Editorial: Don't falter on gun laws

from page 18 of The Mercury, May 10, 1996

[no by-line]

  Just what stupid game are some interstate politicians playing?
  Are some of them already preparing to dishonour the memory of the 35 who were massacred at Port Arthur?
  Do they believe that people have such short memories that they will allow them to go to water on gun law reforms? Not just to have tougher gun laws, but the toughest possible.
  Are they so craven, so forgetful or unmindful of their obligations to the marjority, that they are already preparing to bow the knee to the vocal pro-gun lobby and its associated hangers-on?
  Those politicians who are already preparing their excuses for failing the community, for delivering gun law reforms which drop pathetically below public expectations, whould think on thing. And one thing only.
  They should not think of the pro-gun lobby and demands from some members of the rural community that they require semi-automatic weapons of any calibre. Instead they should focus their minds on one paramount issue -- 35.
  If they do this, it should shock them back into the real world.
  Instead of thinking about the compensation costs of a gun buy-back scheme -- which could be funded by a special levy -- they should think about the potential cost in lost livees that rifles and shotguns represent.
  Instead of thinking about the reasons offered by members of the pro-gun lobby for the continued use and availability of some semi-automatic firearms, they should think about the general community, where the majority probably cannot understand why there should by any privately owned rifles and shotguns.
  It is undoubtably true that many people who own firearms feel that they are being persecuted unfairly and are facing what they believe are unduly harsh restrictions.
  Another truth is, however, that many in the community do not believe the restrictions -- even the toughest-case scenario proposed by Prime Minister John Howard and supported by the Tasmanian Parliament -- go far enough.
  The more the pro-gun lobby complains, the more likely it is that those who oppse them will increase the pressure on politicians.
  In the recent past, the pro-gun lobby made statements and demands which were allowed too often to go unquestioned and unchallenged.
  Port Arthur has changed that -- forever.
  The pro-gun lobby, and those politicians who listen to it and believe it, would be wise to understand the extent of that change.
  Some politicians have demonstrated the wisdom which the pro-gun lobby needs to acquire.
  They are already discussing other aspects of our society which could help foster violence, of which firearms are an obvious manifestation.
  If the pro-gun lobby does not bed to the changes being demanded then it will risk being broken.
  There are many in the community who would believe that this would be no bad thing.

[no image]

[ Geniacs Humble Abode | Contact ]
Last Updated: 8pm, Saturday, April 4, 1998