Australian Gun Control Activists Propose Boycott Of U.S.

As we struggle to wrap our collective heads around yet another mass shooting here in the U.S. — after the tragedy in Oregon — we're not alone in wondering what can be done to prevent them. President Obama raised the examples of successful gun control legislation in the U.K. and Australia during his speech this week. Some Australians agree we should follow their lead — or face the consequences. This wasn't the first time Australia in particular has been discussed as a model. In response to a mass shooting in 1996, the country's parliament passed a major reform of its gun laws. The National Firearms Agreement banned all "semi-automatic, self-loading, and pump-action longarms" and resulted in the surrender of more than 660,000 weapons. Studies showed that the rate of death by firearm fell by 50% after the laws went into effect, though not everyone agrees on whether that's due to the NFA or an already dropping homicide and suicide rate. In this country, the Second Amendment and a vastly decentralized government prevent us from getting anywhere close to the level of gun control Australia and other countries have achieved, but on Australia's Today Show, ThinkProgress reports that Gun Control Australia director Samantha Lee proposed something rather drastic to spur American legislators into action. She said that Australians should boycott all non-essential visits to the United States until we do something about gun violence. "I believe we have a duty to respond to this tragedy in the U.S.," she said. In 2014, 1.2 million Australians visited the country (not 2.1 million, as Lee stated in her interview) according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, so that could make a bit of a blip on the economy. It would be much bigger, however, if other countries started doing the same. Last year, international visitors spent about $220 billion in the U.S. That's a bit more than the $31 million the gun lobby gave to Republicans in 2013 and '14, according to the Boston Globe.

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