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Fox News anchor has misguided view of Australia’s gun laws

America’s gun laws have been discussed at length, but recently Australia was drawn into the fray by Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson.

Carlson claims that strict gun ownership laws are impacting Australia’s “freedom”.

He’s referring to gun laws introduced almost 20 years ago in the wake of the tragic Port Arthur massacre, in which 35 people — including women and children — were killed.

Between October 1996 and September 1997, the government collected around 650,000 privately held guns, representing one of the largest mandatory gun buyback programs in recent history.

“I knew that I had to use the authority of my office to curb the possession and use of the type of weapons that killed 35 innocent people,” Australia’s former prime minister, John Howard, wrote afterward.

“I also knew it wouldn’t be easy.”

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During a discussion on Fox News, Australia was cited as an example of a modern, civilised society that operates without guns and without gun violence, but Tucker Carlson took offence.

“But they have no freedom,” he promptly replied. “You can go to prison for expressing unpopular views in Australia and people do.”

Really? I have to say, I find that interesting and would love for him to offer an example to back this up.

We have quite a strong relationship with “freedom of speech” in this country and there are plenty of journalists and columnists who make their living by offering their contrarian views and being a continual voice of dissent.

We have a lot of freedom in Australia, including freedom of speech.

We also have the safe, secure and free kind of culture that means I can drop my kids off at school or take my children to the grocery store without worrying about their safety.

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Can residents in the United States really say the same?

America’s gun culture appears to be so endemic that over the last few weeks, several devastating shootings have occurred involving kids.

Over the weekend, an 8-year-old girl, McKayla, was shot and killed by her 11-year-old neighbour. He has been charged with first-degree murder as a juvenile.

In Ohio a few days ago, an 11-year-old boy picked up a loaded gun from a picnic table and fatally shot his 12-year-old brother. According to authorities, there were three loaded guns on the table.

These are not cases of mental illness driving deranged individuals to do horrific things. These are the unfortunate consequences of children having unfettered access to guns in a culture where gun violence appears to be accepted as part of everyday life.

And just last week, a 5-month-old baby girl was killed. Aavielle was killed in a drive-by shooting when a gunman is believed to have shot at the wrong car. A precious life taken because of gun violence — and she was one of four children shot in Cleveland in the last month.

Meanwhile, in Australia, the rates of gun-related deaths are low and decreasing.

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According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, the percentage of homicides committed with a firearm have been in decline for almost 50 years. It reached a peak of 44 per cent in 1968, but since the introduction of strict gun laws in 1996, the rate dropped to fewer than 16 per cent by 2003.

If America is indeed the land of the free and it’s Australia that has been stripped of its freedom, then I only have one thing to say: I’ll take our Australian freedom over the American kind any day of the week.

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