The failure of gun control in Australia

Ethel C. Fenig
Recently Edward Paltzik discussed the draconian gun control laws Australia passed after a disturbed individual slaughtered 35 people in a manner similar to the horror at the school in Newtown, Connecticut, the theater in Aurora, Colorado or other mass shootings. So how has Australia fared since the passage of these laws? Is it safer? Have there been fewer gun deaths?

According to a Steve Chapman column:

You would think such dramatic new restrictions were bound to help. But the striking thing is how little effect they had on gun deaths.

It's true the homicide rate fell after the law took effect -- but it had also been falling long before that. A study published by the liberal Brookings Institution noted that the decline didn't accelerate after 1996. Same for lethal accidents. Suicide didn't budge. At most, they conclude "there may" -- may -- "have been a modest effect on homicide rates."

Researchers at the University of Melbourne, however, found no such improvement as a result of the new system. "There is little evidence to suggest that it had any significant effects on firearm homicides or suicides," they wrote. (snip)

We learned from the 1994 assault weapons ban that modest gun control measures don't work. What Australia suggests is that even if radical ones could be passed, they wouldn't work either.

Sacrificing a degree of freedom for vastly improved safety if gun restrictions had proven benefits would be worth it. Sacrificing degrees of freedom for gun restrictions so some liberals can act out their contempt for clinging gun owners while smugly feeling superior about themselves and their morals is dangerous.


Recently Edward Paltzik discussed the draconian gun control laws Australia passed after a disturbed individual slaughtered 35 people in a manner similar to the horror at the school in Newtown, Connecticut, the theater in Aurora, Colorado or other mass shootings. So how has Australia fared since the passage of these laws? Is it safer? Have there been fewer gun deaths?

According to a Steve Chapman column:

You would think such dramatic new restrictions were bound to help. But the striking thing is how little effect they had on gun deaths.

It's true the homicide rate fell after the law took effect -- but it had also been falling long before that. A study published by the liberal Brookings Institution noted that the decline didn't accelerate after 1996. Same for lethal accidents. Suicide didn't budge. At most, they conclude "there may" -- may -- "have been a modest effect on homicide rates."

Researchers at the University of Melbourne, however, found no such improvement as a result of the new system. "There is little evidence to suggest that it had any significant effects on firearm homicides or suicides," they wrote. (snip)

We learned from the 1994 assault weapons ban that modest gun control measures don't work. What Australia suggests is that even if radical ones could be passed, they wouldn't work either.

Sacrificing a degree of freedom for vastly improved safety if gun restrictions had proven benefits would be worth it. Sacrificing degrees of freedom for gun restrictions so some liberals can act out their contempt for clinging gun owners while smugly feeling superior about themselves and their morals is dangerous.