Tim Fischer, who served as deputy prime minister under John Howard from 1996 to 1999, has urged Australians not to travel to the United States. He said that such a boycott would send a message about the need for tighter gun control regulations in the United States.
This comes soon after Australian college baseball player Christopher Lane was fatally shot by teens in what is being called a thrill kill.
As deputy prime minister, Fisher led Australia’s gun control reforms in the late ’90s alongside Howard. Fischer said, “I am deeply angry about this because of the callous attitude of the three teenagers but it’s a sign of the proliferation of guns on the ground in the USA. There is a gun for almost ever American. Tourists thinking of going to the USA should think twice. This is the bitter harvest and legacy of the policies of the NRA that even blocked background checks for people buying guns at gun shows. People should take this into account before going to the United States.”
Tim Fischer was the leading force behind former Australian Prime Minister John Howard’s sweeping gun reforms in 1996, which included a gun buy-back program, imposed strict licensing rules and banned semiautomatic rifles, automatic rifles and shotguns. The changes were a direct response to the gruesome Port Arthur massacre, where a 28-year-old Aussie armed with a semiautomatic rifle killed 35 people and wounded 23 others at a popular tourist site in southeastern Tasmania.
The swift changes pushed through by the conservative prime minister, who would go on to become one of George W. Bush’s closest allies, have long been held up as an international gold standard. According to Fischer, they sent Australia down a different path than the U.S. He believes that because of the gun reform law, you are now 15 times more likely to be shot dead in the U.S. per thousand people than in Australia.
Australia suffered 13 shooting massacres in the 18 years before the gun reforms and has not had a single massacre since. Moreover, random gun violence, such as the incident in Oklahoma last week, is way down (though by no means gone), according to a study by Andrew Leigh of Australian National University and Christine Neill of Wilfrid Laurier University. The researchers found that firearm homicide fell by 59 percent in Australia in the decade after it passed new laws.
These are the sorts of comparisons many Aussies have pointed to this week when trying to make sense of Lane’s “for fun” murder in Oklahoma. Was it a senseless killing that could have just as easily happened in the Land Down Under, or was it a sign of needed changes in American gun culture worthy of a boycott?
I happen to think its a sign that things need to change in America, though I doubt a boycott would make this happen. If you compare the United States to other developed countries, America has the highest rate of gun violence by far. There are however less developed nations with higher rates of gun violence. But is this what the United States want to be compared with, the least developed countries?
Former Australian Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer said, “There is murder mayhem on Main Street, USA every day of the week,” He’s asking Australians to avoid setting foot in America. He’s hoping a travel boycott will send a message to the States: no gun control, no tourism.
April 2013, the US government rejected a bill that would have required universal background checks for all gun purchases, which would have been a step in the right direction to begin reducing gun violence. What could be wrong with that? If you are not a criminal you can buy your gun and protect yourself. Why let criminals be armed, Why let those with severe mental illness be armed. These are the majority of people who commit the massacres and the crimes.
Polls revealed that 90 percent of Americans wanted a universal background check for all gun purchases. However, most Republican politicians, sprinkled with a few Democratic politicians caved to special interest groups, mainly the NRA (The National Rifle Association) which represents the gun manufacturing industry. The NRA wanted the bill defeated to protect the gun industry’s financial interests.
The NRA claims they have around 1 million members. If this is true, the NRA represents less than 1 percent of the American population.
This in turn means that most Republican politicians, plus a few Democratic politicians completely ignored the people’s voices when they rejected this bill. The people who elected them. If Republican politicians refuse to listen to the overwhelming majority of the American people, maybe they will start paying attention to international pressure that is beginning to take aim at reducing American gun violence.
Fisher said U.S. lawmakers are hiding from sensible gun control. “You don’t face up to that, and you let your congressmen and senators escape and dance around the bush,”
But Congressman Cole disagrees with Fischer on the politics.
Maybe we should look at this from yet another shocking story out of the US.A 5-year-old student took a gun to school in his back pack. No one was hurt when the gun went off in his back pack as he waited in the caferteria.
Investigators determined the child obtained the gun from a cupboard at home and placed it in the backpack. On Friday the information was presented to the attorney general’s office, which decided not to file charges against the student or his mother.
With stronger gun controls, the mother could still have the gun but she would need to keep it somewhere the child could not get to it or face a hefty penalty. This time the child was lucky no one was hurt. He may not be so lucky next time.