Singer/songwriter John Legend recently did an interview with The Breakfast Club. The Breakfast Club is an American syndicated radio show based in New York City hosted by DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God. During his interview, Legend commended Australia’s gun confiscation plan and showed regret that, due to the Second Amendment and the NRA, the US could never replicate that system.
Legend said, “I think we do have to do something about guns. We shouldn’t live in a society so awash with guns that [it] makes the cops fearful and makes them suspicious of everybody,” when asked how he thinks neighborhoods could be made safer. DJ Envy said, “You travel a lot. You’ve been to Toronto, you’ve been to Japan, and you notice when you go to a lot of these countries, people are not allowed to have guns.” That point, Legend interrupted, “Yes, and their murder rates are way lower. Their suicide rates are lower, too, because when people have guns, they end up using them.”
Envy asked, “So banning guns in full, you’re saying?” Legend replied, “I’m not saying that necessarily would work. But if we look at Australia, they did something over there. They had a few mass shootings, and they said, “You know what? We’re going to take a pretty significant approach to reducing the amount of guns on the streets.” And it worked. They didn’t have another mass shooting, their murder rate went down, and we won’t do it here because we got the Second Amendment. We got the NRA that’s going to lobby against it. And maybe it won’t be constitutional to do that, but at the end of the day, it actually worked. And if we want to talk about what makes us safer that would make us safer.
But would it? The system currently in place in Australia began with a gun confiscation plan that was similar to a mandatory gun buyback. The government required people to turn in their guns before the ban went into effect. The scheme resulted in the confiscation of somewhere between 650,000 and 1,000,000 firearms during the years 1996-1997. As of September 2016, Australia is considering a new body of gun laws to fight the rising gun crime. Melbourne has seen in excess of one shooting, per week, since January 2015.
In fact, Australia is now considering an amnesty program that would allow criminals a specified period of time to turn their guns in and avoid penalty. The problem with that plan is that many people will never turn their guns in during the buy backs because they fear the guns will be traced back to them. Legend suggested an amnesty or grace period to get the guns off the streets. Legend continues to support the Australian system that was broken from the beginning.