Leyonhjelm’s views on guns based on feeling, not fact

Margaret Morgan writes: Re. “Rundle: sigh, Leyonhjelm a right-wing gun nut after all” (December 19).The Senator also recently tweeted, “Switzerland — more guns per head than USA. Lower gun deaths per head than Australia. Explain that hoplophobes.”

Perhaps it has something to do with the majority of those guns being issued by the government, as part of military service. These gun owners are trained in their use by the army. If Switzerland has a system we should adopt, are we also to bring in compulsory national service so that people with guns could be trained in their use? Or perhaps we could simply have the government pay for everyone’s training? Somehow I suspect that that might be contrary to the libertarian, small-government agenda of the LDP.

It is disingenuous to merely cite guns per capita, without also looking at distribution. According to a 2007 study in the US, around 43% of households had firearms of some sort, while in Switzerland, around 29% did. Proportionally, far fewer people in Switzerland have access to firearms, which is crucial in relation to gun deaths. In 2007, the Swiss government changed the laws in relation to ammunition, and soldiers were no longer allowed to keep ammunition at home and ammunition previously distributed needed to be handed in. By 2011, 99% of the ammunition had been returned.

So, lots of guns, yes. Ammunition? Not so much. That is rather significant when looking at gun deaths, I’d have thought.

Ken Lambert writes: Steady on Guy … not all of us right wingers always disappoint. Have to agree that David Leyonhjelm seemed the pick of the bunch of Senate cross benchers until this spectacularly stupid utterance. The idea of teachers in classrooms, baristas in coffee shops and members of the public on buses conducting gunfights successfully against armed criminals and crazies is seriously out of the “B” movies. The timing after Martin Place should put the good Senator into the Lambie cage for the feeble minded.

On Abbott’s cabinet reshuffle

Rod Hagen writes: Re. “Abbott reshuffles to ‘reset and refocus’” (December 21). With the exception of Sussan Ley and Josh Frydenberg, the reshuffle is a great demonstration of just how shallow the talent pool is in the Abbott government and just how bound by Liberal Party factionalism Abbott is if he wants to survive a few more months as PM. Not a good story for forthcoming effective Australian government, I’m afraid.

Peter Fray

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