Culture

Senator Leyonhjelm Says The Sydney Siege Might Not Have Happened If We All Had Guns; Everyone Gets Mad

Best way to stop gun violence? Give EVERYONE a gun!

Oooh, boy. Liberal Democratic Senator David Leyonhjelm is not the golden-haired boy today, and with good reason. The Sydney siege tragedy brought out the best in pretty much everyone save Rupert Murdoch and the Daily Telegraph, but it’s only taken a couple of days for Leyonhjelm to slap his “we all need guns for Freedom” agenda all over the aftermath.

The Liberal Democrats, the party to which Leyonhjelm belongs, is fiercely libertarian, part of which entails advocating an American-style approach to gun laws by winding back restrictions and making it legal for anyone with a gun licence to just carry one around. Leyonhjelm told the ABC’s AM program this morning that the Lindt cafe siege might not have turned out the way it did if more relaxed gun possession laws had seen some of the cafe’s innocent patrons armed.

“What happened in that cafe would have been most unlikely to have occurred in Florida, or Texas, or Vermont, or Alaska in America, or perhaps even Switzerland as well. That nutcase who held them all hostage wouldn’t have known that they were armed; bad guys don’t like to be shot back at,” Leyonhjelm said.

“It would’ve been illegal for them to have had a knife, a stick, a pepper spray, a personal taser, mace, anything like that for self-defence, and I regard that as an absolute travesty. To turn an entire population into a nation of victims is just unforgivable in my estimation. We’ve got tougher laws; they were introduced by the government just in the last few months. They did nothing to prevent this bloke committing an evil act in the name of Islamism. They didn’t prevent him from getting a gun. It’s just not acceptable that we are all disarmed victims.”

The idea that people dying courtesy of a man with a gun means we should give more people guns just isn’t borne out by the facts; Tuesday’s shooting was an extremely rare event in this lucky country of ours. Gun deaths dropped off dramatically after John Howard introduced stricter gun control laws following the 1996 Port Arthur massacre, and have been falling ever since.

Over 500 Australians died from gun violence in 1996, and less than 200 did in 2011. The eighteen years since John Howard passed those laws have seen almost no mass shootings of innocent people at all; there was one in Adelaide in 2011, and another at Monash University in 2002, but overall Australia has been almost completely free of the horrific — and frequent — massacres so common to places like the US.

Needless to say, a lot of people aren’t very impressed with the Senator.

As he’s shown abundantly on Twitter since this morning, Leyonhjelm has as little time for the haters as he does for the facts when they conflict with his desire to shoot stuff.

Leyonhjelm’s not the only Australian to call for relaxed gun laws since the siege, but he’s damn close. The only other vaguely prominent figure (and I use the term “prominent” veeeery loosely here) is former Ashfield Deputy Mayor turned FOX News shill Nick Adams, who FOX propped up like a big grinning mannequin to plaster its hideous “guns are awesome” agenda all over a national tragedy like the stellar human beings they are.

According to the creepily cheery host, Adams is the “youngest ever Deputy Mayor” in Australia’s history, which is simultaneously impressive in a winning-a-Year-Four-spelling-bee kind of way and, like, in no way a qualification to talk about a nation’s gun laws with anything resembling authority. Considering this guy once tried to kill all of Sydney’s pigeons to stop bird flu and legitimately refers to himself as “the American boomerang”, a very faint upside to this whole dreadful mess is that we’ve all got someone to collectively laugh at when Joe Hockey finally gives up and stows away to a new life in the hold of a cruise ship.