Seems whenever a discussion of gun control comes up, proponents always point to England (UK) and Australia as examples of how blindingly awesome gun control works. Of those two countries, England is not comparable. Guns were never prevalent in private hands England, just as no other forms of weapons were. Private gun ownership has been strictly licensed and regulated there for well over a century. Private firearms ownership in England was never remotely similar to the US, and for good reason. They were not settling a savage land, exploring uncharted wilderness, never as necessarily self-reliant as the settlers of the colonies needed to be. This was a whole new ball game over here, and in order to survive, guns and other weapons were absolutely necessary.
Of the two countries that gun control advocates often point to, Australia is a far better comparison. While private firearms ownership was never as prevalent in Australia as it is here, we share a much more similar origin story. Australia was settled much like the USA was, by immigrant people left to fend for themselves, and they needed guns to do so. Our “gun culture” has far more in common with Australia than it does with England, so let’s take a closer look at just how successful gun control is in Australia.
Australia began passing incremental gun bans decades ago, and with the 1996 National Agreement on Firearms, they essentially outlawed all firearms commonly used for self-defense and all military style firearms, no matter what era they were from. Essentially, the only guns that can now be had, assuming you can prove a need to own one, are bolt action rimfire rifles and non-pump, non-semi auto shotguns. If you are a competitive shooter, and not only can prove that but you have to participate in a set number of matches annually to maintain that, you also might be permitted to own a rimfire handgun, semi-auto rimfire rifle, and a pump or semi-auto shotgun. All semi-auto centerfire rifles are illegal as are all semi-auto shotguns that hold more than 5 rounds. Handguns are essentially limited to 9mm or .38 with a 10 round max capacity, and are only legal for competitive shooters. There are some exceptions for certain competitors, but those get very confusing.
Let me boil all that down: If you, an average law abiding citizen, can prove to the government, that you have a valid need for a gun, you might be able to purchase a bolt action .22 rifle, or a double barrel shotgun (that should make old Shotgun Joe Biden happy).
When that law passed in 1996, the Australian government spent $500 million dollars “buying back” (how can it be “buying back” if they never owned them in the first place) over 640,000 guns which they then destroyed. Subsequent to that, there has been no significant decline in felonious gun usage, and this is documented by many sources, not the least of which is the Australian government’s own New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research which in 2005 published a report documenting no significant reduction. When criticized by gun control proponents for releasing their results, the head of that bureau, Don Weatherburn, responding saying:
“The fact is that the introduction of those laws did not result in any acceleration of the downward trend in gun homicide. They may have reduced the risk of mass shootings but we cannot be sure because no one has done the rigorous statistical work required to verify this possibility. It is always unpleasant to acknowledge facts that are inconsistent with your own point of view. But I thought that was what distinguished science from popular prejudice.”
Gun control proponents are quick to point out that the number of gun suicides dropped. No duh! Non-criminals intent on killing themselves who don’t have access to guns, would have a rather difficult time killing themselves with one. However, what happened to the rate of non-gun suicides? Funny, no one seems to look at that statistic as I have been unable to find anything on that topic (damn inconvenient facts!).
So, not only did gun related crime not decline in Australia when they took guns away from the law abiding citizens (no shock there), but Australia suddenly saw a sharp rise in gun related crime. After that initial increase in gun crime, the number of gun crimes began to slowly decline at about the same rate it had been prior to the gun ban.
Since the passage of the 1996 bad, the Australian government has had several amnesty periods where they allow citizens to turn in guns that were outlawed in 1996. During two such amnesty periods, the state of Queensland alone collected 28,500 firearms that were voluntarily turned in to be destroyed.
Yet, 17 years after that draconian gun ban went into effect, and despite multiple amnesty periods where more guns have been surrendered and citizens have voluntarily disarmed themselves, it appears gun crime is actually on the rise in at least one state in Australia.
“GUN crime including shootings, armed robberies, assaults and murder have continued unabated since Queensland launched a firearms amnesty.” (SOURCE)
How can that be? Gun control is supposed to stop gun crime, isn’t it? I’m just some dumb, conservative minded working guy, so maybe one of those highly intelligent anti-gun liberals will have to explain that one to me.
Until that happens, let’s look at what has been happening up over here.
Here, in the good old USA, despite a large increase in civilian firearms ownership, the overall crime rate has actually declined, as has the rate of gun crime, including homicides and mass shootings. However, the American people are totally unaware of that due to the rabidly anti-gun agenda of the mainstream media and our oh so benevolent would-be-dictator, who refuse to discuss the actual facts of the matter.
Speaking of those facts, the gun homicide rate in the US has declined a whopping 49% since 1993 (SOURCE), despite the very noteworthy efforts to increase it by the gun control capital of America, Chicago. So, while gun ownership in the US has increased, and more and more states have loosened restrictions on carrying concealed firearms, all gun crime has declined. Let us ponder that for a moment.
What lessons can we learn from this? It seems pretty clear to me, but as I am no rocket surgeon let me quote some random dude, a guy named John Lott. “More guns=Less crime”