CNN Lets Ex-Australian PM Push for Gun Ban in U.S.

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Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

Over the weekend, CNN host Pamela Brown again showed a double standard in her treatment of conservative and liberal guests while discussing the issue of gun control as liberal former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd was given a forum to push for a gun ban in the U.S. while Arkansas Republican governor Asa Hutchinson was challenged on his opposition to more gun laws.

On Saturday evening, Brown set up a segment with Rudd by recalling that Australia enacted measures to make guns more difficult to get after an infamous mass murder in 1996:

And with congressional action on gun reform seemingly at a standstill, some Americans are asking if other countries can serve as an example. Next week marks 25 years since Australia's Port Arthur Massacre, a massacre that killed 35 people. Afterwards, automatic and semi-automatic rifles were banned in Australia. They enacted a national registry and a 28-day waiting period for all gun purchases.

She added:

And 653,000 firearms were taken out of circulation. Gun deaths in the country plummeted, and today mass shootings there are nearly nonexistent. Compare that to America -- the gun capital of the world -- where last year there were 12 gun deaths per 100,000 people -- more than 14 times that of Australia.

But right-leaning crime researcher John Lott has pointed out that violent crime was already dropping before the gun ban was enacted, and that armed robbery actually increased right after the ban although it dropped later.

Without informing viewers that Rudd is ideologically liberal, Brown invited him to make recommendations about what the U.S. might do, noting that the Second Amendment would limit how much could be done to restrict gun ownership. Rudd eventually talked up the possibility of banning semi-automatic weapons:

It doesn't mean you have a right to bear any form of arms. If you take it literally, does that mean the right to bear arms says you should be able to have your own field howitzer in the backyard? That you should have the ability to have an anti-tank weapon to run your own drones that are armed? Of course not. So having a single-action shotgun is one thing -- having a semi-automatic or automatic weaponry which can kill dozens of people in seconds, that's something else,

Rudd went on to praise the gun control measures proposed by President Joe Biden. About 24 hours later, Brown spoke with Governor Hutchinson. After starting by asking him why he chose to veto a bill that would forbid the enforcement of new federal gun laws, Brown followed up by pressing him on why he does not support more background checks:

I want to talk a little bit more about the background checks specifically. You are saying you don't believe it could make a difference, but if it could make a little bit of a difference to cut down on mass shootings, if it could keep a gun from ending up in a criminal's hands, wouldn't that be worth it? I mean, 89 percent of guns obtained for criminal purposes were acquired from unlicensed sellers, according to Giffords Law Center. As you know, that's what this bill is trying to close -- that loophole where there would still have to be a background check. And the public widely supports this. So why wouldn't you support something that the public supports that could keep guns out of the hands of criminals?

By contrast, Brown did not confront any of her liberal guests either this week or last week with any studies to suggest their arguments were incorrect.

Before technical difficulties led her to cut the segment short, the CNN host started to bring up relatively high gun-related homicide statistics in Arkansas compared to states with stricter gun laws.

This week's double standard favoring liberals on CNN is sponsored in part by Kay Jewelers. Their contact information is linked.

Transcripts follow.

CNN Newsroom with Pamela Brown

April 24, 2021

8:29 p.m. Eastern

PAMELA BROWN: Well, now, to America's other pandemic, and that would be the never-ending cycle of gun violence. There have been 157 mass shootings in the U.S. just this year in 2021. And with congressional action on gun reform seemingly at a standstill, some Americans are asking if other countries can serve as an example. Next week marks 25 years since Australia's Port Arthur Massacre, a massacre that killed 35 people. Afterwards, automatic and semi-automatic rifles were banned in Australia. They enacted a national registry and a 28-day waiting period for all gun purchases. And 653,000 firearms were taken out of circulation. Gun deaths in the country plummeted, and today mass shootings there are nearly nonexistent. Compare that to America -- the gun capital of the world -- where last year there were 12 gun deaths per 100,000 people -- more than 14 times that of Australia.

But there are some differences, of course, Australia doesn't have a right to bear arms in their Constitution. They also don't have a powerful gun lobby like the NRA. Still, could Australia's model have some lessons for the United States? Joining me now to discuss is former prime minister Kevin Rudd. He is now president of the Asia Society Policy Institute.

(...)

KEVIN RUDD, FORMER AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: It doesn't mean you have a right to bear any form of arms. If you take it literally, does that mean the right to bear arms says you should be able to have your own field howitzer in the backyard? That you should have the ability to have an anti-tank weapon to run your own drones that are armed? Of course not. So having a single-action shotgun is one thing -- having a semi-automatic or automatic weaponry which can kill dozens of people in seconds, that's something else,

BROWN: Right.

RUDD: So you can have the right to bear arms if it's single-action, but the judgment in this country -- Australia -- is that doesn't entitle you to bear any category of arms, hence the ban on semi-automatic weapons in this country.

BROWN: And we already have, one of the big questions is, there are so many -- there's more guns than people in this country. Now, in Australia, there was the gun buyback. So, you know, there is that question, but I wonder, as someone who was a world leader, as you see these mass shootings, again, 150 just this year in America -- as you see that play out, what is your reaction? What are you thinking? What do you think the world is thinking as they watch this play out in this country?

RUDD: What the world is thinking is that it's time for America to act. Look, I've lived among you in the United States for the past five or six years. I'm just back here temporarily in Australia at the moment. And I feel it, as someone who lives and works in New York, that there is a feeling of anxiety that there could be a mass shooting today, tomorrow -- when will the next one unfold on a school campus? On a university campus? In a shopping center mall? We have a terrible history of these things.

And that's why, frankly, I applaud the leadership of President Biden in taking this first major step towards national firearms legislation and regulation which is foreshadowed. I know what the political reaction will be. I know a whole bunch of states will say it impinges on their constitutional rights and the usual list of arguments. But I think if you poll average Americans, they want something done to reduce the risk of mass shootings.

BROWN: Right. And they just want solutions. They want solutions, All right, former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd, thank you for coming on and sharing that perspective. Interesting discussion with you about this.

(...)

CNN Newsroom with Pamela Brown

April 25, 2021

8:45 p.m. Eastern

BROWN: Well, as America's gun violence epidemic rages on, Republicans in the Senate and a few moderate Democrats are standing in the way of a background check bill that is supported by some 90 percent of Americans. Meanwhile, some state Republicans are taking preemptive action should such a law make it through Congress...

(...)

I want to talk a little bit more about the background checks specifically. You are saying you don't believe it could make a difference, but if it could make a little bit of a difference to cut down on mass shootings, if it could keep a gun from ending up in a criminal's hands, wouldn't that be worth it? I mean, 89 percent of guns obtained for criminal purposes were acquired from unlicensed sellers, according to Giffords Law Center. As you know, that's what this bill is trying to close -- that loophole where there would still have to be a background check. And the public widely supports this. So why wouldn't you support something that the public supports that could keep guns out of the hands of criminals?

[GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON]

So I want to talk a little bit more about this because you're saying that criminals are going to find a gun any which way, but several studies have shown that states with stricter gun laws do have fewer gun deaths. As you know, in Arkansas, has a high rate of gun deaths. Recent data shows it has one of the country's highest rates of gun deaths per 100,000 people -- roughly four times higher than a state like New York which has stricter gun laws. So for all the -- for your argument about protecting the Second Amendment -- what do you say to those who come back to you and argue -- (stops reading question after Governor Hutchinson is lost by technical difficulties)

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