A collection of relevant and timely media clips and resources.
Posted on March 28, 2000
Between 1980-1995, Australia`s firearm-related death rate was cut nearly in half and its firearm-related homicide rate nearly by two-thirds. (The former decreased 46%, from 4.8 deaths per 100,000 population to 2.6; the latter decreased 63%, from eight per 100,000 to three). In 1995, the annual number of firearm-related deaths fell to its lowest point in the 16-year period.
Despite this real progress over a decade and a half, the demented acts of a lone gunman in Port Arthur, Tasmania, on a Sunday in April 1996 were used to launch a massive campaign against law-abiding Australian gun owners. Rather than acknowledging one man`s insanity, opportunistic gun control activists and scared politicians rushed to blame "loose gun laws." It didn`t matter that those laws required any Tasmanian who wanted to own a firearm or even an air rifle to pass a gun handling course and carry a photo-bearing gun license that had to be produced prior to the purchase of any firearm or ammunition. The end result for all Australians was a government turn-in scheme and the follow-on destruction of more than 640,000 hunting rifles and shotguns.
Ban supporters, including gun prohibitionists in the U.S., are actively promoting the legislation`s alleged crime-fighting benefits. Crime statistics, however, contradict them. For example, from 1997-1998, assaults and armed robberies increased in all Australian states. Armed robberies increased from 42% of all robberies in 1997 to 46% in 1998. The number of total violent crimes and the numbers of all individual categories of violent crime, with the exception of murder, increased. In addition, unlawful entries rose 3.3% from 421,569 in 1997 to 435,670 in 1998.
The violent crime statistics shown below were retrieved on March 27, 2000, from the Australia Bureau of Statistics website:
In a March 22, 2000, letter, Australia`s Attorney General Daryl Williams raised objections to an NRA video (www.nralive.com/gunban/gunban.cfm) which asserts that after the Australian government`s confiscation of hunting rifles and shotguns, armed robberies rose, assaults with guns rose, murders with guns rose and home invasions rose. Williams said NRA was using "misleading" statistics to make its case against gun control. He also claimed "the national firearms agreement has succeeded in removing more than 640,000 dangerous weapons from circulation in the community." Would he call it "misleading" to say instead that "the national ban has led to the destruction of 640,000 commonplace semi-automatic rifles and semi-automatic and pump shotguns?"
If the Attorney General has a real problem with NRA`s video, his problem is much closer to home than NRA headquarters. The video shows real people protesting their loss of liberty and loss of the right to self-defense. Those people are Australians. And the statistics presented in the NRA video were reported in real newspapers--Australian newspapers. Here are several examples:
Attorney General Williams should look closer to home if he truly objects to "misleading" the public policy debate. In fact, he should look directly at the anti-gun group Gun Control Australia (GCA). When the Sporting Shooters Ass`n of Australia (SSAA) recently ran a TV campaign that promoted the shooting sports as activities for the whole family, GCA spokesman Randy Marshall said: "People should not be fooled by pretty images of family life enjoying shooting--shooting is about practising to kill--that`s why guns are manufactured. Every person who joins SSAA helps destroy the gun laws which protect Australians."
Crime & Criminal Justice, Registration & Licensing, International/UN Gun Control Issues
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