During a discussion on Fox and Friends, Tucker Carlson shot back at the suggestion that Australia has no gun violence due to strict gun control laws. The Fox News host brought up the issue of personal freedom instead, suggesting that Australia has no freedom and that people in Australia can go to jail just for having unpopular opinions.
The issue of gun control is in the news again thanks to the tragic school shooting in Oregon last week that left a number of students dead and others gravely injured. One student, Chris Mintz, attempted to stop the gunman, but the Army vet was not armed, and he was shot seven times for his efforts.
On Fox and Friends, Donald Trump suggested that the solution to school shootings like the one in Oregon is to get rid of gun free zones, rather than enact tougher gun control laws.
“That was a gun free zone in Oregon, where they had no guns allowed, no nothing, so the only one that had a gun was the bad guy, and there was nothing they could do,” Trump told Fox and Friends. “Wouldn’t they have been better off if someone in the room, anybody, had a gun to at least help them out?”
Trump also called students in gun free zones “sitting ducks.”
Fox News host Tucker Carlson agreed with Trump, saying that the presidential hopeful made a “rational point.”
“When you have a drunk driving accident, you don’t ban cars,” Carlson said. “You try to prevent drunk people from driving them.”
Carlson also called the focus on gun control “insane and childish.”
When fellow host Clayton Morris pointed out the argument that countries like Australia have very strict gun controls and almost no gun violence, Carlson interrupted him.
“They also have no freedom,” Carlson argued. “You can go to prison for expressing unpopular views in Australia, and people do.”
Carlson also made the assertion that people in Western Europe and Canada can also go to prison for expressing unpopular ideas.
The Guardian reports that Tucker Carlson was probably referring to a specific section of something called the Racial Discrimination Act, which is a law in Australia that is intended to prevent “racial vilification.”
According to the Guardian, section 18C of the RDA was used to prosecute journalist Andrew Bolt in 2011. Bolt had written that “fair-skinned Aborigines” identified as Aborigines for personal gain, and an Australian federal court found that he had violated section 18C of the RDA.
Bolt was found guilty, but he didn’t actually go to prison. The Guardian reports that Bolt’s publisher was ordered to pay the court costs of the claimants and publish a correction. However, Bolt was not convicted of a crime or sentenced to jail time.
Tucker Carlson also argued that, “We have a Bill of Rights.” The implication being that Australia doesn’t have a Bill of Rights, so it isn’t possible to compare the issues of gun control and freedom of speech in that country with the same issues in the United States.
The Daily Mail spoke to Gun Control Australia chairwoman Sam Lee, who disagreed with the suggestion that lacking a Bill of Rights impacts freedom in Australia.
“The freedom in Australia comes from our democratic process, which allows citizens to vote in a government that supports gun regulation,” Lee told the Daily Mail. “Tough gun regulation has resulted in Australian’s being freed from fear of gun violence in a way never thought possible with a 60 per cent reduction in gun homicides, no gun massacre since 1996 and 700,000 high powered rifles being taken off the streets.”
According to the Daily Mail, the strict gun control laws in Australia haven’t actually done as much to prevent gun ownership as Tucker Carlson suggests. Some 631,000 guns were destroyed in Australia as part of former Prime Minister John Howard’s buy-back program, but the Daily Mail reports that there are now just as many guns in the country as there were prior to the enactment of that program.
Do you think that Fox News host Tucker Carlson is right about how Australia has no freedom due to their strict gun control and anti-hate speech laws?
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