7 Oct 2015

Fox anchor calls Australian gun laws childish

9:36 am on 7 October 2015

An American Fox News anchor has claimed Australians "have no freedom" while lambasting its gun laws during a live discussion on the recent Oregon shooting.

Tucker Carlson

Tucker Carlson Photo: AFP

Nine people were killed and several were injured when a gunman opened fire at the Umpqua Community College campus in Roseburg earlier this month.

Since then, gun control has been hotly debated among politicians in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election.

But well-known conservative Fox & Friends host Tucker Carlson described the idea of banning guns as both "insane" and "childish".

"When there's a driving accident, you don't ban cars, you try to prevent drunk people from driving," he said.

"They have no freedom, you can go to prison for expressing unpopular views in Australia and people do.

"The idea that taking guns away from the law-abiding will make us safer is insane and childish."

Fellow host Clayton Morris then suggested Australia's gun laws were an example of effective gun control.

But Carlson criticised a focus on "the tool of the violence", rather than the perpetrator, as "infantile".

"What people always throw out there, is look at Australia, they have no gun violence, they don't have guns, their citizens aren't allowed to have guns," Morris said.

"But they have no freedom, you can go to prison for expressing unpopular views in Australia and people do," Carlson argued, without citing any examples.

Former prime minister John Howard introduced strict gun laws in Australia, banning automatic and semi-automatic weapons, following the Port Arthur massacre in 1996.

Since then, there have been no mass shootings in Australia.

Carlson's comments came after a phone interview with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, during which Mr Trump described gun-free zones as "disasters".

"That was a gun-free zone in Oregon, where they had no guns allowed, no nothing," Mr Trump said.

"So the only one that had the gun was the bad guy and everybody was sitting there and there was nothing they could do.

"There was nobody with any protection and wouldn't they have been better off if somebody in the room - anybody - had a gun to at least help them out.

"These gun-free zones are a disaster because everybody is just a sitting duck."

Immediately after the Oregon shooting, President Barack Obama made an impassioned plea for tougher gun control laws, saying that the incidents had become "routine" in the US.

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton pledged to tighten the country's gun laws if elected in 2016.