IT should be incomprehensible that, in 2017, we are mourning the senseless loss of life from another mass shooting in the United States.
Sadly, though, it isn’t.
No, instead we are left shaking our heads at how at least 59 people have been killed and more than 500 injured at a country music festival in Las Vegas.
In a country with a sordid history when it comes to gun control, this act of terrorism was the largest mass shooting in its history.
One would hope that this latest, shocking act would spark a crackdown on gun laws in the US but if there no action after the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012, when 20 school children were gunned down, there would seem little hope this time around.
There’s no doubt criminals will always be able to obtain guns, particularly in the US which is home to 300 million firearms, but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a push for tougher restrictions on gun ownership in a country which seems beholden to the National Rifle Association.
Since 1970, more Americans have died from guns, including suicides, murders and accidents, than the sum total of all the Americans who died in all the wars in American history, back to the American Revolution. Every day, more than 90 Americans die from guns, and American kids are 14 times as likely to die from guns as children in other developed countries.
When Australia suffered a mass shooting at Port Arthur in 1996, the country united behind John Howard’s push for tougher laws on firearms. As a result, we saw the gun homicide rate almost halved, and the gun suicide rate dropping by half.
There was a level of anger in the Border community when Bungowannah farmer David Dunstan had his guns taken away by police after confronting an intruder on his property. Let’s be really clear, Mr Dunstan did not point the unloaded 0.22 rifle at the intruder, who was armed with a knife and a piece of wood, he used it as a prop.
The Border Mail, along with Deputy Premier John Barilaro, has been sympathetic to Mr Dunstan’s situation, which has sparked a review of home defence laws in NSW.
We recognise there is a vast difference between a farmer owning a gun for pest control purposes and the Second Amendment in the US, which provides American citizens the “right to bear arms”.
Police were just doing their job when they seized Mr Dunstan’s firearms. While the Border farmer and many of his contemporaries in the area are no doubt feeling a level of frustration at that, it’s worth pausing for a moment to reflect on how lucky we are to live in a country with tight gun controls.