Fresh on the heels of the tragedy at Martin Place, libertarian Senator Leyonhjelm has jumped on the bandwagon with his ideas about gun control. He’s a politician and so, like Tony Abbott, can’t resist the opportunity to get some media attention for some of his half-baked views.
On the surface, he looks like a social progressive supporting gay marriage, decriminalisation of marijuana and assisted suicide. He and his party are also opposed to foreign aid and gun control.
What lies at the heart of this is a philosophy that believes in limiting the role of government in regulating the lives of individuals. It’s about being pro-choice. It’s not about being socially progressive.
In the wake of the tragedy of Martin Place, he has trotted out old the mantra of the National Rifle Association “The only way to stop the bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.”
This is absolute nonsense on a number of counts.
There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that the good guys with guns have done anything to stop the bad guys with guns in America where death rates from firearm homicides are amongst the highest in the world.
He ignores the difficulties in working out who the good guys are when you start handing out gun licences. Of course, we could get everyone who applies for a gun licence to tick a box:
That should do the trick.
Leyonhjelm argues that if someone in the Lindt Cafe had a gun, they would have been able to shoot gunman Man Haron Monis. In Leyonhjelm’s brave new world, everybody would carry a gun to protect themselves. So here’s how the Lindt Cafe scenario would have played out.
A gunmen (a bad guy) walks into the cafe, which is full of good guys with guns. He produces a gun and points it at a group of customers. One of the customers (a good guy) then pulls out his gun and fires at the gunmen. Unfortunately, he miss and hits one of the customers who are sitting behind the gunmen and who cannot see that gunman (the bad guy) is carrying a gun.
What they can see is the customer who has fired at the gunmen and hit one of the other customers (also a good guy). The partner of the wounded customer pulls out a gun and returns fire. Within seconds, all the good guys are firing at each other and the cafe is ablaze with gunfire.