Guns are out of control

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Guns are big news at the moment. In the USA overnight, President Obama announced sweeping reforms to America’s gun laws. In New South Wales another person has been shot dead – the 135th since the beginning of last year – and an argument has erupted between the Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the NSW Police Minister Michael Gallacher over who is responsible for the high level of gun violence in that state.

Firstly, the USA. President Obama has announced his intention to introduce legislation which will include limits on high capacity magazines, a ban on new assault weapons, increased vigilance associated with background checks on gun purchases and stronger laws to prevent the trafficking of weapons in the USA. It is widely predicted he will have a battle on his hands with both the Republican Party members in Congress and the National Rifle Association to get this legislation through. He has also used his executive authority to sign in another 20-plus gun related laws. 

Locally, the death of yet another Sydney man has triggered a statement from the Prime Minister that she has requested the Minister for Home Affairs, Jason Clare, to look at ways these shootings might be reduced.

This comment has been described by Mr. Gallacher as hypocritical because the Federal Government is failing to prevent illegal gun importation. Ironically, in the same newspaper this morning, the Customs and Border Protection officers have claimed that ‘smarter screening’ procedures have resulted in a decrease in the importation of illegal weapons.

Keep up-to-date on the USA gun debate in The New York Times 

Read more about the local spat over who is responsible for shooting deaths in The Age 

And what customs says is happening with illegal gun importation 

 

Guns and roses

Guns N’ Roses is, of course, a highly successful American rock band, coincidentally touring Australia in 2013. But guns and roses, for me, have a deeper connection. I call it a no-brainer. The more guns people can access, the higher the likelihood of someone dying, and the need for roses. And tears of grief for the friends and loved ones of the person whose life has ended because someone pulled a trigger. If this sounds like an over-simplification of the matter, it’s because I think the matter should be much more simple. I simply don’t get the American people who cling to the belief that gun ownership has something to do with their constitutional rights. Why would ANYONE need a semi- automatic weapon? Why should the ownership of what is essentially a killing machine, have anything to do with your rights? American citizens pay a high price for the political power of the NRA. Most recently the massacre of innocent children and their dedicated teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown was a chilling example of what can happen when a woman purchases guns as a ‘hobby’ and her mentally challenged son gets hold of them.

Obama’s legislation is a no-brainer and, as he has revealed, he has a painting by Grace, one of the Newtown victims, in his office, so it is to be hoped the image of this little girl holds him to his promise to ‘keep our children safe’.

As for Australia, research released on Sunday reveals that our gun ownership has risen back to pre-Port Arthur shooting levels. This is alarming. Today’s report from customs that more illegal guns are being detected as they enter the country is good news. But, according to the statistics, far too many people have lost their lives, in NSW in particular, over the past year. Unlike the USA, we have far stricter gun legislation. But that doesn’t mean we should become complacent and assume that our existing laws are sufficient to prevent horrifying massacres of innocent people. The Prime Minister is right to suggest we need to re-look at what can be done, at all levels of government. And the NSW Government would do well to stop point-scoring and start policing – citizens deserve nothing less.

STOP PRESS – as this blog is being written, another two people have been shot dead at a community college in Kentucky.

What do you think? Is it a no-brainer for Obama to bring in far tougher gun legislations?

And what about NSW? Is the Prime Minister right to look at every aspect associated with gun violence? Or is Michael Gallacher correct with her claims that her remarks are merely electioneering?

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Written by Kaye Fallick

241 Comments

Total Comments: 241
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    Everything that Julia Gillard is doing is focused on getting reelected. Dozens of promises to score points but no funding.

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    Its not ‘guns’ that are out of control – its the stupid ape species

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      the stupid ape species’ as you call them (us??) are watching too much TV. It’s the easy availability of getting a gun (legally or illegally) that is of concern. Why do people want a gun?? Why do they think they need a gun?? ‘For protection’ I hear you say… well you should only carry a gun if you intend to use it and if you are afraid (you need it for protection remember) then I don’t want to be anywhere near you in your adrenalin induced state of mind 🙂 Take away your gun and give you a water pistol and we could have tons of fun 🙂 Without a gun you would be a much nicer person 🙂 Nicer, more approachable,more social .. not so scarey

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    Obama has cojones as big as footballs, in his attempt to deal with Americans obssession with firearms. I fear he will be assassinated if he continues with this strong line on gun control.

    The firearms-lovers see any attempt at gun control as a personal attack upon their freedom, and will arm up further and start to attack Govt authorities that attend their properties.

    I believe we’ll see an increase in U.S. domestic terrorism, as more McVeighs appear.

    The idiocy of the firearms lovers attitude is visible in their belief that any attempts at curbing gun numbers and illegal weapons, is an attempt to totally disarm them.

    While this attitude persists and is promoted by the NRA, there will be no improvement in the American out-of-control firearms situation.

    By far the most telling feature of the gun-nuts morally-bankrupt stance, is their use of their suckling babes in the promotion of firearms ownership.

    People who teach their 2 yr-olds to use firearms – and who use their young children to hold firearms-promotion placards in protests, should be charged with child abuse and child corruption.

    This is the most morally-reprehensible conduct I have ever witnessed, and is indicative of the moral bankruptcy of the gun-nuts.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYqyq70b6BE

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      I can not understand the mentality of the ‘average’ American. Despite the truck loads of research (from well recognised academics) proving there is a link between guns and violence, Americans will not willingly give up their guns. The gun-lovers use the excuse it is their right to carry a gun … an automatic mass killing rifle? A gun is designed to kill. That is it’s first purpose. Maybe if there was a law in America saying if you possess/carry a weapon that is designed to kill, then you may be charged with contemplating murder? We are seeing here in Sydney what happens when people will not discuss their problems … people die.

      Aaron, I agree wholeheartedly with your views. Especially about children. A bit of trivia, but there has been a lot of children (adult children) killing their parents here in Australia (S.A and Tassy. come to mind) can you imagine what the toll maybe if Australians had the gun mentality of Americans??

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      Hear! Hear!

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      cojones?? I can’t find it in the dictionary. Sorry 🙂

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      lazy student – cojones is Española for balls [testicles]

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      wow!! Thank you aquatrek, I have learned something new 🙂

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    What bitter world we live in to put down the first idea and accuse!

    Eletion year or not, what is Australia copying from US friends, films and soaps?

    Perfect housekeeping, higher standard of living, and there’s more, and it includes violence as well. Ice, the drug of course, originated in the USA, and is now world wide.

    Can we please learn to think for ourselves instead of joining the lazy mob spirit of condemnation?

    I think it is in all our interests that guns and drugs are much more closely associated by the underbelly of society that runs rackets and has territory disputes and needs laws not to worship the crims but to help the victims.

    And who else than our Julia has a pressuring ability to try and curb all this?

    Or is the old ‘rum corps still running this country?

    Any opposition to drug and weapons reform is in my understanding a suspicious response. What has the Police to protect or defend?

    That’s the real issue as I see it, we are not in the chambers of government where boarding school antics are the game of each session in Parliament.

    If we cannot respect each other in running the government, what example can the many-cultured Australians follow? |

    What does it mean today to be an Australian, as different from the 60’s under Menzies, or 70’s or today?

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    I agree with Michael Gallacher … it’s just another empty thought balloon from Gillard – anything to seem to be concerned and actually doing something. The Federal Government is not responsible for State’s Police. However the Federal Government is responsible for Customs, and as most of the illegal guns are pouring in from overseas, instead of trumpeting on about State matters why doesn’t she instead have competent and uncorrupted Custom Officers. I understand it Customs budget was slashed, along with Defence and so many other vital areas. After the arrests of corrupt and criminal elements in Customs recently .. how about having every worker at overseas terminal’s criminal history checked by AFP and State Police. At least that way she would be doing something other than coming up with this stunt. It’s all to get her name in the headlines and look like she cares and in doing something, when in actual fact she’s doing nothing at all.

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      I totally agree! In the UK handguns are banned, but guess what? You can buy an unlicensed firearm in the back streets of Birmingham and Manchester!
      Fact or fiction? FACT! As related by an ex Tactical Response copper now serving in the WA police force!
      I can’t think of any one thing which has been prohibited (as in prohibition) that has been successful throughout the world.
      I have a friend who lives in Arizona who actually does not own a firearm, but he has assured me that he could buy a gun from any car boot sale!
      The America’s are awash with guns from the Canadian border, south through the US, Mexico and South America.
      America and Australia are totally different. The guns used by gang members in Australia are illegal. They are modern firearms illegally brought into the country along with drugs etc. I would imagine that the gangs are willing to sacrifice a drug bust or two for ulterior motives?
      Do I use a gun? Along with my wife, we are both in our mid 60’s, the answer is yes. The difference between America and here in Australia we did not and could not purchase our firearms without being known by the police.
      They know who we are, where we are, what we look like, what type and serial number of firearm we own, which compulsory club we belong to and of course we all have to be members of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia.
      Military type firearms are not allowed.
      Suicides? The use of railways far outweigh gun deaths.
      The local hold up’s with guns? Replica firearms can be purchased over the counter and one would have to be extremely brave or experienced to spot the difference in a surprise situation. Some fire blanks!
      We have open borders with illegal people swarming to Australia keeping our small inferior Customs and Navy busy. Now………I wonder where the guns come from??

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      No matter what the political leanings of the PM of the day, their ideas on gun control are always limited to simplistic ideas. Doesn’t matter whether it’s Labor or Liberal.

      Far better to target those who seek to carry illegal weapons. Bring in a law that allows police to charge people carrying illegal firearms with premeditated, attempted murder – and which then jails those people for a minimum of 15 yrs.

      After all, if you’re carrying an illegal firearm, particularly a handgun – you have a specific plan to kill people – and if that isn’t premeditated murder, then I don’t know what is.

      The “gun-culture” of various groups and ethnicities, that has been transported here from other countries (including America) needs to be educated out of them.

      Training up children to see and acknowledge that there is no “need” for a firearm – to settle disputes – or for personal protection – and that killing everything that moves is a great feeling, will go a long way to eliminate the demand for, and the regular use of firearms to settle marital, financial, and business disputes.

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      @Bes: pls swap your guns for bows and take up a sport that gets you out into the fresh air – guns are not needed in a peaceful society that has humane laws and regulations so that all citizens can live without fear and in peace. Oh well, probably another 1,000 years to go if the species last that long.

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      savannahrose, I am sick of people saying PM Gillard only has ‘thought bubbles’. Have you forgotten the carbon tax?? 🙂
      I hope guns hold a place of priority in her mind. I think this will be one ‘thought bubble’ that comes to fruition.

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      Student, that’s typical of the irrational PM haters.

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    Besides, indiscriminate slaughter is ubiquitously pandemic acrss the planet and the biggest arms sellers are the worlds biggest economic powers – Sweden, Russia, China etc etc etc. Diana, rest her soul, started a movement to prohibit the selling of mines and where has that got to – no where in a global sense. Stop the trading in arms and then stop the issuing of licences to the public. I have started a crossbow factory.

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      You’ve got admit, you’d be hard-pressed to slaughter 20 schoolkids in less than 20 seconds, even with your best model of crossbow!

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      I am busy designing a multi bolt action type that carries an anti-personnel device a bit like the new USA rifle that has a special bullet that only explodes and spreads shrapnel in the vicinity of the enemies cranium. It will be issued as a DIY kit through Bunnings.

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      OMG!! The mind boggles 🙂 Will your crossbow fit into a woman’s wallet (not handbag as some of them are HUGE!!!) Will it have other uses … ummm, maybe a miniature harp!! What about getting through security at the airport?? A cheese slicer??
      As for the DIY one, can I load it with flower petals?? Maybe even a calm-you-down foam (not for you aqua, but for the intended victim) Have you thought of a name yet?? Maybe the Love-gun 🙂

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      And the biggie: what colours will it come in?

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      sick buggers – I am serious today but then tomorrow ……………..

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      Aquatrek, with your post on the weapon you are designing I find it hard to consider you are being serious!

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      you are as thick as 2 [thats two] bricks angel Michael

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      aquatrek, what is the purpose of your WMD??

      “…special bullet that only explodes and spreads shrapnel in the vicinity of the enemies cranium … ” is the bullet going to be technically savvy so it knows brain tissue from body flesh?? I’m with Michael, I think you have good comic material. I’m sure the Patents Office will love your application. Maybe I’m a 3 bricks thick person 🙂

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    Makes you wonder just how stupid NRAA members, and Americans in general can get doesn’t it?

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      Ductape – The rampant American gun-nuts that continually screech about their “freedoms” and “rights” being infringed by a democratically-elected Govt introducing firearms control measures – are too dumb to even understand the precise meaning of the word “Amendment”, in the 2nd Amendment to their Constitution.

      I’ve even had gun-nuts trying to tell me the American “right” to a firearm was given to them by their Creator!
      These people truly suffer from paranoia and warped logic, that defies explanation?

      Maybe they are really angry because they aren’t allowed to own nukes & grenade launchers? – even though they can legally own machine guns made before 1986!

      Talk about the inmates running the asylum! What does a civilian living in a civil society need with a machine gun? A military-grade weapon designed to kill as many people as fast as possible!

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    The numbers of guns in Australia may be up to thr pre Howard legislation, but the types of guns have changed. Australians are no longer to legally own semi-automatic or pump action guns or rifles. Around us, most murders now seem to carried out by people using knives. Police control of licenced firearms is tight – my rifles have been inspected and their locked container has been inspected.

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      why in the hell do you have rifles – are you being invaded by hordes of killer wallabies or green bug eyed monsters from Mars or are you asiaphobic – get a life

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      Aquatrek, some people play golf some people hockey or football and some folk choose to shoot, as a hobby. Rifle, Gun and Pistol Clubs cater for these people. I do not own any firearms but should point out that I see no reason to lump all these people in with crooks, baddies or similar people who carry illegal firearms.

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      oh dear – lets extrapolate your argument out a bit – nobody ever mass mudered anyone by playing football or hockey !! I DID NOT LUMP anyone with anyone – why put words down that you perpetrate to be mine – the question that I raise is why have guns at all ?????????????????? the longer that society and its individuals harbour guns at all allows them [THE GUNS] to stay as part of society. The excuse that its a hobby isnt worth the effort that went into the thought.

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      Very well Aquatrek, lets refer to these hobbies as Olympic Sports. I should point out I did not accuse YOU of ‘lumping’ and I’m afraid you are getting just a little irrational!

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      dearest Michael: you specifically addressed the comments to moi – are you just tired after a long days blogging, missed your grandpa nap, havent reached your ‘beer o’clock’ just yet hehe

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    We used to own 2 rifles when we lived on acreage in the country then the laws were changed & we moved to a suburban house& have no use for the rifles. One is long gone as I did not have any reason to keep it the pther came in handy when my husband used to often be away at night for work & oubng hoons used to come onto our property & frighten me so I often shor over the tops of their cars & laughed myself silly when the would turn their cars around on our driveway as fast as they could move. This usually took about a six or seven point turn as it was only wide enough for one car to travel in comfort.

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      unicorn – while your action may, in a sense, seem rational to you, it does seem a bit extreme – considering you said you’d moved into suburbia. Clint Eastwood may have got away with threatening a group of teenagers in his movie, but in reality, you walk along a very dangerous path by following this example.

      What do you think would have happened had you accidentally shot one of the neighbours – or indeed – ended up shooting one of the ‘hoons, as you say?

      This is exactly why our government decided to make it more difficult for people to obtain a gun! By admitting to your actions, you have only added weight to the argument that if a gun were available, then it’s quite easy for a normal law abiding citizen to become a criminal. You did after all, fire a weapon in an attempt to threaten another person.

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    Maybe when the criminal element is controlled in society, there will be no need for guns, many people would have a gun for protection, this is the sad truth so many are not feeling secure in their own homes, people who are carrying guns for no legitimate reason should be given stiff mandatory sentences.

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