Adam Lanza carried out the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Sandy Hook and anti-gun vultures

The Australian anti-gun lobby has converged like a pack of hyenas on local gun control after the Sandy Hook tragedy in the US, cashing in on the foreign tragedy to push their local agenda.

The sickening mass shooting of school children and teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, has been fresh fodder for the shameless ideologues of the Australian anti-gun groups and Greens.

Greens leader Christine Milne was on radio yesterday claiming credit for Tasmania’s gun laws after Port Arthur and boasting about how the politics of the day ensured they came about. Not debate or proper assessment, just knee-jerk, populist politics.

They have repeated their demands for a handgun ban and all the usual rot in a country where there is no problem with legally owned firearms, and they use the US situation to justify themselves to an eager media and sometimes gullible public.

They’re all running around sounding off about “assault weapons”, “military style guns” and “semi-automatics” without any regard for the many, many caveats that must be applied to all those mis-used, generalised, fear-mongering descriptions of firearms.

Both here and in the US, the anti-gun lobby succeeds brilliantly at diverting attention away from topics that are far more important to public safety and credible gun control. Where is the debate about mental health in today’s increasingly ‘mad’ society? Where is the research into what makes people do something as unbelievable as killing dozens of innocent citizens? Why is the focus purely on guns, when there are hundreds of millions of them in law-abiding hands posing no anger to anyone?

Who is asking how we reconcile claims that guns in society are dangerous when in the US the cities with the strictest gun-control laws have the highest murder rates, yet where concealed carriage of firearms is legal (under permit, of course) the crime rates are among the lowest? Anyone who tries to brush off these facts is being contemptibly disingenuous.

I have seen nothing in dozens of Australian media stories that questions the stats bandied about by the anti-gun lobby, figures that are, at best, at the scariest extreme range of those available.

There will be no balanced debate about gun laws, here or in the US, while the anti-gun lobby continues to hold so much sway.

Banning guns will be as effective as banning drugs, criminalising homosexuality, outlawing abortion or adding new definitions of fraud to the financial sector. The war on drugs is a lost cause and, besides, look at the millions of good – even essential – drugs we rely on in modern life. Making criminals of gay people is demonstrably pointless and counter-productive in so many ways it’s not funny. Outlawing abortion kills people. And as for the world’s caring, sharing financial entrepreneurs…

We shooters can only hope that it all fades to nothing here. As it is, this US tragedy and its aftermath has probably set us back years in our attempts to address the flaws in current Australian gun laws. And the hyenas must love that.




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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.