Whenever Americans’ right to keep and bear arms is questioned, as is happening after the Parkland, Florida atrocity, Australia is invariably paraded as an example of effective gun regulation. Thus decidedly-left-of-centre cable channel MSNBC seeks advice from a well-connected, knowledgable and uber-intelligent Aussie. (TRIGGER WARNING!: extreme condescension and inanity might dismay some readers.)
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, asked to summarise Australia’s gun buyback scheme, can’t make it through his first sentence without delivering a clanger.
Well when my predecessor, a conservative, John Howard enacted legislation to ban all automatic and semi-automatic weapons from sale in Australia and from importation to Australia he had national consensus behind him.
Automatic weapons were already banned in Australia.
I think if you want to arrest the rate of mass shootings you’ve got to do something directly about automatic and semi-automatic weapons.
As of 1934 the US government required a special licence for automatic weapons, such weapons effectively prohibited after 1986. Rudd then spouts his opinions on US constitutional law:
I cannot see how if similar action [a ban on semi-automatic weapons] was taken here that the Supreme Court of this country would say that the right to bear a semi-automatic weapon is going to offend your second amendment rights. I don’t think so.
In response the MSNBC host points out that the Supreme Court, in its Heller decision, overturned a gun ban in Washington DC. Rudd astutely replies:
Well that’s just a nonsense: anti-tank weapons, field artillery, why not just a tactical nuke in terms of the right to bear arms? It’s nonsense.
Rudd, not exactly your typical bush Aussie, harkens back to his rural childhood:
I grew up on a farm in rural Australia. We had lots of wild animals around the place. My father had a single gauge shotgun [sic], which he used infrequently, often using the butt of the rifle [a shotgun isn’t a rifle] rather than the shooting bit.
With Rudd’s father in the habit of clubbing animals to death with the butt of his firearm, it’s surprising Rudd didn’t emerge as a psychopath. Rudd returns to lecturing Americans:
I don’t see how anyone in this country has a legitimate need for one of these pump action machines.
Pump action and semi-automatic are totally different classes of weapons.
I understand the reason for militia. I’m a student of the revolutionary war.
Rudd, whose education concentrated on Chinese studies, continues to pontificate on the American experience:
To think you are now helpless as a nation to change the laws I think is just dead wrong given where the Supreme Court could and should go in the future on any challenge to getting rid of semi-automatic weapons. Can you see the Supreme Court bench standing up there in Washington DC and saying we’re defending the semi-automatic weapons possession of Joe Schlobotnik out there because of your second amendment rights? I don’t thin so.
Rudd returns to his rich Australian experience:
We’re a rural country, we’re a frontier country. My state of Queensland is a rural part of Australia, 2/3 of us live outside cities.
Rudd is spouting nonsense: Queensland government statistics show that the state’s population was, as of 2006, concentrated in urban areas, less than 15% of the population, rather than the 67% claimed, living rurally. For Australia overall, less than 11% of the population lives rurally as of 2015.
A true believer in the leftist notion that there’s no such thing as too much government, Rudd sums up:
Well I think in this country you’ve suffered from half a century of government bashing where basically government equals evil, equals bad and therefore we can’t trust them with anything.This is a deep cancer in this society which you can turn around. But I think there is a bit of a national learned helpless syndrome here in the United States about this.
Nothing is more cancerous than believing that big government is invariably a force for good.