On Thursday night, a 59-year-old gunman attacked a Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theater showing the film Trainwreck, killing two women and injuring nine others before turning his gun on himself. Such shootings have increased in frequency in the U.S. in recent years, and progressive critics point to the United States' loose gun laws and high rates of firearm ownership as a key culprit.
Australian actress Rebel Wilson took to Twitter to weigh in, pointing to her home country's comprehensive gun reform law passed in the aftermath of the 1996 Port Arthur massacre, and its lack of mass shootings since, as evidence that gun control works:
As BuzzFeed's Stephanie Anderson writes, the reaction to Wilson's comments on Twitter was pretty mixed, with some agreeing with her and others leaving harsh feedback deriding her political views.
The 1996 law in question banned semi-automatic and automatic rifles as well as shotguns. According to SBS TV, the National Rifle Association, the United States' largest and most politically influential gun lobby, has recently turned its own sights towards the Australian gun ban, calling it "Orwellian" and claiming "Australian people paid a massive price in liberty. Their reward? At best, an unexamined resolution that things were somehow better now."
Many experts on gun violence disagree, pointing to a small but significant reduction in homicides and a much larger reduction in suicides as evidence of the law's effectiveness. As Wilson pointed out, Australia has not had a mass shooting since.
On the other side of the aisle, former Florida Rep. Allen West and rock musician Ted Nugent (both prominent gun rights activists) took to the site of the Lafayette shooting to pay their respects to the victims and let reporters on the scene know they considered questions about gun control premature and inappropriate.