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In Australia, a call to warn US-bound travelers about the risk of encountering gun violence

AP/San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department
Some of the weapons found at the scene in San Bernardino.
  • Amy X. Wang
By Amy X. Wang


Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Following last month’s deadly attacks in Paris, the US issued a broad global travel alert to its citizens, despite the lack of a specific, imminent threat to them.

Now, the US is reeling from the latest notch in its own tragic pattern of mass shootings—and a former Australian politician is raising his eyebrow at the travel alerts the country has placed on other areas of the world.

“I’m a bit sick and tired of the US chucking handballs at us, putting into their travel advice that it’s not safe to go to Sydney,” former Australian deputy prime minister Tim Fischer told the Australia Broadcasting Corporation’s ABC News yesterday (Dec. 3), a day after two assailants killed 14 people at an office in San Bernardino, California.

“You are 15 times more likely to be shot dead in the USA than in Australia per capita, per thousand people, and that varies state by state. Those midwest states are shockers and let’s start highlighting this… It’s time to call out the US,” Fischer said, suggesting that Australia’s own travel advisories might need to be “muscled up.”

Fischer’s comments come amid worldwide criticism of gun violence statistics in the US. The database finds that the US currently averages one mass shooting per day, ever year.

It’s “unacceptable” that the US “is not stepping up on the public policy reform front,” Fischer said. As deputy prime minister, Fischer pushed for dramatically tighter gun control in Australia—and there have been no mass shootings in the country in the last 19 years.

As the Sydney Morning Herald notes, the Australian government currently advises its citizens that the US has a “generally higher incident of violent crime, including incidents where a firearm is involved.” But it doesn’t recommend travelers to the US exercise anything beyond a normal level of precaution.

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