Australian Laws Highlighted by VP Harris in Speech on US Violence
Vice President Kamala Harris commended Australia’s gun control laws during a speech at a State Department luncheon with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Harris’s remarks came in the wake of a mass shooting incident in Lewiston, Maine, which left at least 18 people dead and many others injured.
In her address, Vice President Harris pointed to Australia’s stringent gun control measures as a potential model for reducing gun violence. She argued that Australia’s laws have demonstrated that mass shootings do not have to be a regular occurrence. She asserted that “In our country today, the leading cause of death of American children is gun violence. Gun violence has terrorized and traumatized so many of our communities in the United States.”
At a luncheon honoring the Australian Prime Minister, Vice President Harris addressed the tragedy in Lewiston, Maine last night. Notably, she cited Australia as an example of a nation where mass shootings are not normal. pic.twitter.com/CMLCvp84Au
— Symone D. Sanders Townsend (@SymoneDSanders) October 26, 2023
Harris emphasized the differences between gun laws in the United States and Australia. Notably, Australia does not provide citizens with a legal right to gun ownership, and individuals must establish a “genuine reason” for owning a firearm. Self-protection is not considered a legitimate reason. In contrast, the U.S. enshrines the right to bear arms in the Second Amendment of the Constitution.
The Vice President also highlighted Australia’s strict licensing and registration requirements. Australians who purchase firearms are mandated to obtain a license, and each firearm must be individually registered. These measures set Australia apart from countries like New Zealand and Canada, where firearms can be more freely acquired after obtaining a license.
The key moment in Australia’s gun control history came in 1996 when a series of widely-publicized mass shootings prompted the government to take action. The resulting National Firearms Agreement introduced a ban on automatic and semi-automatic firearms, established firearm registration, imposed stricter storage requirements, and tightly restricted non-military style semi-automatic rifle and shotgun purchases. The government also initiated a gun buyback program, which successfully collected nearly 700,000 privately-owned firearms.
JUST IN: Kamala Harris references Australia as a country the United States should model themselves after when it comes to gun control.
Starting in 1996, Australia collected about 650,000 privately owned guns in a mandatory buyback.
They also established a gun registry and… pic.twitter.com/G1ruXHzlkZ
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) October 26, 2023
Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who played a significant role in implementing these reforms, asserted that the changes had reduced both the gun-related homicide and suicide rates in Australia.
🚨BREAKING: Vice President Kamala Harris speaks on the shooting in Maine and says America should do what Australia has done with guns.
– Australia confiscated 650,000 legal guns from law abiding citizens.
— Ian Jaeger (@IanJaeger29) October 26, 2023
The Vice President’s comments resonated against the backdrop of the Lewiston shooting, in which the suspect, Robert Card, opened fire in a bowling alley and a nearby restaurant, killing and injuring numerous individuals. Card, a trained firearms instructor with a history of mental health issues, remains at large as a massive manhunt involving over 350 law enforcement personnel from federal, state, and local agencies continues.
The problem? The Vice President’s words are in conflict with the very constitution that she has sworn to protect.