Hillary Clinton said that a gun buyback measure similar to the one implemented in Australia “would be worth considering” at the national level on Friday.
Clinton was asked at a New Hampshire town hall whether she thought an Australian-style policy could be implemented in the U.S.
“Recently, Australia managed to get away, or take away tens of thousands, millions of handguns. In one year, they were all gone. Can we do that? If we can't, why can't we?” A New Hampshire man asked Clinton.
“I think that’s worth considering. I do not know enough detail to tell you how we would do it, or how would it work, but certainly your example is worth looking at,” Clinton said.
The Australia example is a favorite with politicians who favor stricter gun control measures, although rarely is it mentioned that Australia’s 1996 buyback was coercive—although citizens were compensated for their firearms, it was more accurately a program to confiscate firearms, particularly rifles.
To this point, Clinton has proposed gun control laws more modest than a national buyback, like universal background checks. However, there is evidence that she may privately prefer something like a Australian-style solution.
According to audio obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, Clinton said that “the Supreme Court was wrong” on guns, a likely reference to the court’s landmark 2008 decision that gun ownership was an individual right protected by the Constitution.
VOTER: Back to handguns. Recently, Australia managed to get away, or take away tens of thousands, millions of handguns. In one year, they were all gone. Can we do that? If we can't, why can't we?
HILLARY CLINTON: Australia is a good example, Canada is a good example, the U.K. is a good example. Why? Each of them have had mass killings. Australia had a huge mass killing about 20-25 years ago, Canada did as well, so did the U.K. In reaction, they passed much stricter gun laws.
In the Australian example, as I recall, that was a buyback program. The Australian government, as part of trying to clamp down on the availability of automatic weapons, offered a good price for buying hundreds of thousands of guns. Then, they basically clamped down, going forward, in terms of having more of a background check approach, more of a permitting approach, but they believe, and I think the evidence supports them, that by offering to buyback those guns, they were able to curtail the supply and set a different standard for gun purchases in the future.
Communities have done that in our country, several communities have done gun buyback programs. I think it would be worth considering doing it on the national level, if that could be arranged. After the terrible 2008 financial crisis, one of the programs that President Obama was able to get in place was Cash for Clunkers. You remember that? It was partially a way to get people to buy new cars because we wanted more economic activity, and to get old models that were polluting too much, off the roads. So I think that’s worth considering. I do not know enough detail to tell you how we would do it, or how would it work, but certainly your example is worth looking at. [Applause]