What Should We Do About Guns?


Would stricter gun laws reduce gun violence? Could gun control measures in places like Australia work in America? Nicholas Johnson, professor of Law at Fordham University, explains.
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The next time you hear a politician call for “common sense gun control,” listen for the details.

You are likely to be treated to a torrent of platitudes about assault weapons, gun show sales and other half-measures.

These sorts of proposals are rooted in a theory of gun control that has been around since the 1960s. The basic idea is that fewer guns equal less gun crime.

But for this theory to have even a chance of working, drastic reductions in the supply of guns will be necessary. Everything else amounts to security theatre.

The late Senator Howard Metzenbaum, a strong gun control advocate, explained it this way: “If you don’t ban all guns you might as well ban none of them.”

But few, if any, politicians who call for “common sense gun control” have the courage to propose this.

Even putting aside the issue of the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which affirms the right to keep and bear arms, a gun ban has no broad popular support. Never mind the conservative states, handgun ban referendums failed in two of our most liberal states — Massachusetts in 1976 and California in 1982 – by large margins. No serious attempts have been made since then.

Recently Australia’s gun control efforts have gained new prominence as a possible model for the United States to follow.

Let’s take a closer look at Australia.

In 1996, after a lunatic used a semiautomatic rifle to murder 34 people in Tasmania, the Australian government banned all semi-automatic rifles and repeating shotguns.

Owners of roughly 700,000 registered firearms – about a quarter of the country’s three million total guns – were required to turn them in for destruction. The government called this a “buyback,” but in fact no one had a choice.

As my research shows, this model will not work in the United States for the simple reason that the US has roughly 325 million guns. This is orders of magnitude more than any other country. Even if the Australian plan were tried in the US and worked to perfection, we’d still be left with over 200 million guns, including handguns which account for nearly 80 percent of gun crime.

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  1. Chrystal E

    The Australian plan will never work in the US or Israel, neither of these countries are islands and the US is the waning superpower and Israel is the rising superpower, both will need their guns as the evil in the world seeks to destroy them both to take over the planet.

  2. Daniel Fernihough

    Being an Australian, I can see how gun bans worked in Australia. Before the bans, fully and semi automatic weapons were fairly uncommon and only a small portion of the population owned them. It was fairly easy to control and in force especially given Australia's tiny population size. If you want to own a gun in Australia, you're mostly restricted to bolt action rifles with a limited caliber, and you must apply for a gun licence before owning a firearm.
    The United States situation is completely different, and removal of firearms in the same method is totally absurd.
    Find a different method and stop bringing Australia into your arguments

  3. Miles Jolly

    Good video and I agree with the points raised but the guy's delivery just seemed a little robotic.

  4. Astilacien

    France Doesn't allow guns highest gun crimes . USA allows guns one of the lowest gun crimes for the population

  5. Dan

    Does anybody remember that Californian anti gun politician that is being sent to jail for illegal arms sales?

  6. uNkowN

    What Should we do about guns? Well, we can't ban them because it would only bring more illegal firearms into the country. Banning will not make guns go away. People even suggest physiological background checks… like nobody has ever gone crazy before right. So harsher restrictions? Tell me with why would I spend all the time going through the background checks and getting the permits when I can sit at my house and print a lethal gun? A typical criminal with any sane mind is not going to use a gun purchased at a dicks sporting goods store or a Cabela's in their crimes. They use illegal firearms with the serial number filed off so the only way to track it is through a paper trail. The bigger problem is illegal firearms. So are solution is what to make legal weapons harder to get? Yeah, like that is going to halt the illegal gun trade in its tracks. So what should we do about guns? Since there is really no way to fully eradicate illegal firearms in the country I would make legal firearms easier to get. People should have easy access to protection.

  7. Vishwanath K R

    Christian lobby at its perversive best

  8. simon lewis

    the government should really pull back on gun sales and manufacturing because in the end, assault rifles and most other gun except for hunting rifles are used to kill people. Perhaps a better question then what should do about guns or is owning a dun my right is why does the american people want to kill each other so Bad?

  9. madison chapman

    They made cocaine illegal….. Yet people still have it. Criminals will always be criminals. You take guns from good people, bad people will still have them.

  10. gunniesack

    If you outlaw guns only outlaws will have guns. It is currently it illegal to walk into a bank with a gun but some people do it.

  11. Hugues Jouffrai

    Why not let people own guns but restrict the rights to carry them? That's what happens in Switzerland and it works quite well (even though the socio economic situation is different)

  12. Marcus Carlsson

    Just be like Britain.

  13. David Foley

    Love this video!!!

  14. White Coyote

    Less guns will mean less gun related violence, but this does not factor in foreign elements and containments. This vacuum will only create a vast market ready to be tapped by those who has the means.

  15. doomblackdragon

    only reason he government wants to ban guns. So they can create a dictatorship. Any politiantion the advocates a gun ban should be put in jail for treason.

  16. Charlie S

    You wanna ban guns? Law enforcement should be the first ones to turn em in.

  17. Gunalizer

    Good gun control is hitting your target center of mass. I got the gun I got control. #2A

  18. Dan Abnormal

    Hey, I wanna shoot up my school. Can I have a gun now? I don't really have a background of violence, I haven't acted impulses before, so I can probably get through the background checks.

  19. Bilal Boss

    i want a gun, but what should 'i' do about it

  20. judy li

    The problem with the Australian plan is they dont ban all guns.

  21. dhunley1

    I have the same stance on gun control as Clint Eastwood.

    "I have a very strict gun control policy: if there's a gun around, I want to be in control of it."

  22. lasse Dufving

    I think you are right, removing the guns truly would be impossible, but I think it would be best tor try to change the attitude towards guns

  23. Unerring 01

    Mass produce American firearms and use subliminal advertizing to boost the economy, then use those guns to kill everyone.

  24. cross

    Practice, practice, practice. If you can hit a pie plate at 300 yards that's good enough.

  25. Edward Leal

    I like guns and guns like me. I like guns, they made America free. I like guns and guns are the way. I like guns? Weapons Weapons Weapons! DI

  26. Randy Johnson

    It can't be said in more simple terms than that

  27. Greg B

    Law-abiding citizens should have the right to be as well-armed as the local police.

  28. Greg B

    To try to stop misuse of guns by criminals by taking guns away from law-abiding citizens is as stupid as trying to stop drunk driving by taking cars away from sober people.

  29. Jose Cadena

    Liberal here: trust me, must of us opposed gun safety laws. Is just a few. I support free Healthcare, free college, pro choice, and for gun rights. ✌

  30. Ariel Ace

    Lel didn't even give statistics on Australia

  31. Cabbage

    I love guns, but I don't love the guy with the $10,000 AR-15 with some stupid ass mods and goes posting on FB with some cholo bandana and don't tread on me flag on the background with 9 other guns. Billy badass makes gun owners look stupid.