Obama's wink and nod on gun confiscation

President Obama couldn’t be more eager to change the subject of national news discussion away from the catastrophic failure of his Middle East foreign policy.  So the shooting in Roseburg, OR offered an opportunity to gin up his base and refocus his domestic opponents on playing defense against gun control.

By framing his goal as the extremely vague phrase “commonsense gun control legislation,” he avoids specifics.  And in fact, nobody on his team has yet come up with a concrete suggestion that would have saved the lives of the Oregon junior college students and faculty.  That is by design, since the entire point is not to accomplish anything positive, but rather to refocus the subject of political debate.

Nevertheless, in his October 1 statement just a few hours after the incident and before the killer’s name was known, he offered a wink and nod toward those who want to confiscate firearms:

We know other countries in response to one mass shooting have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours, Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours. So we know there are ways to prevent it.

Australia, a continent-sized country like ours with many rural residents who hunt, actually confiscated a large share of its privately held firearms in 1996.  And there is already a media chorus urging America to follow in its wake.  Mark Antonio Wright in NRO:

In the last 24 hours, New York magazine, CNN, and NBC have also sung the virtues of the Australian model. But the Australian 1996 National Agreement on Firearms was not a benign set of commonsense gun-control rules: It was a gun-confiscation program rushed through the Australian parliament just twelve days after a 28-year-old man killed 35 people with a semi-automatic rifle in the Tasmanian city of Port Arthur. The Council of Foreign relations summarizes the Aussie measure nicely:

The National Agreement on Firearms all but prohibited automatic and semiautomatic assault rifles, stiffened licensing and ownership rules, and instituted a temporary gun buyback program that took some 650,000 assault weapons (about one-sixth of the national stock) out of public circulation. Among other things, the law also required licensees to demonstrate a “genuine need” for a particular type of gun and take a firearm safety course.

So how has it worked out?  As Wright notes in a lengthy analysis, trends previously in place in Australia continued.  There was no dramatic change in rates of suicide or violent crime.

But what about the madmen, the ruthless people who must be kept away from firearms?  Consider this from the Sydney Daily Telegraph yesterday (hat tip: John McMahon):

Parramatta shooting: Multiple shots fired outside police HQ on Charles Street

  • Victim identified as Curtis Cheng — father of two and 17-year veteran of the police force who worked in finance
  • 15-year-old gunman of Iraqi-Kurdish background and born in Iran
  • Had visited Parramatta Mosque before shooting rampage
  • NSW Police commissioner Andrew Scipione: Attack was ‘politically motivated and therefore linked to terrorism’
  • NSW Premier Mike Baird: ‘This tragedy will echo around the world’

THE gunman who shot dead a police staffer was a 15-year-old who had visited Parramatta Mosque on his way to commit murder.

The teenager, a naturalised Australian of Iraqi-Kurdish background who arrived with his family from Iran, had walked to the police headquarters in Charles Street from his home in north Parramatta before opening fire on a civilian police employee.

The victim was identified as Curtis Cheng, a 17-year veteran of the police finance department, Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said today.

Mr Cheng — a father-of-two, of a son and a daughter — was shot in point blank range by the teen as he left work yesterday just after 4.30pm.

So how’s that gun confiscation policy working out to prevent violence at the hands of madmen?  Or Islamists?

President Obama couldn’t be more eager to change the subject of national news discussion away from the catastrophic failure of his Middle East foreign policy.  So the shooting in Roseburg, OR offered an opportunity to gin up his base and refocus his domestic opponents on playing defense against gun control.

By framing his goal as the extremely vague phrase “commonsense gun control legislation,” he avoids specifics.  And in fact, nobody on his team has yet come up with a concrete suggestion that would have saved the lives of the Oregon junior college students and faculty.  That is by design, since the entire point is not to accomplish anything positive, but rather to refocus the subject of political debate.

Nevertheless, in his October 1 statement just a few hours after the incident and before the killer’s name was known, he offered a wink and nod toward those who want to confiscate firearms:

We know other countries in response to one mass shooting have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours, Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours. So we know there are ways to prevent it.

Australia, a continent-sized country like ours with many rural residents who hunt, actually confiscated a large share of its privately held firearms in 1996.  And there is already a media chorus urging America to follow in its wake.  Mark Antonio Wright in NRO:

In the last 24 hours, New York magazine, CNN, and NBC have also sung the virtues of the Australian model. But the Australian 1996 National Agreement on Firearms was not a benign set of commonsense gun-control rules: It was a gun-confiscation program rushed through the Australian parliament just twelve days after a 28-year-old man killed 35 people with a semi-automatic rifle in the Tasmanian city of Port Arthur. The Council of Foreign relations summarizes the Aussie measure nicely:

The National Agreement on Firearms all but prohibited automatic and semiautomatic assault rifles, stiffened licensing and ownership rules, and instituted a temporary gun buyback program that took some 650,000 assault weapons (about one-sixth of the national stock) out of public circulation. Among other things, the law also required licensees to demonstrate a “genuine need” for a particular type of gun and take a firearm safety course.

So how has it worked out?  As Wright notes in a lengthy analysis, trends previously in place in Australia continued.  There was no dramatic change in rates of suicide or violent crime.

But what about the madmen, the ruthless people who must be kept away from firearms?  Consider this from the Sydney Daily Telegraph yesterday (hat tip: John McMahon):

Parramatta shooting: Multiple shots fired outside police HQ on Charles Street

  • Victim identified as Curtis Cheng — father of two and 17-year veteran of the police force who worked in finance
  • 15-year-old gunman of Iraqi-Kurdish background and born in Iran
  • Had visited Parramatta Mosque before shooting rampage
  • NSW Police commissioner Andrew Scipione: Attack was ‘politically motivated and therefore linked to terrorism’
  • NSW Premier Mike Baird: ‘This tragedy will echo around the world’

THE gunman who shot dead a police staffer was a 15-year-old who had visited Parramatta Mosque on his way to commit murder.

The teenager, a naturalised Australian of Iraqi-Kurdish background who arrived with his family from Iran, had walked to the police headquarters in Charles Street from his home in north Parramatta before opening fire on a civilian police employee.

The victim was identified as Curtis Cheng, a 17-year veteran of the police finance department, Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said today.

Mr Cheng — a father-of-two, of a son and a daughter — was shot in point blank range by the teen as he left work yesterday just after 4.30pm.

So how’s that gun confiscation policy working out to prevent violence at the hands of madmen?  Or Islamists?