Hillary Clinton cited President Obama’s car buyback program “Cash for Clunkers” during a town hall event in Keene, N.H. on Friday as a possible model for a national gun buyback program that she says she would be willing to consider as president.
During the event, which was held at Keene State College, an audience member asked Clinton about Australia’s response to a 1996 mass shooting in which a gunman killed 35 people. Australia passed strict gun laws and instituted a compulsory national gun buyback program.
Through the program — which many have pointed out was actually a cleverly-disguised gun confiscation program — the Australian government, said Clinton, was “able to curtail the supply, and to set a different standard for gun purchases in the future.”
“Communities have done that in our country. Several communities have done gun buyback programs, but I think it would be worth considering doing it on the national level, if that could be arranged,” said Clinton, who recently released said that she will consider taking executive action to force background checks on private gun sales.
In her remarks Friday, Clinton cited Obama’s much-criticized economic stimulus program, “Cash for Clunkers.”
Enacted in July 2009, the $3 billion program gave car buyers a credit for turning in certain vehicles for more fuel-efficient ones. The stated goals of the program were to stimulate the economy and to cut down on emissions.
“After the terrible ’08 financial crisis, one of the programs that President Obama was able to get in place was ‘Cash for Clunkers,'” Clinton said.
“Remember that? You know, getting them off the road, and it was partly a way to get people to buy new cars, because we wanted more economic activity, and partly a way to get old models, that were polluting too much, sort of off the road.”
“So I think that’s worth considering,” Clinton continued. “I don’t know enough details to tell you how we would do it, or how it would work, but certainly the Australian example is worth looking at.”
While Australia’s gun buyback program is often cited by gun control activists as a desirable model for the U.S., it often goes unmentioned that the program was actually compulsory. Australians were forced to sell back guns that the government retroactively prohibited.
It is unclear if Clinton was aware that Australia’s program was mandatory.