Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he hasn’t spoken with President Trump about the gun control measures Australia implemented after a mass shooting in 1996, but noted the two countries have “very different” histories regarding firearms.
Turnbull was asked during a joint press conference with Trump on Friday whether he had discussed Australia’s gun buyback program with the president, as U.S. policymakers have begun to weigh stricter gun measures following last week’s shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla.
“It’s a completely different context historically, legally and so forth,” Turnbull told reporters. “We are very satisfied with our laws. We maintain them. They’re there. They’re well known. You’ve referred to them. But we certainly don’t presume to provide policy or political advice on that matter here. You have an amendment in your Constitution which deals with gun ownership. You have a very, very different history.”
Australia implemented a mandatory gun buyback program after 35 people were killed and 23 were injured in a mass shooting in Tasmania in 1996. The country also banned the sale of automatic and semi-automatic rifles.
“Our history with gun control and regulation is obviously very different to the United States,” Turnbull said.
The prime minister noted the range of firearms available to Australians is “very, very limited.”
Trump met with students and parents of the Florida high school after the shooting, which left 17 dead and more than a dozen injured.
Since his listening session, the president has come out in support of strengthening background checks and has called for arming some teachers and faculty who have received firearm training. Trump also signaled he is open to raising the minimum purchasing age for assault rifles from 18 to 21.
Trump weighed in on Australia’s gun control measures Friday and said he is confident Congress will take steps to implement new gun laws in the U.S.
"They're very different countries with very different sets of problems,” Trump said of the U.S. and Australia. “But I think we're well on the way to solving that horrible problem that happens far too often in the United States.”