As the United States continues to debate the Second Amendment, new research has found that gun laws really do save lives.
US president Donald Trump believes the answer to protecting school children from massacres is to arm teachers with guns, but a new study, published on the Annals of Internal Medicine, has revealed the strict gun control laws enacted across Australia after the deadly 1996 Port Arthur massacre has saved lives.
Martin Bryant shot and killed 35 people and injured a further 23 that fateful day. The prime minister at the time, John Howard, changed Australia’s gun laws less than two weeks after the tragic incident, something many people have cited in the fight against guns in America.
The National Firearms Agreement, which states self-defence wasn’t a legitimate enough reason to hold a firearm licence, saw more than a million firearms surrendered to officials between 1996 and 2015. Australia hasn’t had a mass shooting since.
Previously, there were 13 mass shooting where at least five people died in the 18 years leading up to the Port Arthur massacre. In America, 317 mass shootings occurred last year, and there has already been 30 in 2018 alone.
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Despite these figures, Trump has decided to work with the National Rifle Association (NRA) to ensure Americans can still acquire a weapon with ease. It comes after he’d previously said that age restrictions need to be put in place for people purchasing a gun and that mentally ill people should never be given access to a firearm.
Taking to Twitter on Tuesday, he announced that more guns would soon be part of everyday life for American schools.
“Very strong improvement and strengthening of background checks will be fully backed by White House,” he wrote. “Legislation moving forward. Bump Stocks will soon be out. Highly trained expert teachers will be allowed to conceal carry, subject to State Law.”
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He said there wasn’t a great deal of political support when it came to age restrictions, explaining: “On 18 to 21 Age Limits, watching court cases and rulings before acting. States are making this decision. Things are moving rapidly on this, but not much political support (to put it mildly)”.
Since the February school shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 people, Trump has argued that schools are easy targets because they’re not protected by guns.
“If schools are mandated to be gun free zones, violence and danger are given an open invitation to enter,” he said.” Almost all school shootings are in gun free zones. Cowards will only go where there is no deterrent!”
The shooting sparked outrage across the US, with the debate surrounding American gun laws becoming a fixture in American media. Thousands of students and families have rallied across the country to demand reforms similar to Australia’s.
What do you think? Should American embrace stricter gun laws? How do they fix this ongoing problem?