Why Are Australian Gun Laws so Strict

In 2016, a study by Adam Lankford, associate professor of criminal justice, examined the links between mass public shootings and gun availability in different countries. Noting that restrictions were effective in Australia, he concluded that “Australia has yet to experience another mass public shooting under this policy.” [102] Nevertheless, the record is clear, supported by tons of studies that have analyzed the effects of policies such as those in Britain and Australia: when countries tighten gun control laws, it leads to fewer guns in the hands of private citizens, resulting in less gun violence — and fewer mass shootings. Some studies on the impact of Australian gun laws suggest that Australian gun laws have effectively reduced mass shootings,[67] gun suicides and gun crime,[68] while other studies suggest that the laws have had little effect. [69] [70] Polls show strong support for gun legislation in Australia, with about 85-90% of people wanting the same or higher level of restrictions. [71] [72] [73] [74] However, conservative estimates suggest that there may be approximately 260,000 unregistered or prohibited firearms in the community, including assault rifles. [75] In 2005, Don Weatherburn of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research stated that the 1996 legislation had little or no effect on violence, stating that the “laws did not accelerate the downward trend in gun murder.” [87] [88] The shooting in a small Scottish town in 1996, in which a resident killed 15 students and a teacher, led to more profound changes. A government investigation recommended restricting access to handguns. Australian gun rights groups say the laws go too far and restrict individual freedom. In 1996, shortly after a mass shooting that killed 35 people and wounded 23, Australia`s conservative government introduced a series of tough new gun laws. Since then, there has been only one mass shooting in Australia, gun deaths have decreased and the murder rate has decreased, despite the fact that there are almost as many private guns as there were before the ban.

Many politicians who support tighter gun control, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, have pointed to Australia`s example as an example the US could follow. Others cited the country as an example of what America should not do. Here`s what Peter, an Australian who grew up with guns and continues to collect them, thinks about his country`s approach. (Peter asked to be identified only by his first name, lest his collection make him the target of gun thieves.) The strict new laws prohibited the sale and importation of all automatic and semi-automatic shotguns and shotguns; forced people to present a legitimate reason and wait 28 days to buy a firearm; And, perhaps most importantly, called for a massive and mandatory arms buyback. The Australian government has seized and destroyed nearly 700,000 firearms, halving the number of gun owners. Although the country has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in Europe, it has relatively lower rates of gun violence. The country has had strict rules for years, including mandatory firearms safety courses and an involved licensing process. But it took seven years after the 2011 massacre for a ban on semi-automatic weapons inspired by the attack to be enacted. It entered into force at the end of last year. Diana Melham, executive director of the Sporting Shooters Australia Association in New South Wales, says the 1996 laws fueled a sense of alienation among gun owners that she says “brought the shooters together.” The nationwide buyback eventually removed one in five private guns from circulation and one in three private guns. These mainly targeted weapons such as semi-automatic rifles and many shotguns, which were no longer allowed under the new laws. Several studies have been conducted by Jeanine Baker and Samara McPhedran, researchers from the International Coalition for Women in Shooting and Hunting (WiSH).

In 2006, his 1996 paper on gun legislation in the British Journal of Criminology used an ARIMA analysis and found little evidence of an effect of the laws on murder but on suicide. [89] Don Weatherburn described the article as “serious” and “well managed,” but also stated that “it would be wrong to conclude from the study that it does not matter how many guns there are in the community.” Simon Chapman explained that the article ignores the problem of mass shootings such as the Port Arthur massacre. [90] In 2012, McPhedran and Baker found that there was little evidence of the impact of gun laws on firearm suicide among those under 35, and suggested that the significant financial expenditures associated with Australia`s measures to restrict the method of firearms may not have had an impact on teen suicide. [91] In 2008, McPhedran compared the frequency of mass shootings in Australia and New Zealand. The authors conclude that “if civilian access to certain types of firearms explained the occurrence of mass shootings in Australia, New Zealand would have continued to suffer mass shootings.” [70] There are good reasons why firearms restrictions would prevent suicides. As Matthews explains at length, suicide is often an impulsive decision that is often not repeated after a first attempt. Weapons are specifically designed to kill, making suicide attempts with weapons more promising than (for example) attempts with razors or pills. Restricting access to firearms increases the likelihood that any attempt will fail, increasing the chances that people will survive and no longer try to hurt themselves.