Topic: Controlling all arms and their distribution
School: Pristine Private School
Delegate: Murad Muradov
Australia used to fall amongst the plethora of countries that struggled with gun control. Throughout the 1990s, multiple killings occurred in Australia. On April 29, 1996 in Port Arthur, a man killed 35 people and injured 23 with the use of semi-automatic rifles. This triggered Australia to create further restrictions on small arms and light weapons (SALWs) in order to keep the public safe. Australia believes that tracking small arms trading is integral to keeping crime rates low and order amongst nations. Australia’s goal is to guarantee that only responsible citizens are able to attain firearms. It is apparent to Australia that the UN’s current procedures for managing the SALW trade are inadequate. These ineffective measures can improve in the following ways: the greater usage of surveillance on nation borders can be used to track illicit weapons; more countries can create a buyback program; the UN can play an active role in managing SALWs by utilizing peacekeeping missions and intervening on countries more often when it is necessary.
Australia has served as an international exemplar and has set a precedent of how to deal with small arms and light weapons. After the Port Arthur massacre, Australia prohibited the use of all semi-automatic and pump-action guns and established a public education campaign. Australia believed the measures taken were beneficial to the country; 95% of Australians preferred the new laws to the old ones. Beyond this, within the ten years between 1991 and 2001, firearm-related deaths were reduced by 47%. The results are partially due to the public education campaign; these campaigns can be used to show the potential dangers of weapons as well as to make people rethink the attractiveness of the weapons. However, Australia believes that education can only be successful if it is paired with weapon collection. Australia exhibited this in the largest weapon collection program in history where 644,000 weapons were exchanged for money. The Australian government destroyed the weapons that were turned in. Unfortunately, nations around the world, including Australia, are still looking for the most effective way to prevent the smuggling of SALWs. Australia believes that greater surveillance will remedy this issue and allow countries to better track firearms. Australia urges other countries to focus more on SALWs because the situation must be resolved at a regional or national level before it can be dealt with worldwide.
Moreover, Australia has contributed to situations and resolutions outside of its own country. For example, in 2003, Australia helped the Solomon Islands return to peace by taking weapons from antagonists. Australia has also signed and ratified the Arms Trade Treaty. This treaty establishes an international standard for arms trade; it aims to lower the number of illegal arms that are traded. This treaty will also require states to keep records of arms exports and give yearly reports on the transfers. Australia believes that ratifying the treaty will lead to less illicit arms-related violence. Australia has partnered with the United Kingdom, Argentina, Costa Rica, Japan, Finland, and Kenya to write the treaty and build international support. Australia believes that the United Kingdom shares the core values related to disarmament that are upheld in Australia. For example, the United Kingdom passed major restrictions on firearms near the same time as Australia did; in reality, the U.K. continued a step further by practically banning all handguns. The United Kingdom also conducted a buyback program like Australia’s. Both countries have experienced success with their methods. They encourage other countries to follow their lead and sign and ratify the Arms Trade Treaty.