlet notes, “All governments agreed that the possession of firearms is not a right but a conditional privilege,” and that, “You cannot use personal protection as a genuine reason for owning, possessing or using a firearm.” The document also contended that police should have greater authority to conduct unannounced home inspections of a gun owner’s firearm storage arrangements.
Similar to Australia, a prospective firearm owner in the U.K. must obtain a license in order to acquire a gun of any type. Just as in Australia, self-defense is not recognized as a legitimate reason to own a firearm. The U.K. bans a broad array of firearms, including semi-automatic and pump-action rifles in any caliber larger than .22 rimfire. Handguns have been completely banned since 1997. And, just like in Australia, the U.K. forced handgun owners to forfeit their firearms.
Unsatisfied with the current oppressive restrictions, a recent report from the U.K.’s Inspectorate of Constabulary proposed even more gun controls. The item urged policymakers to require a license applicant’s doctor to submit a medical report on their suitability and to perpetually inform police of any changes to a license holder’s “medical circumstances.” The document also contended that police should have greater authority to conduct unannounced home inspections of a gun owner’s firearm storage arrangements.
So the endgame is clear. Registration and licensing, bans on semi-automatic and pump-action rifles and shotguns, bans on handguns, gross invasions of personal privacy, gun confiscation, and no firearm ownership for the purpose of self-defense. Make no mistake, when Obama, Clinton or any other anti-gun politician cites Australia or the U.K. as the model for U.S. gun control, these are the measures they are endorsing.
Every time they refer to “reasonable” or “common-sense” gun control, let it serve as a reminder of what the endgame is and that we cannot take anything for granted. Working together, we can ensure that the 2016 election year stands as a reminder that the only “example worth looking at” is a United States that remains dedicated to the Second Amendment-protected rights of its citizens.