David Leyonhjelm, a Liberal-Democratic Australian senator, said in a National Rifle Association (NRA) video interview that Australians, because of strict gun control laws, “are a nation of victims.”
Since his election in 2013, Leyonhjelm has pushed for more lenient gun rights in the nation which, since it boasts no gun massacres since 1996, has been a talking point by many gun rights opposers. Leyonhjelm’s comments, and the video itself, came after 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton suggested the U.S. implement the Australian gun buyback scheme spearheaded by ex-Prime Minister John Howard.
“I don’t think Australia is a model for the United States on gun control at all,” Leyonhjelm said. “[The Howard scheme made] no difference to firearms violence, gun violence overall… The criminals still have guns, there’s no shortage of guns. There’s a very vigorous black market for guns, so it’s really not made the slightest bit of difference… if you want a gun, you can get one.”
Leyonhjelm, in August, negotiated a governmental one-year ban lift on the importation of the Adler lever-action shotgun next year, but Australians were skeptical since the gun resembles one used in a mass shooting in 1996, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
The senator, who owns two shotguns, said the Adler was “completely different” to the semi-automatic gun used in the attack, adding “if your intentions are malicious, any firearm is very dangerous.”
“It’s a defenseless country these days. I am absolutely in awe of the success of the NRA at holding back the tide and it never gives an inch,” Leyonhjelm said. “We love the NRA here in Australia amongst us gun owners and in fact we rely on you guys to also help us hold the line in Australia.”