WASHINGTON: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Thursday (Oct 26) highlighted his own country’s consensus on restricting guns as he visited the United States during the latest mass shooting.
At a luncheon at the State Department during a state visit, Albanese recalled how Australia enacted tough gun laws after a gunman killed 35 people in Port Arthur, Tasmania in 1996.
“Indeed, it is the case that we look every time there is one of these events and are grateful that Australia did act in a bipartisan way to the Port Arthur massacre,” he told the luncheon in the presence of Vice President Kamala Harris.
“My heart goes out to those who will be grieving today,” Albanese said.
Australia, like the United States with a historic gun culture, banned automatic and semi-automatic weapons after the 1996 killing.
Mass shootings have been rare since, although six people died in an hours-long siege at a remote property in December.
At least 18 people died after a US Army reservist who was a certified arms instructor went on a shooting spree in Maine Wednesday, including at a bowling alley, according to police.
It was the latest mass killing in the United States, where gun rights are enshrined in the Second Amendment to the Constitution and fiercely protected by the gun lobby and most of the Republican Party.
Albanese, from the left-of-centre Labor Party, recalled that he met with the National Rifle Association among other pressure groups during a visit to the United States in his 20s as part of a State Department-arranged visit to Washington.