“Look at Australia, Gun Control Works” or So They Say

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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.

538121-illegal-firearmsOf 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.

903312_origHere, 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”

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18 Comments
  1. Kimber TLE says

    In 2008, the Melbourne Institute released a working paper on “The Australian Firearms Buyback and Its Effect on Gun Deaths”. They concluded “Although gun buybacks appear to be a logical and sensible policy that helps to placate the public’s fears, the evidence so far suggests that in the Australian context, the high expenditure incurred to fund the 1996 gun buyback has not translated into any tangible reductions in terms of firearm deaths.”

    http://www.melbourneinstitute.com/downloads/working_paper_series/wp2008n17.pdf#24

    Couple this report with the fact that gun crime in AUS has been on the increase since 2005 (see my prior post).

  2. Kimber TLE says

    Interesting article [posted August 2, 2013] on gun crime in Australia. Of special note:
    ► Gun ownership in Australia is back at pre-Port Arthur massacre levels.
    ► There has been a steady increase in gun-related crimes over the past seven years.
    ► In the seven years from 2005 to 2012, gun murders across Australia almost doubled.
    ►The incidence of guns used in kidnappings trebled.
    ► The total number of crimes in which a firearm was used rose 47 per cent between 2005 and 2012.

    Lots of links in the article to support the numbers.

    http://www.news.com.au/national-news/is-australia-staring-down-the-barrel-of-a-gun-crisis/story-fncynjr2-1226690018325

  3. Keith Tyler says

    You are cherry-picking one state out of eight in Australia to disprove the overarching trend? That’s not sketchy.

    Also, “unabated” does not mean “increased”, it means “continued”.

  4. Tommy says

    Just saw that Gun control Australia episode on the daily show and I have to say, no mass shootings after 1996. 18 Mass shootings in the last 16 years before 1996. You do the math. By the way, I love how some nutcases are pretending to be Australian and are posting about how they are suffering. Really laughable.

    1. LT says

      Agree – as an Australian I bloody love the fact that I’ve never seen a gun. We don’t need them and the “facts” used as the basis of this article are questionable and unjustifiable. I’m just glad I live in Australia – tolerant, free and safe

  5. disqus_92nxKpixm3 says

    John Lott — doesn’t he also go by the name of Mary Rosh? Yeah, he has a TON of credibility

  6. Bogan Bob says

    You cannot buy back something you never owned…the Mafia does stuff like this. John Howards answer to gun control was the taxpayer can bankroll my agenda of removing guns from ordinary Australians who will be forced to hand in their guns or go to jail. He made us an offer we couldn’t refuse. Accept forced payment for your grandads gun…or go to jail. The dictating little bastard.

  7. Bogan Bob says

    Australia had a gun culture, we all owned air rifles as kids and went shooting rabbits and roos with our dads. Now our 21st century Socialist pollies would convince you we have become an eglitarian arty farty, gay rights loving Muslim fearing gun free over taxed safe society nanny state for the better…bahumbug

  8. Bogan Bob says

    Don’t come to Australia we are a Socialist Welfare State being told how to live and being controlled by the state. We have no real freedom anymore, our politicians are self serving dunces whose only economic answer is more taxes or smash the Public Service and our lefty loving media is so anti conservative its ridiculous. Just watch the over-educated uni twits on the project, they know it all…but know nothing.

    1. LT says

      I laugh at you describing the media as “left loving” when the majority of Australian media is owned by conservative interests – Gina Rinehart, Clive Palmer & of course the Murdochs. Hilarious!

  9. Ronald R. Johnson says

    The only people in England and Australia that are happy about the guns being taken are cops and the Government and the Criminals which is the proof That if Obama and Biden and Feinstin and Bloomberg ever get their way and take our guns, the above are the only ones who will like it and also offers proof that gun crimes don’t go down and if anything makes honest citizens be robbed and killed more often and as usual Cops only come around later to clean the mess up. Oh and has anyone noticed that the ones who screech the most and loudest about taking the guns are the very people above who are surrounded by body guards with loads of high power guns to protect them. Guess what they are saying is that they are the only ones who are important enough to own guns!

  10. ParkerKent says

    You said the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research “in 2005 published a report documenting no significant reduction” in felonious gun usage. These numbers look pretty significant to me:

    http://www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/lawlink/bocsar/ll_bocsar.nsf/pages/bocsar_mr_cjb98

  11. Terry Adams says

    Liberals know the truth they just never admit to it. They can never be wrong. After all they are liberal and want the world to be remade in their images. And people wonder why I say Wake up America the beast is upon you.

  12. JOHN T. FOX says

    BUY BACKS ARE USED BY CRIMINALS TO GET RID OF MURDER GUNS WITH NO QUESTIONS ASKED!

  13. Stop Statism says

    The concept of “buybacks”, be it guns or anything else has the implication that government is the owner of everything including your home, bank account and your personal property. Australia has traveled well down the path of statism. I use to think the Aussies were some of the toughest minded people on earth. But now as a people, they seem to be neutered.

    1. mtman2 says

      Socialism for you, insidiously “disarming” of UR rights !

    2. Gwyllam.L.Roberts. says

      G’Day.We were once a nation of people who made Crocodile Dundee look like a pansy.These days we have more government department clerks,welfare recipients and other government dependent zombies than just about any where else in the world.For 15 years I lived in a region that the last I heard may still be the youth suicide capital of the world.We have one of the worlds highest addiction rates and I see schringes along with all sorts of drug taking paraphenalia all the time.

      The claims about Australia being a great ‘gun control utupia’ are complete hog wash.Our homicide rate is about the same it’s been in other a century.The rates of all other crimes of violence have increased.Especially home invasions. I’ve survived 2 home invasions that were also attempts on my life by a nutter and career criminal the courts keep on releasing.
      As well as fire arms being heavily restricted or illegal just about all methods of self defense are banned.The thugs know that the law is on their side and naturally take advantage of it.
      Not all that long ago we had about as many ‘gun nuts’ per capita as America.Hunting was a way of life and marksmanship was a national asset.We had conscription and there were Army Cadet units in just about every school in the land.We bought guns and ammunition from department stores and in some states we didn’t even need licenses.Unfortunately we didn’t fight back against ‘gun control’ until it was too late.What happened here can happen in America if you let it.I’m astounded at the way the post Sandy Hook attack is being defended against but fear more might need to be done.I want to see you preparing for the next attack,I want to see the ‘gun lobby’ become even bigger and stronger than ever.

      1. James C. Foy says

        What if the neighbors of a like mind were all to agree on composting any criminals, spread out amongst all the members properties, without calling the local gardening regulatory boards.
        While there is great outcry over the missing youths in America and other countries and human trafficking is a great tragedy, there is very little outcry about missing criminals.

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