Americans just discovered what Taylor Swift’s Aussie shows were like. They’re stunned.

So, when they saw Aussies filling their feeds from the Sydney and Melbourne Eras Tour shows, wearing bags of all different shapes, sizes and — most importantly — opacity levels, they were confused. Bewildered. Stunned.

The uproar on social media really shone a light on the stark differences between the two countries and their approaches to public safety, large-scale events and gun control. In the US these clear bag policies have been enforced in response to the gun violence issue that never seems to wane, with 632 mass shootings claiming the lives of more than 40,000 people in 2023 alone.

One TikTok user created a video to explain that the clear bag policy was introduced to most stadiums in 2013 to assist security teams in clearing attendees before allowing them to enter a venue. A clear bag allows security to check the contents more easily, and ensure public safety is paramount amongst a gun violence epidemic. And it seems this has become pretty commonplace for most stadiums and an expected part of most concertgoers’ experience.

@rebeccapousma Replying to @Isabel (Taylor’s version) #taylorswift #theerastour #clearbagpolicy ♬ original sound – REBA

This is a far cry from the situation in Australia, which has largely managed to avoid mass-shooting events since mandates were brought in during the ’90s. In response to the tragic Port Arthur Massacre, which saw 35 victims killed in a mass-shooting event, then-Prime Minister John Howard and the Liberal Party introduced and finalised a National Firearms Agreement that made previously lax licencing a lot more stringent.

As part of the agreement, there was also a gun buyback scheme, which saw the government purchase $304 million worth of firearms from the public. The Australian gun law reform in 1996 was heralded as a major success and has been widely considered the key to the country’s ability to avoid gun violence akin to what we’ve seen in the US.