Former PM John Howard Re-Enters US Gun Debate, Defends Australia

The Australian gun laws formulated after the deadly mass shooting in 1996 is likely to grab attention especially since the United States presidential election is just around the corner.

With US presidential election candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz focusing on the rights of citizens to own a gun in their election campaign, it is obvious to take into account the huge change in laws in Australia where former Prime Minister John Howard ruled that there will be no sale or importation of rifles or other weapons to the nation, thereby prohibiting usage of weapons for illegal purposes. Not only this, but the law also reduced the number of household gun-owners to half.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Trump and Cruz advocated for the preservation of the constitutional rights of the Americans to own firearms for their defence. Senator Cruz then later claimed that after the gun laws were introduced 12 days after the massacre, sexual assault cases took significant pace as the criminals knew there would be no weapons to threaten them. While Trump and Cruz were putting efforts to ensure Aussie gun laws are not imposed on the US, President Barack Obama and Democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton vouched in favour of it.

The opposing elements have prompted Howard to enter the US gun debate once again and defend his decision that he felt has safeguarded the nation. Howard spoke on CBS News that he took such a tough decision only after seeing the loss of innocent lives because of massive use of weapons. Macro Business Australia stated that after the law was passed in Australia, the frequency of gun-related homicides declined to a major extent.

“It is incontestable that gun-related homicides have fallen quite significantly in Australia, incontestable,” John Howard said. “I mean, if you had 13 mass shootings before Port Arthur and you had none since, isn’t that evidence? And you had a 74 per cent fall in the gun-related suicide rates, isn’t that evidence? Or are we expected to believe that that was all magically going to happen? Come on.”

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