Americans delude themselves into thinking we are the world’s moral authority, but in times like these, it might be a good idea to listen to rest of the world. An Australian gun control group is calling for an international boycott of non-essential travel to the United States, as well as other measures designed to aid President Obama’s attempts to promote stronger gun control laws in the wake of the recent mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon.
Samantha Lee, director of Gun Control Australia, delivered the message in an interview with Australia’s Today Show.
“We have 2.1 million Australians visiting the U.S. every year and over 200,000 expats in America. So I believe we have a duty to respond to this tragedy in the U.S. And the way to do this is have a boycott of non-essential travel to the U.S.”
In addition to stopping travel to the U.S., Lee stated the importance of not allowing the U.S. gun lobby to influence Australian politics. “In Australia, we need to be cautious that we also don’t take any donations from the firearms industry, and we need to raise this issue with the U.S.”
After the tragic shooting in Oregon that left 10 people dead, President Obama made an impassioned plea to take action against the seemingly endless string of mass shootings that have plagued the country. In his speech, he made special reference to Australia, a country that introduced significant gun reform after a mass shooting in 1996, and has not had a single mass shooting since. Many look to Australia as something like a role model when it comes to sensible reactions to such devastating tragedies.
For these reasons, Lee, and Gun Control Australia, believe that Australia should lead the way in pressuring the U.S. to institute reforms. She calls for an international effort to curb the senseless killings that some consider a mere fact of life in America.
“I believe America has reached an abyss, and we really do need to act as an international community to assist Obama to push these laws through Congress.
Lee also emphasized that what prevents gun reform in the U.S. is primarily the massive lobbying efforts of the NRA and other gun advocates, who have a “cozy relationship” with the Republican Party. House Speaker John Boehner and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell are among the leading recipients of pro-gun contributions.
Although some conservatives may feel that such incidents are inevitable, just “stuff” that “happens,” Australia is an example that progressive gun reform can save lives. Nevertheless, right-wing gun-nuts are once again spreading fear and lies. In a recent segment on Fox News, co-host Clayton Morris stated: “They have no gun violence, they don’t have guns, citizens aren’t allowed to have guns.” In reality, millions of Australians own guns.
Morris went on to say that Australians “also have no freedom!” This kind of fear-mongering in the wake of so many killings is inexcusable. If we want to talk about freedom, then we should really talk about the freedom for children and adults to go to school and to work without fear that a person with a firearm can commit an act like the recent one in Oregon.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.