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VP Harris: Follow Australia’s example, confiscate American’s guns

By CM Chaney · October 27, 2023

In brief…

  • Kamala Harris praised Australia's strict gun control laws in a speech on Thursday.
  • Laws include a ban on semi-automatic weapons and mandatory gun buyback program in the 1990s.
  • Remarks came after mass shooting in Maine killed 18 on Wednesday.
  • Harris said Australia shows mass shootings don't have to be a regular occurrence.
After a mass shooting in Maine, Vice President Kamala Harris (above) applauded Australia's strict gun control measures that include a ban on semi-automatic weapons and mandatory buyback program.  Lawrence Jackson / Wikimedia

During a speech on Thursday, Vice President Kamala Harris praised Australia’s strict gun control laws, which include a ban on automatic and semi-automatic firearms and a mandatory buyback program that removed nearly 700,000 privately-owned firearms from circulation in the 1990s.

“In our country today, the leading cause of death of American children is gun violence. Gun violence has terrorized and traumatized so many of our communities in the United States,” Harris said. “And let us be clear, it does not have to be this way – as our friends in Australia have demonstrated.”

Unlike in the U.S., Australian citizens do not have a legal right to gun ownership. Gun owners must have a license, and each firearm must be individually registered. Self-defense is not considered a valid reason to own a gun.

Harris’ remarks came after a mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine on Wednesday evening left at least 18 dead and more than a dozen injured. The suspect, Robert Card, remains at large as hundreds of law enforcement personnel continue to search for him.

Card, who has a history of mental health issues, is a trained firearms instructor and Army Reserve petroleum supply specialist. The shooting took place at a bowling alley before moving to a nearby restaurant.

Harris delivered her speech at a State Department luncheon with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. She said the Australian response to past mass shootings proves these incidents don’t have to be a regular occurrence.

Former Australian P.M. John Howard credited the 1996 gun reforms with reducing both gun-related homicides and suicides. Since the reforms, Australia has avoided mass shootings on the scale of the 1996 Port Arthur massacre that helped spur the crackdown.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Harris’ remarks.