Calling the Second Amendment “perplexing,” former Australian Prime Minister John Howard briefly discussed how the United States ought to respond in the wake of the mass killing in Orlando, Florida.
“I would never presume to lecture another country…[but] I hope out of this horrible event that there is that [gun] debate, but I also respect the fact that America is different from Australia,” said Howard, in an interview with CNBC “Squawk Box,” on Tuesday from the annual JPMorgan Global China Summit in Beijing.
“When something like this happens, the most important thing is to call it as it is. Obviously the ready availability of weapons is a big issue, obviously Islamic fanaticism is a big issue…[and] the intolerance of those against different lifestyles.”
Howard was prime minister during the great Australian gun ban, when in 1996, following the mass killing at Port Arthur, Tasmania, he pushed a nationwide mandatory “buy back” for all automatic and semi-automatic firearms.
Since then, Howard’s template for unilateral civil disarmament has become the gold standard for gun control advocates, including Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton who said at a Town Hall meeting in New Hampshire last year that the Australia model “would be worth considering doing it on the national level, if that could be arranged.”
The sweeping prohibition has been hotly debated over the years. Gun-control advocates argue that it’s led to a reduction in mass shootings. Meanwhile, gun-rights advocates point out that the government has really done nothing but made the country a nation of defenseless victims (see video below).