US must turn to Australia and get tough on guns

It’s on the same scale as Sandy Hook nearly a decade ago when 20 youngsters were killed, and this time it’s in Texas.

Nineteen primary school children were killed. Innocent young children, ages six to twelve, in grades 2, 3, and 4, along with a teacher.

San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, right, comforts families outside the Civic Center following a deadly shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
An archbishop comforts families outside the civic center following a deadly shooting at Robb Elementary School. (AP)

All shot by an 18-year-old who opened fire with a handgun and suspected military rifle.

The shooter himself was shot by police, and it’s another tragic loss of life that’s been happening with numbing regularity in America.

They’ve had 200 mass shootings this year alone – roughly one a day – and the sad truth is that they will continue to happen unless American politicians finally have the courage to get tough on guns.

Prayers for the 18 children and three adults who died in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (AP)

They have to look to Australia, because we’ve led the world in this.

Former Prime Minister John Howard took a huge political risk by cracking down on gun ownership with the National Buy-Back Scheme after 35 people were killed in our worst massacre in Port Arthur.

An anti-gun rally in Hobart in the wake of Port Arthur.
An anti-gun rally in Hobart following the Port Arthur massacre. (PAA)

We have avoided the crimes committed with firearms and the needless loss of life that thoughts and prayers do nothing to stop in the United States.

It’s hard to believe that American politicians who continue to accept millions of dollars in donations from the gun lobby refuse to see the connection between guns and mass shootings.

The governor of Texas, who is now mourning the loss of those children, is the man who pushed his state to up its game with guns.

Port Arthur, Tasmania
Former Prime Minister John Howard took a huge political risk by cracking down on gun ownership after the mass shooting. (Provided)

He tweeted in 2015, after the Sandy Hook massacre, that he was embarrassed.

Texas was number two in the nation behind California in new gun purchases and he urged Texans to pick up the pace – tweeting the message with a link to the NRA – the National Rifle Association – which qualifies America’s oldest civil rights organization.

The right to bear arms is considered a civil right because it is enshrined in the constitution.

But no civilian-owned weapons or military-grade machine guns when it became a right, and there just aren’t the checks and balances to keep the arsenals that should be limited to armies out of the hands of individuals who can trigger the kind of damage we’re seeing now in Texas.

Unless the United States gets tough on guns and does the basics, like tightening up background checks, school shootings like this will unfortunately continue to happen in the United States.

Thank goodness John Howard took the stand he took here.

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