Guns, Politics, Logic and Lies
Politics: The 1996 Port Arthur tragedy gave newly elected Prime Minister John Howard the opportunity to exchange a perception of waffling political mediocrity for one of leader with dogged might.
Massaging the wave of national grief, Mr. Howard vowed to make Australians safer with the introduction of new gun control laws. That the Australian Bureau of Statistics had just released a 16-year study on homicide by gun showed a steady decline was ignored—John Howard was an avowed gun hater. That existing laws were obviously sufficient was inconvenient, but one could turn a blind eye to that, and politically motivated, he did.
With his irrational move against all law abiding gun owners in Australia Mr. Howard followed advice from those who knew little of firearms, or, more likely, had personal agendas to remove all firearms.
Ignorance and emotive speech had led to a belief that the words ‘automatic’, ‘fully automatic’, ‘semi-automatic’ connoted evil. Joined with the words ‘weapon’ or ‘assault’ every firearm in Australia was demonised. Even the word ‘gun’ uttered in some circles caused hysteria.
The criminalizing of the largely harmless, for-rabbits-only, .22 calibre semi-automatic rifles—rifles of sentimental value handed down through families for generations was an example of knee-jerk politics.