Did gun control work in Australia?

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    I’ve been presented with this article as evidence for successful gun control. I’ve gotta run, so I’ll post it here if anyone wants to investigate it.


    “…At the heart of the push was a massive buyback of more than 600,000 semi-automatic shotguns and rifles, or about one-fifth of all firearms in circulation in Australia. The country’s new gun laws prohibited private sales, required that all weapons be individually registered to their owners, and required that gun buyers present a “genuine reason” for needing each weapon at the time of the purchase. (Self-defense did not count.) In the wake of the tragedy, polls showed public support for these measures at upwards of 90 percent.

    What happened next has been the subject of several academic studies. Violent crime and gun-related deaths did not come to an end in Australia, of course. But as the Washington Post’s Wonkblog pointed out in August, homicides by firearm plunged 59 percent between 1995 and 2006, with no corresponding increase in non-firearm-related homicides. The drop in suicides by gun was even steeper: 65 percent. Studies found a close correlation between the sharp declines and the gun buybacks. Robberies involving a firearm also dropped significantly. Meanwhile, home invasions did not increase, contrary to fears that firearm ownership is needed to deter such crimes. But here’s the most stunning statistic. In the decade before the Port Arthur massacre, there had been 11 mass shootings in the country. There hasn’t been a single one in Australia since….”


    I know it hasn’t worked in Great Britain (though it’s often claimed that it has). I’d be curious if this was really the case in Australia, but I suspect it might be – but note the underlaying draconian ambition, here: Australia didn’t just outlaw sale of new weapons, or of certain weapons. It essentially confiscated them all. Also, as alluded to in the article, as part of their ban Australia effectively outlawed self defense (which Britain, as a practical matter, has also done – in many cases, you’re more likely to be charged for a crime in Britain defending yourself from an assailant – with the assailant called to testify against you – than you are if you initiate a crime).

    Plus, it is obvious that gun control is not a necessary feature of reducing or eliminating crime: as Peter Hitchens (Christopher’s anti-war brother) has pointed out, Britain in the 1920s had gun laws (or rather, almost no gun laws) that make today’s gun laws in Texas look strict. But Britain then had hardly any gun crime. Ten years ago Britain introduced strict gun control laws – and gun related crime has gone up 89%. See also: Switzerland. A country that does the exact opposite of disarming law-abiding citizens. Instead it hands them automatic (not just semi-automatic) weapons. Switzerland has very little gun violence.

    The reason for higher crime isn’t the presence of guns. But this is what they want to go after, because they have always wanted to go after guns, and episodes like the recent one give them an excuse/rationale. But they don’t want to address other (and the real) factors behind such events, so…they don’t. (Note some of those include things that I think Libertarians would have a problem with: such as “deinstitutionalization,” the increased difficulty in any attempt at involuntarily institutionalizing someone who is dangerously psychotic).

    OtoH, I saw a facebook post to the effect that mass killings stopped by the police average over 18 deaths, while attempts at mass killings which are stopped by armed civilians on the scene (meaning: concealed carry) average only 2.2 deaths per incident. But while people writing, say, Slate articles, want to bandy about a lot of statistics – they do so tendentiously. They never want to mention the statistics on crimes prevented by armed private individuals. It doesn’t fit the narrative.



    Do you have any sources for these claims? Particularly, the Britain one?


    Heres a starting point. You can find a lot of information from John Lott http://johnrlott.blogspot.com/


    Here is an article on gun crime going up 89% in Britain following strict gun control.

    I also recommend this article by Thomas Sowell.

    There’s also this sort of argument (FACT: many if not most of the prominent people who argue for strict gun control have armed bodyguards at hand at their beck and call).

    Then there is this.

    And, I don’t often recommend Coulter articles, but she makes a good point here:

    Landes and Lott examined many of the very policies being proposed right now in response to the Connecticut massacre: waiting periods and background checks for guns, the death penalty and increased penalties for committing a crime with a gun.

    None of these policies had any effect on the frequency of, or carnage from, multiple-victim shootings. (I note that they did not look at reforming our lax mental health laws, presumably because the ACLU is working to keep dangerous nuts on the street in all 50 states.)

    Only one public policy has ever been shown to reduce the death rate from such crimes: concealed-carry laws.

    Their study controlled for age, sex, race, unemployment, retirement, poverty rates, state population, murder arrest rates, violent crime rates, and on and on.

    The effect of concealed-carry laws in deterring mass public shootings was even greater than the impact of such laws on the murder rate generally.

    This makes several good points, too, including: “And here is the nail in the coffin for Gun Free Zones. Over the last fifty years, with only one single exception (Gabby Giffords), every single mass shooting event with more than four casualties has taken place in a place where guns were supposedly not allowed.


    Thanks Porphyrogenitus! I’m going to use some of these sources on another forum I’m on. Someone asked for them. I’ll let them know it came from here.


    I would be very interested to know if, post gun control, crimes against women rose disproportionately vs crimes against men


    Sterling, I know John Lott mentions this in his book “More Guns, Less Crime” which is basically the definitive study on all of this stuff. Anyone interested in Gun Control HAS to read it. If you’re already pro-gun, you will be rabidly pro-gun by the time you’re through with it.

    I can’t quite remember whether the study actually broke down the classes of victims. I want to say that the source he relied upon (the FBI crime report) did not say what gender the victim was, so it could not be a factor in his regression equations. But I do recall he mentions in the introduction that the availability of handguns generally speaking “levels the playing field” and that those who would presumably derive the MOST benefit are those who are physically weakest, meaning women and the elderly.


    The stats put out by Slate completely contradict this news video of Australia after its gun ban:


    Slate: “Robberies involving a firearm also dropped significantly.”

    News Video: “Since the gun ban, armed robberies have skyrocketed, up 69%. Assaults involving guns rose 28%”

    Slate: “homicides by firearm plunged 59 percent between 1995 and 2006”

    News Video: “Gun murders increased 19%.”

    Slate: “Meanwhile, home invasions did not increase”

    News Video: “And in a new phenomenon, home invasions jumped 21%, an increase politicians say they can’t explain because they are still trying to define what a home invasion is, and what the penalty should be.”

    Slate: “The drop in suicides by gun was even steeper: 65 percent.”

    According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, suicide by gun was simply replaced by hanging:

    “In 2003 the most common method of suicide was hanging, which was used in almost half (45%) of all suicide deaths. The next most used methods were poisoning by ‘other’ (including motor vehicle exhaust) (19%), Other (15%), poisoning by drugs (13%), and methods using firearms (9%). This distribution was consistent with that of the previous few years. However, over the decade strong trends were apparent such as the increase in the use of hanging, and a decrease in methods using firearms.”


    Here are the total suicide numbers (all methods) from the Australian Bureau of Statistics website:

    1993: 2081
    1994: 2558
    1995: 2368
    1996: 2393
    1997: 2720
    1998: 2683
    1999: 2492
    2000: 2363
    2001: 2457
    2002: 2320
    2003: 2213
    2004: 2098
    2005: 2101
    2006: 2118
    2007: 2229
    2008: 2341
    2009: 2286
    2010: 2361

    1993-2003 #’s here:


    2001 to 2010 #’s here:


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