Do Gun Laws Increase Gun Ownership?
Many of the ‘older’ folks out there may remember the Port Arthur massacre that led to the introduction of strict gun control laws in Australia. Martin Bryant killed 35 people at the Port Arthur historical site in southern Tasmania
John Howard, the Prime Minister at the time responded to the shooting with a National Firearms Agreement that introduced tough gun laws and a gigantic buy-back deal.
Even though this lead to the destruction of 1,000,000 guns, Associate Professor Philip Alpers from the University of Sydney said “the one million guns destroyed after Port Arthur have been replaced with 1,026,000 new ones.”
“By 2015 the arms trade had broken all previous records, and in 2015 Australia ported 104,000 firearms,” said Associate Professor Alpers, founding director of GunPolicy.org.
He said the 1996 firearms laws resulted in a “gun swap” as banned rapid-fire rifles and shotguns were replaced with newly imported single-shot firearms.
“This could be a temporary illusion,” he said of the gun control legislation.
Those who already possess several guns have bought more,” Associate Professor Alpers said.
Did the Gun Buyback Program Decrease Gun Deaths?
While the gun buyback program of 1996 did decrease the amount of gun deaths in Australia, it did not decrease the amount of homicides. People just found other ways to kill each other.
Here is a chart showing the decrease in gun deaths in the country after the buyback program
As you can see, the gun buyback program does appear to have decreased gun deaths, yet as stated above, it DID NOT decrease homicides. In fact in 2002, six years after the program started and stricter laws were put in place, more homicides were actually committed. So not only did the stricter gun laws and buyback program increase the amount of guns owned in the country, it also caused the criminals to just find different ways to kill people.
As you can see in the chart attached, the homicide rate in Australia barely changed after the new 1996 laws. It is also important to note that the population of Australia is comparable to New York, one of America’s smallest states.
All Aussies Unhappy?
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party representative Robert Borsak said the laws addressed gun control from the wrong angle and non-registration of illegal firearms was the issue that should be focused on.
They are putting forward a bill in NSW to demand tougher penalties for criminals who use guns.
He argued the ban on most semi-automatic firearms has made it harder to control feral animals.
“What is important is the person that uses the firearm and all the things around the universal background checking that was introduced — safe firearm storage, training and all the other things that go along with it — really is the important part of what goes on,” Mr Borsak said.
“We also don’t think that registration per se has achieved very much.
“The non-registration of illegal firearms is the issue that we think should be focused on.”
The Federal Government is trying to change the law so that people found guilty of trafficking illegal firearms will go to jail for a minimum of five years.