Obama is ramping up the rhetoric on gun control.
He stated in his speech Tuesday outlining his executive orders on gun control: “Contrary to the claims of what some gun rights proponents have suggested, this has not been the first step in some slippery slope to mass confiscation. Contrary to claims of some presidential candidates, apparently before this meeting, this is not a plot to take away everybody’s guns. You pass a background check, you purchase a firearm.”
But people wouldn’t be crazy to believe that Obama does secretly support gun confiscation, because as Breitbart pointed out, Obama has made statements supporting confiscation in the past.
On two occasions in the past two years Obama pointed to Australia as a successful model for gun control – a nation which did undertake a gun confiscation scheme under the guise of a gun buyback.Barack Obama, June 2015:
“When Australia had a mass killing – I think it was in Tasmania – about 25 years ago, it was just so shocking the entire country said ‘well we’re going to completely change our gun laws’, and they did. And it hasn’t happened since.” …
“I don’t foresee any legislative action being taken in this Congress,” he said. “And I don’t foresee any real action until the American public feels a sufficient sense of urgency and they say to themselves, ‘This is not normal, this is something that we can change and we’re going to change it’.”
Obama also lamented the rush of Americans who go and buy firearms after US shootings and the “extremely strong” grip the powerful lobby group the National Rifle Association has on Congress.
As for the truth of his claims, Australia is hardly a successful model for gun control. As Ann Coulter writes on Australia’s gun control:
After the gun ban, gun homicides in Australia did not decline any more than they were expected to without a gun ban.
Thus, for example, according to the Australian Institute of Criminology, the homicide rate has been in steady decline from 1969 to the present, with only one marked uptick in 1998-99 — right after the gun ban was enacted.
The showstopper for anti-gun activists is the fact that suicides by firearm seemed to decrease more than expected after the 1997 gun ban.
But so did suicides by other means. Something other than the gun ban must have caused people to stop guzzling poison and jumping off bridges. (Some speculate that it’s the availability of anti-depressants like Prozac.)
And for the claim that Australia was able to stamp out mass shootings after their gun ban? If we include a control group, not so fast:
New Zealand is strikingly similar to Australia. Both are isolated island nations, demographically and socioeconomically similar. Their mass murder rate before Australia’s gun ban was nearly identical: From 1980 to 1996, Australia’s mass murder rate was 0.0042 incidents per 100,000 people and New Zealand’s was 0.0050 incidents per 100,000 people.
The principal difference is that, post-1997, New Zealand remained armed to the teeth — including with guns that were suddenly banned in Australia.
While it’s true that Australia has had no more mass shootings since its gun ban, neither has New Zealand, despite continuing to be massively armed.
So Obama has in fact previously called for gun confiscation – and the example he cites proves that even that wouldn’t work any better than the gun control executive orders he’s currently defending.
[Note: This post was authored by The Analytical Economist]