Australia (courtesy watchmen-news.com)

An Australian student writes:

Hello,

My name is Taniesha and I am an 11th grade student in Adelaide, Australia. For my major school piece I am doing a comparative research project regarding laws, controversy and ethics surrounding the sale and use of firearms in both Australia and the United States. The question I am basing my assignment on is; “To what extent would America benefit from adopting Australia’s anti-gun laws?” As you can imagine, this has proven to be a very heavy, controversial question and I am seeking the views and opinions of both sides of the debate.  I found your website to be very interesting, and although it is not short of resources supporting your cause I would love to be able to get the personal view of someone within your organisation (or a few people, for that matter, as any and all opinions are greatly valued) surrounding . . .

 – America’s current gun laws
– Homicide/suicide rates
– School shootings
– Accidents involving firearms

And so on (i.e. how much of an issue is gun violence in America/how do you think further loss of life can be prevented etc.) Of course any response to my research question would be brilliant too!

I look forward to any response I may receive as I am extremely interested in this topic and the debates that take place within it.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.
Regards, Taniesha.

My response:

Thanks for writing! I’ll post this on our website so TTAG readers can chip-in, to give you a better idea of the pro-gun side here in The Land of the Free and The Home of the Brave. Meanwhile, my take . . .

The question assumes that America WOULD benefit from Australia’s gun laws. (I hate it what that happens!) America would NOT benefit from Australia’s gun laws, which restrict Aussies’ natural right to armed self-defense. Natural in the sense that we all have the right to defend our lives against those who would take it from us.

The question also assumes that gun laws should be based on social utility. In other words, government should be free to regulate/restrict gun rights to keep people safe. It’s not a question of “if” government should regulate the manufacture, sale and possession of firearms. It’s a question of “how.”

That’s an understandable position. But the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, like the right to free speech. Here in the U.S., our gun rights are subject neither to the democratic process – they’re protected by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution – nor arguments of social utility. It doesn’t matter whether or not society would be safer with tighter restrictions on guns.

And that means that the follow-up questions about the potential impact on the U.S. of Australian-style gun control legislation – which we already have in states like New Jersey and New York – are irrelevant.

I could argue the position that the greater the number of legally armed citizens the lower the crime rate (as outlined by author John Lott in his book More Guns, Less Crime). I could also argue that armed citizens stop mass shootings, and provide many examples. At the end of the proverbial day, our gun rights are non-negotiable. The challenges of reducing so-called “gun violence” require other answers, other approaches.

I’ll leave you with two important points.

First, the number of successful defensive gun uses in America is far greater than the number of firearms-related homicides, suicides and negligent discharges (death resulting) combined. The lowest estimate of successful DGUs: 55k per year. The highest: well over a million per year. You’ll find plenty of anecdotal evidence on our site and elsewhere of Americans who use guns to save lives. So if you’re still wondering if firearms freedom is a good thing or a bad thing generally speaking, wonder no more.

Second, the Founding Fathers enshrined Americans’ gun rights in the Constitution as a bulwark against government tyranny. We have protected gun rights to ensure that the government answers to We the People. The individual right to keep and bear arms is just as important today as it was on December 15, 1791, when the Bill of Rights was ratified. That may sound paranoid, but open your eyes. Government is now, as it has always been, as it will always be, the greatest threat to individual liberty. Which many maybe even most Americans value above all else.

Robert Farago
Publisher
www.thetruthaboutguns.com

197 Responses to Question of the Day: Would America Benefit From Australia’s Gun Laws?

  1. well if that isn’t the stupidest freaking question I’ve heard all month! why so we the people can become subjects, vs citizens, no freakin thanks! And just so that we go back to the past so we don’t forget it I thought we overthrew the British Empire back in the Revolutionary War??? Why are we so interested in becoming subjects again after only two hundred and thirty plus years????? You got a lot of balls asking a question like that on this website sir!

    • Because she is a young lady who doesn’t know better. Because she’s been fed lies and half truths. Because she needs to be handle gently and nicely and shown how she is wrong, not yelled at so she comes away with a positive experience of gun owners not someone who comes off as angry for asking a simple, albeit, misguided question.

      • I was concerned that someone would throw cold water on her. I wasn’t expecting it to be the first comment and I was hoping it wouldn’t happen at all. Calling someone stupid isn’t going to win any converts to your side.

    • I thought it was a fair and well posed question coming from an 11 grader who was not born in this country, and not necessarily familiar with our culture and political system. She was born post 1996 gun ban in Australia, and likely well indoctrinated with that point of view. She’s making an effort to be objective, which is more than I can say for most of our own media.

      • TTAG asked the stupid question “Would America benefit from Australia’s gun laws”
        The original question is “To what extent would America benefit from adopting Australia’s anti-gun laws?”
        The answer is an obvious negative benefit. But notice the original wording comes from a pro-gun point of view. She called Australia’s laws “anti-gun”.

        • Yes I caught that as well. Either possible pro-gun leanings or maybe she absorbed some of the familiar usage common here while perusing TTAG.

        • Hi, I’d like to make a point of saying that skewing the question in favour of either side was not my intention. Like I said to Robert in a later response, I am trying to make this research project exactly that – research, not an argument. I’m trying to keep as much bias from my assignment as possible so I apologise if it seems like otherwise. Thank you

        • Words have meaning and sentence structure has context. Written language can have various tone interpreted by the reader where spoken language can have the tone suggested by the speaker. Poll questions are often skewed to get a desired result. I’m not saying you did that. I just pointed out the difference between your question and the way it was posed here in the header. No worries.

        • Taniesha,

          You did an excellent job with the way that you worded your question. I applaud your tenacity, curiosity, and search for knowledge!

    • Easy, chuckles.

      Robert is helpfully posting this as a favor to an 11th grader doing a school report.

      It’s an opportunity to educate someone, not yell at them.

      • She deserves credit for a.) finding the site as a teenager in Australia; and b.) reaching out to RF for assistance. I do fear, however, that should she come to a conclusion other than “Australia gun laws would benefit the United States”, her grade will suffer.

      • +1

        Respectfully, I thought the question was very thoughtful and conveys a desire to understand American gun culture rather than condemn it. If we act like slovenly OFWGs whenever something like this arises we not only demean ourselves but give the antis more (pardon the pun) ammunition against us.

        Also, perfect response RF!

    • I agree that to us that is a silly question, but Id like to point out that the questions author is only in 11th grade. I think Australia’s gun laws got crazy around 1996. That was 19 or so years ago. The author has never lived in a society that looked favorably on guns. The mere fact that the author took the time to not only seek out this site, and then write Robert to get his side speaks volumes to me. The author is a smart kid who sees value in opinions that might contradict what they already “know”. That’s way more than the majority of stateside gun grabbers do on a regular basis.

      I think Roberts response was pretty good and hopefully the author writes back and they get a good dialogue going. We may end up with a new ally in the land down under.

    • Easy there, slappy. She’s just a high school girl in (post-ban) Australia asking a question. She got a good answer from RF and others below. She of course really should be asking ‘to what extent did Australia’s gun ban benefit Australia?’. She would then realize quickly that it’s more about politicians, control and media messaging, than it is about truth – or any decrease in crime, injury or death.

    • Ms. Taniesha,

      If you happen to visit this article, please ignore the troll posted above. He does not represent responsible American gun owners.

    • It’s sad that this is the very first comment response that people who visit this article will see. Yes, I agree with you in principle, but your delivery was rude, and to a young woman who is, in essence, asking for information. You missed an opportunity to provide information in a friendly way. Also, I know everyone hates the Grammar Nazi, but seriously, it only takes 1 (ONE) question mark (?) to make a question a question.

    • Good grief man, she’s an Australian child seeking information for a school project. You don’t HAVE to attack everyone asking a question as if they’re mentally challenged. Grow up. It’s called civil discourse.

    • You need to stop, think, and look around before you open your mouth. You sir are a disgrace. A young lady who is genuinely looking for real answers comes here to look for them, and the first thing you do is verbally abuse her. How do you think that’s going to alter her perception of the community? How do you think that’s going to color her opinion of the proponents of our rights? At a time where the spotlight is on us more than it’s ever been, you go off on a half-cocked tirade against someone wholly undeserving of your ire.

      I suggest you SIT DOWN and SHUT UP before you do any more damage.

      • Too late, you stuck your foot in it.

        Ms. Taneisha I am not a good on for the stats and numbers game. You ARE on one of the right sites. Just ignore the trolls. Another site that deals with stats and numbers is:

        http://extranosalley.com/ tag for “a polite society” on the right.

        He has the stats and numbers and can present them in a far better way than I can. TTAG guys please forgive me if this is a faux pas.

    • Also, what level of illiteracy and insanity have you attained where you think adding extra question marks and exclamation points makes your inane yelling any more valid? You only need one to convey the rhetorical intent of your statement.

      Sit down, and shut up, the adults are talking. You have less maturity than that 11th grader. When they reference “angry illiterate gun owners” they’re talking about DAVID. A man with anger problems and an attitude so sour he probably SHOULDN’T own guns.

    • “hi I’m from a different culture on the other side of the world and am reaching out to have a discussion on the controversial subject of gun control and am reaching out for your take”

      First reply “you’re stupid”.

      And here is a perfect example of one of the biggest problems that we on the pro 2A side have. Too many stubborn hammerheads that can only attack the opposition with dumb bombs instead of precision guided strikes.

      Actually IMO it’s one of the biggest problems in America.

    • Taniesha,

      It appears the antis were in first this time with one of their troll accounts.

      You should understand that most of these supposedly pro-gun comments spewing forth hate actually originate from various anti-gun groups. Because the antis do not have principle, facts, or logic on their side, they are left trying to inflame emotions. One way they do this is to make it appear that most gun owners are something they are not, by posting (and posing) as pro-gun as zealots in order to say outrageous things. Often, they will try to further their stereotypes by using poor spelling and grammar (even going so far as to undo corrections made by editing software). This post by “David” is a classic example — note the lack of capitalization, supposed poor reading comprehension (leading to his inability to discern your gender), the fact that he is punctuationally-challenged, and of course his crassly insulting a high school student who came here for information.

      Thanks for stopping by to comment — I wish you the best on your project.

    • I find it discouraging that the first comment to this student’s sincere question is basically “You’re stupid”.

      I find it completely encouraging the sheer volume of responses to that comment of basically “Shut up and leave the kid alone, you’re not helping any”.

      As others have pointed out, calling someone stupid won’t win you any converts…

    • If that is your “welcome to America” to someone asking a question for which they sincerely know no answer then you need therapy. And wow the first comment too. You must have rushed that post out without reading anything.

    • You are are a great example why conservatives have been saying for many years that liberals/ progressives hate children and are dangerous to them.

    • Are you really this ignorant David? We’re talking about an 11th grade girl who has for her entire life been living without the freedoms we’re defending. You need to look at yourself in the mirror and seriously rethink your position and the way you project yourself, because it’s doing both us as a community and most likely you personally no services.

    • I find myself wondering how it is that you can justify attacking someone for using their freedom of thought given that it is every bit of a natural right as the right to self defense that you clearly so adamantly support.

      I must have been mistaken with the impression that as a community we wish to educate people about firearms and freedoms, not be just as reflexive and overbearing as the anti-gun groups that we oppose.

      The point isn’t to stop someone from asking questions, that is reserved for dictatorships and the like. The point is to show them the real information that we are in fact not safer when you take guns away, that guns themselves do not do harm but it is people that do harm to others and will always find a way to do so. The reality that governments have never proven capable of keeping a banned item from the criminal element and that the same criminal element is more than happy to turn those items against the law abiding population as a whole to achieve their own ends.

      Here’s and idea, extract head from ass and maybe try to become a member of the community that benefits the cause instead of the sort of person that the antis point to and say “see, they are all just rabid violence mongers that you can’t talk to”.

      • the only point I was trying to put forward and maybe I was a little rude in doing so, was the fact that Australia in the United States of America are nothing alike you cannot compare one to the other its like apples and oranges! You would know that if you spend any time in Australia. plus the demographics prove that someone of her age is most likely anti-gun and you can see that if you read all of her comments.

  2. just saying, We the People have constitutional and God given freedoms that no other people in this world have available to them. I’d like to keep it that way I don’t know about the rest of you all? but I’ve had family fight in every war this country has had since the beginning, fighting for our rights as citizens and our freedom. and now we have this new president who’s the dictator and wants to take all our civil and religious freedoms away from us and claim that it’s in the safety for the people. I yell a big BS to that!

      • you’re darn right, I get very excited when people start making statements about our freedoms that are guaranteed to us by our Constitution! If it wasn’t for people like us that said this isn’t right our constitutional freedoms are being infringed upon, we’d probably already have a ban on firearms in America. I’m not just yelling to hear myself talk! I’m making a stand I don’t think it’s right what they’re doing in Australia to the people of Australia with their archaic gun laws and gun confiscations. I’m just worried that it may in fact try to be applied over here in the United States of America! Not to upset anyone.

        • I’m not just yelling to hear myself talk!

          Yes you are. Or you just like yelling at a 17 year old girl asking for information. Either way, you’re an ass.

          Don’t you have some kids to get off your lawn?

        • For what it’s worth, I’m an engineer who has spent nearly two decades working on cutting edge technology where the default condition is that nobody knows what they’re doing because nobody has done it before. Being ignorant is not a crime. Neither is asking misguided questions based on poor assumptions. Asking questions at all is a good thing and necessary to learning.

          Clearly you’re passionate about gun rights, but your original post came across as very negative and reactionary. You would do more benefit to our rights by finding ways to channel your passion into positive messages in support of gun rights. For example, telling us about your family members that have fought for us, what their ideals were, why gun rights were important to them and why gun rights are important to you now.

          If you only counter-attack anti-gun comments you’ll frustrate yourself and play endless defense. Go on the offensive by telling your story and just ignore the ignorant folk who are unwilling to listen.

        • you’re absolutely right, I’m sorry if I offended anyone. passion does sometimes get the better of me. my father and his six brothers fought in Vietnam. I was an only child and signed up when I was 17 into the army with parents consent. I’m or less read the question that was printed at the top and just kind of got pushed over the edge the straw that broke the camels back sort of speak lol. Hope everyone has a good day and a great weekend.

        • Happens to the best of us. Thank you for your service and your family’s service and have a great 4th.

    • So, no apology for acting like a complete asshole, I see.

      Your ancestors that you reference, would probably be ashamed that their descendant is using them as a reason to justify being such a rude jerk.

      • Indeed, all I hear is, “Blah blah blah, I have a constitutional right to be an asshole.”

        You sure do. Congratulations.

  3. NO-and aussies have a tiny population with a country as big as the continental US. You’d think a nation of mostly convict ancestors would have more guts-but I guess being a subject is heavily ingrained. Good luck with ISIS…

    • I think you did hit on one critical point – and it’s not “Australia being founded by convict ancestors”.

      Population. Population *density*. High density = high crime. Low income = High Crime. High density + low income = higher crime. There’s no correlation between gun laws and crime, it is far too complex an issue to be whittled down to the gun laws/number of guns in circulation (which shows an inverse correlation).

      When I was researching places to live around the country, I also saw a trend – which will probably make someone call me a racist. The more diverse the populace, the higher the crime rate. It seems when people live with people just like them, the lower the crime rate.

      So the best place to be? A rural setting with reasonably good economy and a relatively homogenous population. Gun laws make no difference.

      • “The more diverse the populace, the higher the crime rate. It seems when people live with people just like them, the lower the crime rate.”

        You will find this all over the world for the most part (first world nations).

      • Numbers and percentages aren’t racist, no matter how much Liberal/progressives want them to be.

        So instead, they make it politically incorrect to acknowledge the trurh.

        Politically Correct= Mind control by other mesns.

        • This is a faulty conclusion based off of compromised data. The conclusion that “races don’t mix well because of inner-city problems in the US” is just plain lazy and lacking critical thinking at best, and malicious at worst. First off, you have to consider the context that the races did not start in the US “as equal”. Secondly, the races weren’t recognized as equal under the law for the majority of the US until relatively recently. Still, that doesn’t mean that government power was automatically applied equally to the races immediately. Even today, studies show examples of prejudicial treatment of non-white people in many areas of the US, from use of deadly force by law enforcement to the crafting of legislation. Naturally, some people tend to mistrust a system they perceive (accurately or not) abuses them. And there are so many more factors to consider that I haven’t listed here or even thought of. You have to include them all before drawing such conclusions. If you want to be accurate, anyway.

          Dusting off your hands and saying “well, the numbers (on their face) aren’t racist” does nothing to help. It’s insular and intellectually lazy. If you need it to justify being prejudicial to someone different than you, that’s your right. But it doesn’t make it fact.

  4. But the question remains of who would benefit?
    The criminal class would benefit, for one.
    (just as it benefited from our former prohibition on alcohol, and from our currently null and void federal prohibitions on certain other intoxicating substances)

  5. Crime has dropped dramatically the last 20-30 year in the US., during which time gun sales and private gun ownership has gone through the roof. While one might say that the increase in private gun ownership might not be the sole reason for the drop in crime, what we CAN say is the increase in gun ownership doesn’t CAUSE crime… or you would see the exact opposite than whats happend the last three decades in this country.

    • I think this is a great point. I’m slightly leery of the argument “More guns automatically equals less crime”, simply because there are so many factors and components into what would drive someone to steal/rape/murder. But the fact that there are far more gun owners today owning far more guns and the crime rate overall has dropped in that time disproves “More guns automatically equals more crime”.

    • In other words, and I’m agreeing with you here:

      Correlation does not prove causation, but a lack of correlation does prove a lack of causation.
      If A is true and B is true, there is no proof that A causes B.
      However if A is true and B is not true, there is proof that A does not cause B.

  6. Good answer, RF. The answer, Taniesha, is none. We would not benefit at all. We would be deprived of a founding principle that our society was based upon; our freedom to defend ourselves and our families, and to defend our freedom itself, from all enemies both foreign and domestic, by deterrence first and foremost.

    Perhaps you should be asking a different question, such as: ‘To what extent did America benefit from prohibition on alcohol?’… or ‘to what extent did America benefit from the ‘war on drugs’?. Or even, ‘to what extent did Australia benefit from it’s own repressive gun laws?’ – with the dramatic increase in robberies, assaults, home invasions, etc… It is in answering these questions that the bigger picture will reveal itself to you.

  7. Unfortunately that’s how British Subjects think, the government is to be blindly followed and subjects should do as they are told. After all, it’s the government that allows them to work and provides them healthcare, so they would be lost without it.

    This kind of thinking and suppressive rulers is the reason the US broke away from British Rule and founded a nation where the people make the rules, not the “supreme leaders”.

    Let us all keep in mind on this Independence Day, when we broke away from British Rule there were a large number of people that didn’t want to, they wanted to be lead and told what to do. Those people, their thinking, never went away and they will always be among us, and always trying to take control and push us back into the control of a government.

    • “American criminals and politicians …”? REDUNDANCY ALERT, REDUNDANCY ALERT !

      Politicians who want to seize power and destroy our constitutional republic would certainly benefit. The founding legal document of the USA is the Declaration of Independence. That document describes many rights, but only one Duty: The duty to overthrow a tyrannical government. THAT is why the Founders added the 2nd amendment to the Bill of Rights, and that is why the statist politicians hate it so much.

      • Criminals are overt and politicians are covert using guile, wit, coercion and seduction to get their way…

      • How insane is it that we allow the existence of an institution charged with protecting our rights who is by far the biggest violator of them?

      • There must surely be some difference, because it’s easy to find criminals who are not simultaneously politicians. (The reverse isn’t true.)

  8. Hi, Taniesha,

    Robert has answered you quite well, and I have only little more to add. But first I will say that I enjoyed my visit to Australia some years back. You have a beautiful country.

    If your teacher would allow it — and I’m not sure that he or she would be that open-minded — you might consider revising your question to “How would Australia benefit from adopting the gun laws of the more free U.S. States?”

    While the spiritual and emotional benefits of the increase in personal freedom are immeasurable, the consequential reduction in crime, especially violent crime, especially forcible rape, would be more objectively apparent. Firearms and a free citizenry are public goods that extend beyond the individual benefit.

    Thanks again for your letter,
    James

    • Hi James,
      Changing my question will not be a problem as this is an independent assignment! I’m actually currently working on making changes to it now.
      The question you have suggested seems skewed towards the pro-gun side, and although I have no problem with that I’m trying to keep my project away from any bias – I’m going for more of an outsiders overall approach, rather than an argument against a particular side.
      Thank you for your input, it is much appreciated 🙂

      • Miss Taniesha,
        I am a gun collector and trained historian. To best answer the foundation for the second amendment it originates in Feudal English common law where when a serf was made a freeman he was given weapons of war (sword, lance, etc.) by his lord as the symbols of his freedom and these weapons could be used in a court of law as proof that he was free if his status as a freeman was disputed by others. Ultimately throughout the history of the world places that have allowed an armed populace are more free examples being Ancient Greece, Ancient Persia, Feudal Europe, to name a few, while the Oriental cultures like China and Japan being prime example have not allowed armed citizens and have had historically more repressive cultures.

        While that is the historic premise ultimately proper training, education,and attitude keep gun violence down. Regulating an inanimate object does not stop the people who want to cause violence or negate the fact that people are responsible for their actions no matter who raised them or how they were raised because in the end they made a choice.

        I hope this helps you a bit. Good Luck!

      • Taniesha: First, I want to commend you on your diligence in inquiring into a controversial question and reaching out to us on TTAG to get a non-PC viewpoint.
        Your question seems to be on the merits/demerits of widespread civilian gun ownership; quite an undertaking. I urge you to look at the question from a variety of facets.

        Big-Picture: See RJ Rummel’s Death by Government. Overwhelmingly, society’s greatest risk is genocide; or, more generally, democide – death by government. If you desire to make a society vulnerable to democide then you must disarm that society. Conversely, if your desire is to make a society resilient to democide then you must see to arming that society both mentally and physically. I.e., your society must be trained-to-arms to the point of being willing to use them to advance a moral cause. And, they must have arms and ammunition.
        Do not be beguiled by the idea that “It can’t happen here!” It can; and, it did. Pre-NAZI Germany was among the most cultured in Western civilization; still, they had no difficulty whatsoever marshaling genocidal acts on a scale heretofore unrecognized in the West. We in America would like to believe ourselves to be above all of this; but we deceive ourselves. It was not so long ago (pre 1970s) where the constabulary were in active collaboration with the KKK in suppressing the civil rights of black people. Today, we have some objective perspective on this history and we can see it for what it is. Today, we also have considerable controversy about the relationship between the Police and Black people; yet, we don’t yet have the perspective – at a national level – to sort out the differences between Ferguson vs. Baltimore.

        Micro-Picture: You should ask yourself: Do you have a right to defend yourself? Will you have a right to defend your children (husband, parents, neighbors)? If you were attacked by dangerous fauna? By a criminal? By a tyrannical government or its agent? If you have not this right of self-defense, do you have any rights whatsoever? Read the US Supreme Court decision known as Dred Scott. This pre-civil-war (i.e., era of slavery) determined that Black people had no rights under our Constitution which any white man was obliged to respect. Do you – too – have no rights under God or your Australian constitution which any man (of any color) is obliged to respect?

        Statistical: Personally, I’m not much interested in resolving philosophical problems using statistics. In the US – if you were in average circumstances – you would have an exceedingly low risk of being attacked. Assuming this is a statistically defensible position, do I have a legitimate power to disarm you? Perhaps your low risk is one which you are unwilling to accept for yourself. But, of course, I hypothesize an “average” set of circumstances. Former NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg – the primary sponsor of gun control here – is at considerable risk of being robbed; he is an exceedingly wealthy man. He protects himself with a Pretorian guard of 15 ex-NYC policemen on his payroll. Under US law, these ex-policemen are exempt from all State and municipal laws baring them from carrying concealed weapons. Does he have a “right” to hire a Pretorian guard who are exempt from gun carry laws? At the other end of the spectrum, consider a poor person. Perhaps a young man; or a young woman who might be a single mother – the sole support of her children. She is doomed to live in a poor and dangerous neighborhood. She might have to work a night-shift as a cashier in a convenience store or gas station. In about 12 jurisdictions (States, municipalities and the Federal District of Columbia) she is bared from carrying a gun. There is nothing whatsoever standing between her life and sudden death.

        Nevertheless, we can and should look at the statistics such as they are. The incidence of multiple deaths from a single shooting in the US are minuscule and not particularly distinguishable from those of other industrialized countries with strong gun controls. IF we were interested in a socially-useful distribution of resources we would find a whole host of worthwhile projects on which to spend billions of dollars – other than trying to stop school/church/mall shootings.

        We do have plenty of gun deaths in the US; about 30,000 per year. Of these, 20,000 are suicides; 10,000 are homicides. Other countries have far higher homicide rates than the US and they manage to achieve these rates without guns (e.g., Japan). If – magically – we removed guns from our society we would likely not reduce the number of suicides by much because Americans are ingenious enough to find other methods of killing themselves. Of the 10,000 homicides, the overwhelming majority are Black-on-Black crime; of the remainder, white-on-white. Gun control only affects the law-abiding; criminals ignore gun laws just as they ignore the laws against homicide. How much of a dent will be made in criminal homicide by reducing or eliminating gun ownership by the law-abiding.

        Defense by the State: Does the existence of an organized government with a police force change anything? Much of both your country and ours is rural. Assuming an emergency message can be sent and received, it may be an hour or more before any police might arrive on the scene. Is this a defense adequate to remove the right of self-defense? Much of the population in your country and ours is urban. Under the best of circumstances – again, assuming a message can be sent and received – police might arrive within 5 minutes or so. How long does a robbery, rape or murder require? Will a police response within an optional 5-minutes serve to protect you? Unfortunately, the state has yet to resolve the physics problem of the space-time-continoum.

        In every society resources available to the police are finite. Many municipalities in the US are either legally bankrupt – e.g., Detroit – or in grave financial straights – e.g., Milwaukee. The police forces in many such jurisdictions – typically were poor people live – have been cut-back and response times are 60 minutes or more. That is, we have in urban areas the same limits on effective policing as prevail in rural areas. In some cases, police leadership have figured-out the obvious. Detroit’s Chief of Police and Milwaukee County’s Sheriff – both Black men – have advised their constituents publicly and repeatedly to arm themselves. I.e., to apply for permits to carry guns and to carry guns on the streets.

        In America there is virtually no legal presumption that the police are obliged to protect any particular citizen. In virtually every court case judges have ruled in favor of police immunity. I.e., if the police do protect you that’s fine; but they do NOT undertake any obligation to protect YOU. YOU are ON YOUR OWN.

        Practical: Here, ultimately, you must decide whether you will live in a fantasy or reality. You know something of reality in Australia; no doubt, you have seen photos of your government collecting and destroying guns under your government’s gun-control.

        We Americans are a different people; we have a different culture. Our government could not succeed in collecting and destroying guns on a comparable scale. Were it to attempt to do so, our government would trigger a civil war. Neither our Federal nor any of our State governments wants to lose its grip on power immediately via civil war. Recently, 2 States (CT and NY) imposed registration requirements on so-called “assault weapons”. Data available indicates a compliance rate – merely on registration – of 5%.

        The US has between 290 and 320 million civilian guns. We don’t have a good count because we have virtually no effective system of registration. How would our governments make a meaningful reduction in this inventory in the face of active armed resistance by voter citizens?

        Let’s toy with the fantasy that the further sale of new guns could be stopped. Americans will simply make them. Gun manufacture is not high-tech; we aren’t talking about producing computer chips here. The nastiest part of making a gun is rifling the barrel; that problem was only solved relatively recently; just in time for our War of Independence. We beat the British in large part because we had rifles while they had only muskets (no rifling).

        American hobbyists now make their own guns by cottage-industry making of a simple part known as either a “frame” or a “receiver”. All of the remainder of the parts, barrels, hammers, springs, stocks etc. are available from numerous vendors mail-order (internet). There is NO paperwork whatsoever on the sale of any of these parts nor on the making of the frame/receiver. There are no markings required on any such gun.

        America is unique in this respect only in having modern and cheap machine tools. Google home made guns and you will find many countries’ citizens are producing cruder guns through hand craftsmanship..

        America has long land borders and sea coasts. America is absolutely helpless in stopping the flow of illegal immigrants or drugs flowing across its borders. Any constraint on the source of supply from domestic manufacture – clandestine or industrial – would easily be replace by imports.

        Our governments have, fundamentally, 3 choices:
        1. – relatively unconstrained civilian gun ownership by law-abiding citizens;
        2. – armed crime in major metropolitan areas against dis-armed victims;
        3. – civil war.

        The delusional gun-controllers will try to work themselves toward civil war via constraining the availability of arms in major metropolitan areas. As the defenseless and law-abiding citizens in these areas wake-up they will begin to question why their governments disarm them leaving the criminals free to prey at will. As carrying guns throughout the remainder of the country (40 States) becomes more popular, criminals will migrate toward the gun-controlled States to practice their vocation in safety.

        Where has Gun Control Worked? – You might look to countries that practice gun control; where has it worked? Where has it failed? Singapore and Japan are two countries where it has worked. Can you reproduce the circumstances in these countries elsewhere? Could the US become like Japan? Could Australia become like Singapore? Would you want that? Would Australians want that? Would Americans want that? Would such a cultural upheaval be worthwhile or even possible?

        Look at the places where gun control has failed; e.g., Honduras or Mexico. Mexico is quite close to the US geographically, economically and culturally owing to immigration. Could the US become much like Mexico under gun control? Would Americans want that? Would it be a desirable outcome?

        Taniesha, I encourage you to pursue your study of this fascinating topic. Tomorrow night, just before stores will close, step out of your safe home and walk to the nearest bookstore. Think about your ability to fight-off a larger male assailant who may be un-arned or armed with a blunt or sharp object. At the bookstore, ask for Death by Government by Rummel. Enjoy the read. I think you will come to the right conclusion; at least, the right conclusion for yourself.

        Then, consider immigrating to America. We need thoughtful young people such as you.

      • Hi, Taiesha,
        Thanks for the reply. I can understand the desire for a neutral statement. I do think your original title had its own bias, with a presumption that the U.S. would “benefit ” from adopting gun laws like those of Australia.
        Perhaps a better title and paper might be to compare the violent crime rates in Australia on the 10-15 years after their major gun ban, with the change in violent crime rates in the U.S. after (1) the expiration of the U.S. “assault weapons ban” in 2004 and (2) the great increase in concealed handgun (concealed carry) licenses over the past decade. You will have to do some original research from each country’s law enforcement statistics data bases, but it will be both valuable and interesting.
        Best wishes.
        James

  9. Be nice to the young lady. She’s actually taking the time to research and taking the extra step by contacting people well versed in american gun statistics.

  10. Here is my take, along with a bit of background. I’m a responsibly armed high-schooler in the United States. I’m currently saving and training to become a weapons trainer/gear shop owner. I don’t concealed carry, so obviously my experience is much less than some of the other gentlemen and ladies on this site, so take this for what it’s worth. History and the Bible has shown us that weapons save lives, and that banning weapons is quite harmful to the citizenry as a whole-let us examine history first. We can very well see that weapons have been used since Creation for both bad and good purposes-the bad is the killing of others, but the good is the defense of oneself and others, as well as the hunting of food. Without weapons, the Magna Carta would not have been signed, the Pilgrims would be no more, the Scottish Presbyterian Covenanters would be strewn about the Scottish highlands-I could go on, but you should get the point-weapons used in the right citizen’s hands save both lives and freedom. Aussie gun laws prohibit this. I do believe the recent Café shooting might have been averted, had a stalwart well armed pair or two had been armed. We see weapons bans used only for evil-Japanese peasants were banned from weapons by the tax collectors for fear of revolt over insane taxes-we can also examine the American War for Independence for another example of weapons confiscation used for ill purpose. We can also examine Scripture for a right view of the moral right to remain armed. Do examine Luke chapter 11:21, or 22:36-Jesus commands his disciples to arm themselves. This is not contradictory with the rest of Scripture-do read Psalm 144 for a proper view of a holy warrior (not Jihadist-this is thoroughly condemned, but a righteous man of God who defends himself and his people). In short, because we have the moral and Biblical right to own weapons, and weapons confiscation is ill indeed for the people-Australian gun laws would go foul indeed in America. Anyways, hope your assignment goes well.

    • Pro-tip: When holding a discussion with people from a culture that don’t place religion at the forefront of everything, using religious appeal will have no net positive effect. Just stick with the hard data.

      • Yep, nothing wrong with religion, but it’s like basing an argument on “because God says so,” when you’re debating with an atheist.

        That’s no insult to atheists either, just trying to make a point.

        • Thank you both for your critique-I’m not fully aware of the cultural background of Australia. Have a good day.

    • I’m going to have to agree with the other comments in stating that, generally speaking, religion is not as important a matter in Australia as it may be in America – most people I know are atheists, and this seems to be a common theme with this generation in particular.
      Regardless, I appreciate your response! 🙂

  11. Proponents of gun prohibition appeal to the utilitarian argument, “the greatest good for the greatest number.” Let us ignore for a moment that there are wildly diverging opinions on how to define “greatest good,” and simply point out the fact that there has never been a mass grave in history that wasn’t filled because of that same utilitarian argument.

    If you remain steadfast and consistent with the “it’s for safety!” appeal, then you reduce human life to something not appreciably distinguishable from prison. Prison offers shelter from the elements, 3 meals a day, and onsite medical care. It sounds like the perfect existence to those people who are trying to make the world into a giant kindergarten.

    • +1 Great comment. Would you mind if I used this? I usually just post my own opinions but this is so well written that I find it very Facebook worthy.

  12. Taniesha,
    If America had Australia’s gun laws, our homicide rates, home invasions, rape, robbery and other serious crimes would make this great country unlivable.
    Due to our founding fathers foresight, I am able to own or not own a gun, because I was born here. It’s my choice. Not the governments decision to make for me.
    Just like what type of food I choose to eat, or what kind of clothes I choose to wear. My choices.
    Freedom.
    It’s a beautiful thing.

  13. T, I don’t get into stats. Crime rates up or down? It’s meaningless when you hear glass breaking downstairs at 1.30 am. Ask me how I know.

    A person has a right to be secure in their own home and their loved ones have a right to be protected. A gun is still the best tool for that job.

    I think the question should be, would American style gun laws benefit aussies? Only you and your fellow countrymen can asnswer that question.

    • A person has the right to be secure anywhere they happen to be, not just in their own home. Opponents of the 2nd Amendment are already trying to eliminate concealed and open carry by arguing that the 2nd Amendment only applies to hunting and home defense. If they win that argument then the next thing they will do “for the kids” is say what kind of weapons you can and can’t have inside the walls of your home in order to protect yourself.

  14. RF, you still didn’t answer the question she asked. The answer is “none at all”. In the face of an inability to legally defend ourselves we would become distrustful of everybody, moreso than now. We’d have more street violence and more residential crime and a ton more people in the hospital getting treated for injuries sustained by exploding zip guns. America will not be left undefended by its people. By it’s government, perhaps.

  15. I lived in Adelaide and miss many things about Australia. However, it was startling to see how a nation that got its start as a penal colony, relinquishes so many freedoms that we take for granted in the US.

    Australia is called the nanny state. There are a lot of laws and regulations that seem incomprehensible to Americans – and vice versa.

  16. The better question is: in what ways would Australia benefit from a true American style constitution that would protect the rights individual citizens from inevitable government overreach. An additional benefit to Australia would be providing the means of individuals to protect themselves from criminal predation. Here in America we tend to assume an armed bad guy who breaks into a home and gets shot by the homeowner got what he had coming, and should he die any accomplices will be charged with murder.

    I am a among the more than 11 million Americans licensed to carry loaded firearms in public and have done so in excess of twenty years.

  17. A bit disappointed with some of the responses lambasting a student for asking a question. Most bothersome is that, from a social science perspective, her hypothesis has been assumed by our readership (that such laws would be beneficial) instead of relying on only that which was provided (the question itself).

    My response to the question:

    In theory, we would stand to benefit greatly. While we could lose shooting sports and fall back to bow hunting and bladed attacks/self defense, there would be a clear drop in the quantity and ease of violence. I think it could be great.

    Reality stands in contrast. The only way for such laws to be well and truly effective would be to eliminate every firearm everywhere in the world and eliminate all gunsmithing knowledge. That means books and people. This is clearly an impossible task, for even with the elimination of firearms, eventually someone will look for an advantage and the knowledge would be rediscovered. The reason for the need to completely eliminate firearms would be one of balance. Any law that restricts those who obey stands to benefit those that feel the gain of violation outweighs the cost of consequence. More simply, when you ban something, criminals benefit at the expense of the honest.

    To put the issue in terms of one that may be closer to home, consider software and music licensing. The more restrictions that are in place on distribution and the more hurdles to obtain a license, the more people pirate. As a result, those who pirate have music and functioning software that those who wait for proper licensing and run through hurdles do not. In Australia, this also means that they have access to video games and Internet sites that the law-abiding do not. It’s the negative impact of a paternal government.

    In sum, America would not stand to benefit from Australian style laws.

    • Thank you for providing such an in depth response! I truly appreciate it. Personally, I don’t mind any ‘negative’ comments as I knew this kind of thing would happen delving into a controversial topic such as this. I find it interesting to read all opinions and points of view. Thank you again for your response! 🙂

    • @katy That was a great well reasoned reply. Touching ideas on both sides of the fence, yet not so highbrow I coudn’t understand. Hat tip to you.

  18. I took a Visiting Relative out to the range, and let him Fire off a few rounds. From a .22, 44 Mag, and 9mm handguns. His favorite by far was an AR-15. All he said was OMG this is so much fun..and Aussie guns laws suck.

  19. Depends on how you look at it.
    The politicians, PAC’s and every cog of the police state would benefit greatly.

  20. An important measure was missed – and it is one which is hard to calculate because of the dearth of accurate, standardized data on the subject.

    There are *lot* of instances where this occurs, often only reported if a shooting occurred, and then only reported in local or regional news because of the national mainstream anti-gun media’s unwillingness to provide any information that would show a benefit to being armed with a gun.

    **Violent crime prevented because the attacker or attackers were thwarted by the victim being armed.**

    I can speak from personal experience that just casually revealing you are armed with a holstered sidearm will immediately cause several bad guys clearly contemplating an imminent attack in an isolated location to immediately break off and depart the area. No draw, no shots, not even acknowledgment of their presence or threat other than a casual glance in their direction.

    Virtually no one will report such an event to local law enforcement, so it goes essentially unnoticed in the benefit to being armed category.

    • Taniesha,

      Though this topic of defensive gun uses (DGU) was addressed in the second to last paragraph of Robert’s response to you, it cannot be amplified enough. It goes to the heart of the benefit of armed self defense.

  21. Taniesha, would Australia benefit from taking in all America’s Crips, Bloods, Latin Kings, MS-13, Zoe Pound Gang, Gangster Disciples, Los Zetas, Mexican Mafia, Sureños, Norteños etc.? Could Australians protect themselves? With what?

    • ^This. This. This. This. There is MUCH more to take into consideration than the availability or quantity of firearms. If you took the gang-related murders and assaults where firearms were involved out of the statistics, our rates would be comparable to other 1st world countries.

  22. That is the best response to the questions regarding gun control. Of course all the anti gun, gun control freaks refuse to understand that there are some rights that are inherent to a free society and cannot be infringed upon an overreaching tyrannical body. Simply put, gun control and gun restrictions do not work. Criminals, terrorists or whathaveyou simply do not recognize the letter of the law or respect it. And regardless of how the media would like to portray it, the government is acccountable to the THE PEOPLE. Not the other way around. The idea of gun ownership ensures that accoutability.

  23. Crime in the US has gone down considerably over the last 30 years or so, as gun ownership has increased. Crime has gone up dramatically in Australia since the gun-ban. There’s the answer.

  24. Nothing to add, Robert. Your answer was great.

    Well, okay, one add: Literally millions of times each year in this country, people go shooting together as a recreational activity. Men, women, and supervised children enjoy it. MILLIONS. Will all those outings, the number of deaths and accidents is miniscule. The news articles about shootings are generally a few bad apples – criminals, gang members, crazy people – who aren’t allowed to own guns anyway by law. Instances where gun control has failed, as usual. So really, the number of bad shootings proportionally is EXTREMELY low. Fractions of fractions of a percent. Should the general public, the millions who shoot several times per year without incident, be penalized because of the actions of a few dozen bad people every year? NO. NEVER! We’re not the problem.

  25. Gun Control would NOT benefit our country. It would only lead to a rise in violent crimes like it did in Australia and only criminals would have guns. Gun laws don’t keep criminals from getting guns, it just makes sure law abiding folks who are not criminally inclined in the first place are unable to defend themselves against criminals who do have guns.

  26. I the job of government is to keep us safe, then the best way for it to do that would be to place us all in prisons where they could have the maximum amount of control over all of our activities. The most important function of government is to protect our liberties, not our bodies. At some point everyone in the world is going to die, but most of those people will never know what it is to live as free person. I refuse to surrender my freedom in some vain effort to delay the time of my death. To voluntarily surrender your liberties in effort to scratch out a few more days of life is to dishonor all of the people who gave their lives to secure those liberties.

  27. The only way to stop a “bad guy” with a gun, is a “good guy” with a gun! This phrase has been proven over, and over again. Believe it!

  28. Point by point, to more directly address her questions:

    1) America’s current gun laws
    They make no sense. None at all. The Assault Weapons Ban for example, banned an entire class of weapons based upon cosmetic features. I don’t recall any shooting ever which has been facilitated because a rifle had a pistol grip. Magazine size restrictions similarly make no sense. The Washington Navy Yard shooter used a shotgun and had to reload several times. Most mass shootings in the US involve shooters who either A) have multiple loaded weapons or B) reload several times. There is no evidence suggesting reducing the magazine size will help in a mass shooting situation, nor is there evidence to suggest it will prevent crime. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that the restrictions may reduce the ability of law-abiding citizens to adequately protect themselves. For example, in the New Jersey mall parking lot murder, there were four attackers. Several states, including my own, restrict magazine sizes to 10 (which incidentally is appreciably lower than the normal capacity for normal handguns, i.e. similar to what police would carry). If the victims had a gun with which to defend themselves (which they couldn’t because they lived in New Jersey and the only way to get a carry permit is to be politically connected, even if the law says that the permits can be issued) and the attackers did not break off the attack, it is entirely possible that 10 rounds would not be sufficient to stop four people. Unlike the movies, people do not simply drop after being shot once, and particularly motivated or drugged-out attackers will often not stop even after being shot multiple times (ask a police officer). Long story short, gun control laws are generally logic-free zones.

    2) Homicide/suicide rates
    The best data available (and the most useful for your purposes) for homicides is the FBI Uniform Crime Report.
    https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/ucr
    This is a treasure trove of data which will allow you to look at the raw numbers broken down in a variety of different ways. Unfortunately I can’t help with Australia’s data. First, making an apples-to-apples comparison is difficult because definitions are often very different between countries, as is the level of reporting. John Lott has some interesting comparisons on his blog regarding Australia’s crime numbers. In summary, homicides in the US have been steadily decreasing since the early 1990’s (before and after the Assault Weapons Ban). This is despite tens of millions more guns in civilian hands. Correlation does not equal causation, and it would be inappropriate to fully attribute that fall to the presence of more guns, but it certainly disproves the contention of gun control advocates that more guns equals more crime. Also, comparing the US to other countries is often a fools errand. As has been recently discovered in the UK (US gun-control advocates favorite comparison) the numbers have been fudged so that police commissioners can claim huge performance bonuses. In addition, the definitions of homicide vary quite a bit when it comes to the statistics. In the UK, it doesn’t get counted until someone is convicted for a crime, and only then in the year of the conviction, not the actual crime. That makes their statistics just about useless. Compare that to the US where if somebody is killed, and it’s not a suicide, it gets listed as a homicide.
    With respect to suicides, that is a more difficult issue. There is some good mental health research to suggest that many people who attempt suicide but fail do not attempt it again. There is also a much higher completion rate (apologies for the euphemism, but it’s the term used) when a gun is used over other methods (asphyxiation, overdose, etc.). However, the idea that you can somehow reduce suicides solely by removing guns is unsupportable. First, look at Japan. Guns are basically illegal in Japan, yet their suicide rate is almost twice that in the US. Obviously removing guns from the equation hasn’t stopped people from committing suicide. There are cultural issues at play that are driving suicide numbers, not the availability of one particular method. The fact that in the US a large proportion of suicides are attempted with a gun is irrelevant. If you are trying to kill yourself, you are generally going to use what you believe to be an effective method, and if a gun is around that would be the obvious choice. Removing the gun from the equation won’t fix the desire to end your life, and there are plenty of other readily-available ways to do that.
    3) School shootings
    Despite what you hear from the news, school shootings are a statistical anomaly. They are horrific events, and we should certainly think of ways to protect schools, but removing guns won’t solve the problem of violence directed at schools. Schools are “soft targets” in that they are, by law, “gun-free” zones. That means people licensed to carry firearms cannot do so on school grounds. Criminals and mass murderers obviously don’t much care about obeying that law. Even in the hypothetical case where you magically removed all guns from the US, you wouldn’t stop these kinds of events. For an example, look at the Boston Marathon bombing. They used pressure cookers to create bombs from everyday materials. Guns were in no way involved in the initial attack. If somebody truly wants to to something horrible, they can just as easily do that with stuff bought from the local hardware store or gas (petrol) station. If we really want to stop these mass shooting events, we need to look at rebuilding the mental health system that state governments have spent the last two decades dismantling.

    4) Accidents involving firearms
    Accidents happen. Unfortunately that is life. They happen with cars, kitchen knives, chlorine bleach, painkillers, and just about every other everyday item you can think of. In fact, if you look at Center for Disease Control data, unintentional drowning is the leading cause of death in children 1-4. Firearm homicide only comes into play as a leading factor in the 15-24 age group. The obvious cause of this is that this is the age group most associated with gang activity. Take a look at the CDC’s data yourself:

    http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/pdf/leading_causes_of_injury_deaths_highlighting_unintentional_injury_2011-a.pdf

    • Also, I would like to thank you (Taneisha) for having the courage to ask this community an honest question. Many people do not ask questions, they simply start with a conclusion and look for evidence that apparently backs their claim. Keep asking questions, it will serve you well.

      • Hi Kyle,

        Thank you so much for not only giving a thorough response but looking past the initial question and addressing particular points. The addition of the links you have provided will prove to be very helpful, and I will absolutely be referring back to your comment as I write my assignment.
        I must say I’m very pleased with the responses I have received so far from this community, you have all been very helpful! 🙂

  29. Tanieisha,
    Take a look at this survey of police officers in the US. It provides a unique prospective from the viewpoint of Police Officers who are much more likely to have hands on experience dealing with weapons related crimes.
    Draw your own conclusions but it is clear that the vast majority of police want MORE citizens to be armed who have passed background checks and are licensed to carry firearms.
    http://www.policeone.com/Gun-Legislation-Law-Enforcement/articles/6183787-PoliceOnes-Gun-Control-Survey-11-key-findings-on-officers-thoughts/

  30. Since the Bill of Rights doesn’t apply to Australians (although it should), the question is: Do one believe people have the right to defend themselves, and with what? Fully knowing that criminals continue to illegally smuggle items into the country.

    My answer, stopping a criminal also prevents future victims and crime. It’s a citizen’s responsibility out of love for their country.

  31. Taniesha,

    There is a very understandable drive on the part of some people to limit guns in order to limit gun deaths. I know well-meaning people who say, “get rid of the guns and that leads to elimination of gun deaths.” Of course we, on this side of the gun debate, also know there are very, very many people on the anti-gun side that simply want the government to take care of them, protect them, and make all the scary people stay away.

    There are really good statistics that seem to show that more guns leads to more death by guns. The problem is this: more of something that contributes to an outcome is a low-value comparison. I live in the desert in New Mexico. No one dies of alligators in New Mexico, but they do in Florida, where alligators are very common (like parts of Australia, I understand, though your gators or crocodiles are MUCH larger than ours). If a state has more guns, more people may die from guns, but then more people who smoke tend to die from lung cancer than those that do not. Simple comparisons do not tell the whole story, nor are they EVER the root of good public policy.

    Here’s the problem: If you limit a comparison to only the number of guns and the number of gun deaths, you miss a critically important corollary – which very few people on the anti-gun side want to admit – which is that gun deaths is one thing, while violent crimes is another. Consider that the UK has some of the strictest gun laws in Western Europe. Their gun deaths are a fraction of those in the US. Excellent! Let’s implement those laws in the US and we will get the same result!

    Ok, but we would get ALL of the same results, and many of them are downright ugly. The UK is the second-most violent country in Europe, second only behind Russia. Wait a minute! The UK is a civilized place! They have most excellent results in dropping gun deaths! Yes, but the violent crimes involving rape, assault, home invasion, etc. are literally exploding. It is so bad that the police have been caught again and again in lying about the total crime figures. The violent crime rate in the UK is FOUR TIMES higher than in the US – which is the bad boy in terms of gun laws in the “civilized, industrialized world.”

    Similarly, if you eliminate guns, you could eliminate two-thirds of gun deaths in the US because firearms are used in those suicides. Very reputable studies from Canada show that reducing firearms may reduce suicides involving guns, but it does NOT affect the total number of people who kill themselves; they just use a different method. Japan has perhaps the strictest gun laws on the planet. There are NO firearms used in suicides. Yet their total rate of suicides is much greater than the US.

    As Robert and many others already stated better than I could, all of the comments above are a moot point. The right as a person individually – or as a People collectively – is protected in the US Constitution and exists independent of any whim of a mob raising the bloody shirts of those murdered by a maniac with a gun.

    Is Australia better off with the draconian gun laws passed in 1996? Well, it sure seems like it, after all, there have been no substantive mass shootings. So the law was a success, right? Well, when you look at overall violent crime rates across the industrialized world, and how those rates are trending, the US is somewhat of a standout in that our rates of violent crimes continue to decline. Not true in any of the countries in the Commonwealth, sadly including Australia.

    Good luck with your research assignment. Keep asking good questions, but remember this: “enlightened” is not necessarily synonymous with “wisdom.”

  32. Great answer RF.

    Since we try to maintain the moral high ground, pretty disappointing to see responses attacking a high school student trying to ask what seems like an objective question(given a reasonable amount of bias growing up post ban as was said above).

    Taniesha,
    Disregard the trolly responses, its the internet and you just cant avoid it. I would encourage you to delve into the history of the 19th and 20th centuries and uncover a little more of dark side of totalitarian power and its relationship to gun control.
    This video is something I enjoy showing to people that are on the fence or at least willing to look at info with an open mind. I find that the video medium works a little better to get people “in the door” initially.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NN0vkSO9n8Y&feature=youtu.be

    Hope you find the info you’re looking for,
    Taylor

  33. in the United States of America we have a real issue with political correctness and the banning of things that may hurt you! case in point if you’re about 40 years of age right now you remember three wheel ATVs. some jackass decided that they were too dangerous for racing and outdoor activities such as trail riding, so they ban them you can even use one on public property anymore because you can be charged with a misdemeanor and have your property seized just for ridding a three-wheeled ATV. the same thing happened in the late seventies with mini bikes in some counties and states in the United States. they were deemed too dangerous for young kids to operate so they were banned. did absolutely nothing to save lives in both instances. more political correctness!

    • This young lady isn’t concerned with the intricacies of political correctness or the status of ATVs in the US. Let others, who are better suited to debate, deal with this.

      • you know this is the worst I’ve ever been chastised on this board what has happened to this website?? I’m a disabled combat veteran with four and a half tours under my belt and Iraq and Afghanistan I have sight problems due to losing my left eye and some of my vision in my right that’s why some of my spelling is off I have to use a voice text app. all I was doing was comparing things two other situations that have happened in this country in the past. for you to all gang up and start ridiculing me is absolutely ridiculous my 1st Amendment right lets me speak however whenever I shouldfeel the need to. I call an ace in ace of spade a spade no matter who’s holding the deck of cards. I may not have a college education and degree, but that doesn’t mean my input on this subject is any less worthy than yours. I carried a rifle for a living for four and a half years defending the freedoms and constitutional liberties of this country and it makes me damn mad when people start implicating that those rights are not valued and are not important anymore I’ve got a handful of friends that didn’t make it back from over there that gave their life for your ability to ridicule me under the First Amendment. & I will commit I just thought we had a better class of people on this website.

        • It’s not ridicule.
          What you just typed in known on the web as a “wall of text”. No one wants to read through a wall of text. Break up your thoughts into discrete paragraphs. It’s not college-level stuff, and it makes your posts much easier to read.
          My main issue is that you epitomize the “angry, ignorant gun owner”, an image many of us would like very much to shed. This young lady comes to this site kindly asking for input. You pounced on her quite rudely, posting various walls of text bitching about a variety of issues like American history, political correctness, ATV safety, and bible verses. Then you drag out the vet card to shield against any backlash you receive.
          Take a breather.

        • You made an earlier comment that you were a high schooler with dreams of opening a shop for mall ninjas, now you have four and a half tours in Iraq and Afghanistan? I think the former is closer to the truth.

        • I’m totally going to let that one go, you have me confused with someone else I never once on this board posted anything about opening a store in a mall or opening a store of any kind for that matter! You definitely have me confused with another david

        • and if you want to get down to brass tacks I ain’t scared I got the DD 214 to prove it and the shrapnel fragmentation and part of my face gone but if you want to keep this up we’ll go. obviously you need to respect people that I fought for this country and our Constitution and took an oath to the Constitution to defend it against any enemy foreign or domestic! Roger that!

        • There may be more than one “David” posting. Usernames do not always = person behind the keyboard.

        • I’ve met many combat vets, the best among them would NEVER stoop to such rudeness then whine about how they’re entitled to a pass for it because they are combat vets.

          You, sir, are STILL being an utter jackass.

      • @andyNC Get off your high horse, pull your pantys out of your crack. You got your Davids mixed up. He had a point.
        @SteveinCO name calling is not gonna help anyone. You do not know.

  34. Taniesha,

    Criminals don’t follow laws.

    Therefore, having a law against gun ownership at the best inconveniences criminals who want guns.

    It is much better for a criminal to fear being shot by someone law-abiding than for the law-abiding to hand over their weapons and be preyed upon by the criminals who will use guns to rob, rape, or worse.

  35. Taniesha, first please allow me to apologize for some of the more admittedly hostile responses; many of us have become rather sensitized to prejudicially phrasings such as “how would the US *benefit* from more gun laws?* and/or a focus on *gun* violence as though there is no other form of equally fatal violence.

    I would also caution you to remember the relatively unique demographics of the United States — the Black and Hispanic populations of the U.S. tend to have much higher rates of violence than the White and Asian populations. One notorious “study” in the eighties purported to find that gun laws lowered murder rates by comparing Vancouver, BC with Vancouver, Washington. That study more or less disappeared after another American researcher pointed out that the lower homicide rates appeared to be more a result of different population mixes — in fact, the homicide rates among minorities was actually HIGHER in the Canadian city and the overall rate of homicides only appeared lower because such minorities comprised a much smaller percentage of the population there.

    Finally, since you appear to be a sincere and fair-minded individual, I’d like to recommend some background reading for you. The first is a pretty in depth overview of the loss of gun rights in both the British Commonwealth and the United States — http://www.guncite.com/journals/okslip.html. The second is the 1982 U.S. Senate subcommitte’s report on the U.S.’s Constitutional protection of the right to keep and bear arms — http://www.constitution.org/mil/rkba82.pdf. And finally, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control webpage where one can compare the number of deaths by a variety of user-selectable causes, ages, and ethnicities — http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate10_sy.html.

    I hope the above helps you in writing your paper. Please let us know how it turns out.

    • Hi Chris,
      No need to apologise! Going into this topic I was fully aware of the responses I may receive. I make an effort to look at things with an open mind and take a moment to try and understand where each opinion is coming from. And frankly, as a teenager that has grown up in a very technology oriented environment, you tend to grow a thick skin.
      As said in one of my previous comments, I am currently working on adjusting my question 🙂

      Thank you for your input and the links you have provided, I can assure you it is greatly appreciated! My paper is a major piece – in Australia we have a school subject literally called ‘Research Project’. It’s actually for seniors/year 12’s, but I had the opportunity to do it this year. It’s quite daunting, because if we fail (receive a lower grade than a C for the whole folio, assessment and outcome) then we don’t get our version of a high school certificate – in my state it’s called SACE.
      So, in other words, if I fail this assignment it directly effects my ability to get into a University after high school. Pretty crazy, but I hope that all of the help I have gotten from TTAG’s community will aid me in succeeding 🙂

  36. My name is Taniesha and I am an 11th grade student in Adelaide, Australia. “To what extent would America benefit from adopting Australia’s anti-gun laws?”
    None, as your own police departments have stated that most of the guns used in Australia’s criminal actions are illegal guns to begin with.
    I would state that the problem is not guns, but the culture of the people involved and amount of criminal gang activity..
    http://bearingarms.com/black-america-bloody-mess/
    Homicides per 100,000.
    USA black is 19.4 and gun control can be ridiculous.
    USA white is 2.5 and gun control is lax.
    Finland is 2.0 and gun control is lax
    UK is 1.1 and gun control is ridiculous.
    Australia is 1.1 and gun control is ridiculous.
    Austria is 1.1 and gun control is lax.
    Germany is 0.8 and gun control is ridiculous.
    Switzerland is 0.7 and gun control is lax.
    I am mostly of German and Swiss descent and have lived in such communities in Indiana all of my life. I would state that gun violence in most of the areas that I have lived in has been rather low. North and South Dakota are heavily German and their murder rates probably average around the 1.1 mark. I wish I could provide you with some hard numbers of rural and small town Indiana, but usually they are quite low and about close to Germany as they should be.

    • Here are some crime rates from small towns of Indiana close to where I have lived.
      Violent crimes per 1000
      Decatur .74
      Greensburg 2.84
      Brownsburg 1.05
      Batesville 2.60
      Lawrenceburg .98
      Huntington 1.77

    • This is typical of small town Indiana where most households have at about three guns.
      Pulaski County had one homicide in 2012. Records over the past decade or so are a little spotty, but it looks like there was one homicide between 2003 and 2008. On the Sperling’s BestPlaces violent crime scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being most violent, Pulaski County rates a 2.
      Just keep in perspective, most households in non urban Indiana have about an average of three guns.

  37. “Would America Benefit From Australia’s Gun Laws?” I’d say not what with the very real risk of a civil war.

  38. Taniesha,

    America is a large and diverse country. We have 318,000,000 people spread over 9,870,000 square kilometers. We have 50 states and innumerable cities, counties, and towns within these states. The United State’s federal government, each of the 50 state’s state governments, and each city, town, and county within these states all have their own gun laws (sometimes the local governments don’t). These laws range from allowing ownership and the ability to openly carry in public nearly any kind of firearm that is not fully automatic to laws that are more restrictive than Australia’s.

    Some of the most liberal gun laws are in the states of Vermont, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, and Arizona. Some of the most restrictive are gun laws are in the states of New Jersey, New York, California, and Maryland and the cities of New York, New York, Chicago, Illinois, and Washington D.C.

    If you look at U.S. rates of homicide and violent crime, you will quickly see a correlation between liberal gun laws and low rates of homicide and violent crime. The reverse is also true. Those places with the most restrictive gun laws often have the highest rates of homicide and violent crime.

    Correlation is not causation. These correlations do not prove that liberal gun laws reduce crime nor do they prove that restrictive gun laws increase crime. These correlations do, however, provide very strong evidence that restrictive gun laws do not reduce crime: The places with the most restrictive gun laws tend to have more crime while the places with the most liberal gun laws tend to have less. In other words, something other than gun laws controls the frequency with which people commit crimes.

    Generally, proponents of restrictive gun laws argue that restrictive gun laws will reduce crime. There is little, if any, evidence that enacting more restrictive gun laws has caused a reduction in crime anywhere. The number of crimes committed with guns might go down, but the number of violent crimes actually committed tends to stay the same or go up. To prove their point, the proponents of restrictive gun laws have to ignore crimes committed without guns. However, a person robbed, raped, or killed is just as robbed, raped, or dead regardless of whether the criminal used a gun to commit the crime.

    These trends play out on the international level too. There are countries with very liberal gun laws with very little crime like Switzerland and Finland. There are countries with very restrictive gun laws with lots of violent crime like Mexico and Venezuela. Proponents of restrictive gun laws usually select countries with both restrictive gun laws and low crime rates to support their position. They then lump these countries together and call them something like “developed” or “industrialized” to make it sound like the gun laws have something to do with the low crime rates compared to the rest of the world. The proponents never try to explain why the world is full of countries with both restrictive gun laws and high levels of violent crime.

    Your country, Australia provides an interesting case. Australia began severely restricting gun ownership in 1996. Using the Australian government’s own statistics, homicide rates were stable from 1997 through 2003. Beginning in 2003, homicide rates declined slightly. The rate of armed robbery increased significantly from 1997 to 2002 (on the order of 46%!) but returned to 1996 levels by 2004. Unarmed robbery followed a similar trend. Sexual assault increased significantly (about 20%) and only returned to 1996 levels in 2012. Clearly, the new gun laws did not cause a reduction in crime.

    This all brings us back to the essential point that something other than gun laws controls the frequency with which people commit crimes. This statement is obvious on its face and backed up by objective evidence. However, once its truth of the statement is acknowledged, the rationale for depriving people of their right to arm themselves quickly evaporates. If there is no evidence that more restrictive gun laws reduce crime, what then is the reason that so many governments in the world want to disarm their citizens?

  39. It must be remembered that in the middle ages, and the time of Christ, Thousands upon thousands of people were slaughtered, and guns had not even been invented yet. Swords, sabers, hatchets, and battle axes were the weapon of choice.
    The point here is that when a person wants to end the life of another, there are plenty of methods available. I personally would rather be shot to death, than “Hacked” to death!

  40. Taniesha,

    No honest study has been able to prove a correlation between gun control laws and reductions in violent crime. This site just debunked the most recent dishonest study that purportedly showed a decrease in gun homicides in Connecticut due to the passage of a new gun law. Violence is a very complicated problem that cannot be blamed on a single factor, least of all the tools used to commit it.

    Criminals by definition do not follow the law. They will obtain guns no matter what laws anyone passes. Mexico is overrun with gun violence in spite of an almost complete prohibition on civilian gun ownership. The terrorists who attacked Charlie Hebdo acquired their guns in Belgium, which means they defeated the gun laws of two countries in order to carry out their attack. England experienced a large increase in gun crime due to increased gang violence, in spite of passing new laws that made it harder for average citizens to own guns. Criminals have even begun manufacturing their own guns in the Philippines and Australia, as well as other countries. In short, gun control is a futile endeavor. Governments can no more control the flow of guns than they can control tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs. Criminals will always create a black market for illegal items that are in demand.

    So my answer is No, America would not benefit from Australian-style gun laws. Criminals would not turn in their illegal guns to any government buyback scheme. On the contrary, they would import more and continue with business as usual.

  41. “The question I am basing my assignment on is; “To what extent would America benefit from adopting Australia’s anti-gun laws?”

    Taniesha,

    America is a Constitutional Republic not a Democracy and the Constitution clearly states that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. In order for America to adopt Australia’s gun laws every politician would have to violate their oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution (which they swore before God) and for this We the People would demand their lives of them, so no America would not benefit in any way from the Tyranny and oppression (not to mention Treason) that would be required for your gun laws to be put into effect here America.

  42. Unlike citizens of the British Commonwealth who pretty much roll over for any laws passed, even if their freedom of speech, due process and privacy is compromised, Americans are much less tolerant of infringements of liberty. If America was to pass Australian style gun laws, there would be civil disobedience on a massive scale. And that would apply not just to gun rights, for example “hate speech” laws would be ignored.

  43. First, ask yourself if Australia has seen any benefit from their gun laws. And by benefit, I mean reductions in violent crime, murder, etc. Have they seen any actual reduction in guns in Australia? Do the criminals have fewer guns in Australia than they did before? From everything I’ve read, including studies done by Australian universities, the answer to all of those questions is no.

    So if Australia hasn’t seen any benefit from their own gun laws, then the laws don’t work. And if the laws don’t work, nobody will see any benefit.

    • Unfortunately I cannot accurately answer all of your questions myself as the gun buyback and restrictions took place in 1996 – two years before I was born. I do know Australia has had no mass shootings since the restrictions in 1996, and over 700,000 weapons were surrendered in the ’96 buyback but I am not able to comment on reductions in other types of crime and the amounts of guns criminals possess.
      http://loc.gov/law/help/firearms-control/australia.php
      Thank you for your reply 🙂

  44. Taniesha,

    RF hit the nail on the head…the assumption you start with, to us in the U.S., is a false assumption (that the U.S. would benefit from Australia-style anti-gun laws).

    For violent crime data, I would point you to FBI crime statistics, which has data through 2013:

    https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/violent-crime/violent-crime-topic-page/violentcrimemain_final

    If you correlate the violent crimes with gun ownership, there is a case that can be made that states higher gun ownership results in LESS violent crime, not more.

    Additionally, the FBI does NOT report the number of defense gun uses (DGU) per year that prevented a crime. While numbers would be tough to come by factually, estimates state that these numbers would far exceed the number of homicides resulting from illegal gun use. (Which means a good case can be made regarding the benefits of gun ownership).

    My last point regarding the FBI data is this: these numbers include gun deaths throughout the U.S. — including our crime-ridden, gang-infested inner cities. Drill down into some of the tables at the link above that break out metropolitan areas, versus more rural areas. You will find that most of these homicides occur within our large cities and are related to gang/drug activity. Any anti-gun laws will only affect the law-abiding citizens and will have no impact on the gang-bangers in the cities who don’t follow laws to begin with.

    So, bottom line is that…maybe you should rephrase the question…as it is very clear from a U.S. gun-owner’s perspective that Australia-style anti-gun laws will only deprive law-abiding American citizens from their natural God-given right to self defense and would make the U.S. MORE dangerous, not less dangerous.

    Good luck with your research! You’ve chosen a great, timely, relevant topic.

    • Hi there,
      Thank you for your critique! As I had said in one of my previous comments, making the research question skewed in favour of one side was absolutely not my intention. I had made no assumption that it would benefit, more so asking if it were possible to benefit from it and to what extent. I do apologise if it came across as favouring the anti-gun side, or any side at all as I am trying my best to keep away from any bias.
      I am currently working on fixing my question 🙂
      Thank you for taking time out of your day to reply and providing a link to the FBI website! I value it greatly.

      • You’re welcome and best of luck on the assignment! You’ve definitely come to the right place for opinions and resources! If anything, you’ll have too much information from the group and will be challenged with organizing it.

        • Thank you!! And yes, that seems to be where I’m at right now. I never expected such overwhelming, in depth responses so I’m battling the task of sorting through it all… I suppose at the end of the day, too much information is far better than none at all! I really appreciate all of it.

  45. Hi, Taniesha.

    I grew up in a family that didn’t like guns. We never owned any or went shooting, so I never really understood what our Second Amendment was about until I got older and decided to exercise my 2A rights by purchasing a handgun for target practice. I did so primarily because I could, and not because of strong arguments for or against the merits of gun ownership.

    That act made me a gun owner and forced me to become keenly aware of the gun laws we have now. It also personally engaged me in the ongoing discussion of new laws we might consider to address “gun violence.” Only after I became personally involved and educated on our status quo did I truly appreciate why we have the Second Amendment in our Constitution and why it is so vitally important to protect.

    The news media survives only by maintaining an audience, and any event of notable violence is worth print or airtime. Body counts are easy to tally as statistics, and death is repugnant to all with a conscience. Similarly, crime statistics only measure crimes that have been committed. It is very easy to believe that guns lead to violence and misery if you only pay attention to these statistics.

    There are no statistics to measure how many crimes are not committed because of guns, or how many people were not killed because would-be victims chased off their attackers without firing a shot. Such events are not newsworthy, even if they potentially stop a mass shooting (which will never be recognized as a mass shooting since they were stopped before the requisite body count could elevate them to heinous notoriety). A couple good examples of mass shootings that may have been prevented are the Clackamas Town Center shooting and the more recent attack in Garland, TX. In both cases it is evident that rapid intervention by armed individuals likely saved lives. But how many? There are no statistics that can be measured–only estimates.

    Discovering the true benefit of restrictive vs. permissive gun laws requires comparing statistics to estimates, and that lacks scientific merit. So, too, does relying alone on statistics for crimes and shootings since those present an incomplete and one-sided picture of “guns.”

    We here at TTAG often deride those who use emotional reasoning to argue for more restrictive gun laws. Yet if those who would eliminate guns from society believe their gut feeling about firearms to have merit then they should at least consider the counter-argument.

    Ask yourself the following: are you a violent person? If I handed you a kitchen knife, a box cutter, a length of rope or a liter of petrol would you feel inclined to use those to harm or murder anyone? Do you feel that simply possessing any of these items presents an innate risk of harm to others? Now, how about if I handed you a gun?

    Many people have strongly negative feelings about guns, yet they are merely mechanical devices designed to expel projectiles at high speed. Their potential to do or cause harm exists only when their bearer holds such intent. Furthermore, negligent harm by firearms may be easily prevented by following four simple rules:
    1. Treat every gun as if it is loaded
    2. Never point a gun at anything you Do not wish to destroy
    3. Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire
    4. Be certain of your target and what lies beyond it

    Those who would harm or murder others, especially those seeking infamy by committing mass murder, will go to any length to find suitable weapons to aid their cause. Someone so committed to violence will only be stopped when met by force. We rely on armed police to deal with the worst of these threats, but they cannot be everywhere. An armed citizenry can.

    I believe that the proliferation of guns is a good thing, because I believe that the vast majority of people are good. I live in Arizona, which has some of the most permissive gun laws in the United States. People here can buy and openly carry all types of firearms without a license (and just a few restricted locations where guns are not allowed). I don’t see open carry on a daily basis, but it is not uncommon. When I do see a stranger with a gun I take comfort that there are those among us who would place themselves in harm’s way to protect themselves, their families and their countrymen from harm.

    Apologies for the very long post, but I felt compelled to offer a complete explanation of why I do not believe the United States would be better off if we adopted gun laws similar to Australia’s. I hope some of my perspective helps you with your paper, and I hope someday you will be able to visit my country and go to a gun show or shooting range where you can see first-hand what our “gun culture” is all about. I expect you’d find such experiences quite enjoyable, if a bit jarring at first.

    Cheers!
    Speleo.

    • I find it so interesting the difference in culture between countries. You say that if you saw a stranger with a gun you find comfort, yet for me that would be the complete opposite regardless of the laws surrounding firearms.
      For me, it is a bit like driving a car in the way that you can/will never be 100% sure that everyone is doing what they should be, in a manner that would cause no harm to other people. To me that is terrifying.
      Personally, I would not feel safe knowing that other Australians had legal access to firearms, and honestly I am quite content with the restrictions that are currently in place here. It’s not that I have anything against owning and using guns, it’s just when they are used with ill-intent… I’d hope most people would agree.

      I went on vacation to your country when I was around 11. From the little I can remember of the trip, it’s a beautiful country and everyone we interacted with was nothing but courteous. Also Disneyland was great haha! I hope to one day return as a young adult with a more reliable memory 🙂
      Thanks for your in depth response!

      • Don’t judge our entire culture by that one comment. We have a lot of people here that react the same way you do when seeing a person carrying a gun. It really isn’t culture. It is attitudes. It is comfort. The more popular open carrying guns becomes, the more comfortable people are with it.

        • I’m sorry, I wasn’t intending to make any judgement with my comment, perhaps I should have used another word.
          I know that there are people who would react negatively to seeing a gun being openly carried in the U.S, just as there are Australian citizens lobbying to reduce restrictions on firearms here.
          I totally understand what you are saying, and I thank you for bringing me up on it!

      • To add to what Michael said, what we really have here in the U.S. is a massive cultural rift dividing us on the topic of guns. You may run across the term “gun culture,” which would generally describe the people you’re encountering here at TTAG. Even within gun culture you’ll find an established, older generation of gun owners as well as a younger generation of firearms enthusiasts described as “Gun Culture 2.0.” I consider myself a 2.0 guy since I got into guns on my own rather than being introduced by family tradition.

        Within gun culture there are well-established rules and norms for safe firearms handling (I paraphrased Jeff Cooper’s 4 rules in my earlier post). TTAG has a long-running series called Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day that highlights people (including police) who fail to live up to those standards. When you’re familiar with gun safety it’s not difficult to recognize if another person with a gun is behaving strangely or irresponsibly. Likewise, it’s easy to recognize when someone is acting safely and responsibly. That’s what enables me to appreciate other people carrying firearms instead of feeling uneasy.

        When you investigate anti-gun groups, and I strongly encourage you to do so, you will find a vastly different attitude toward guns. Expect to find opinions ranging from frustration with gun owners to outright hostility toward them. Except maybe hunting, which is usually OK for some reason. However, in general the idea of people walking around in public with firearms is terrifying or disgusting to them. They simply don’t understand it and/or disagree with it.

        The cultural divide has a lot to do, in my opinion, with those who have positive experiences with firearms vs. those who have not. There are many states where restrictive firearms laws mean that seeing people carrying is not the norm. It’s not surprising to me that when your only reference points are Hollywood (which greatly distorts many things about guns) and bad things happening in the news, seeing a gun is going to be a bit of a shock. After all, I had those same feelings growing up.

        Thank you for visiting us here at TTAG with an open mind. I respect that, despite your personal discomfort with guns, you are seeking to understand all sides of the gun debate.

  46. As you may know, Taniesha, many Australians (and people from all around the world in general) think that your country (among others) is a role model that the U.S. should follow. However, two very important studies of your 1996 National Firearms Agreement completely disagree with this statement.

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/buyback-has-no-effect-on-murder-rate/2006/10/23/1161455665717.html

    A ten-year study, lead by Dr. Samara McPhedran and published in the British Journal of Criminology, found that the $500M AUD spent on the mass confiscation and destruction of previously-legal firearms had absolutely no effect whatsoever on homicide or suicide rates.

    https://www.melbourneinstitute.com/downloads/working_paper_series/wp2008n17.pdf

    Yet another five-year study, produced by Wang-Sheng Lee and Sandy Suardi from your University of Melbourne and published in the Melbourne Institute’s Working Paper series, confirmed Dr. McPhedran’s conclusions and no others.

    Dr. McPhedran even testified to this fact before a recent Australian Senate Inquiry, which had looked into – among other things – banning semi-automatic handguns. Needless to say , gun control advocates were rightly and completely humiliated.

    Before that same Senate Inquiry, Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Julian Slater had freely admitted that not only do they have no clue what exactly what kinds of contraband were getting through, but they only know about what manage to intercept. As I’m sure you may be well aware, and even if you’re not you will be now, Australia’s porous borders and low population density – coupled with deeply corrupt postal and customs services – make it a veritable smuggler’s paradise.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjPEdEaS8eY

    A Deputy Director fro the Australian Institute of Criminology also testified before the Senate Inquiry, and explicitly stated that only 5 of the 48,000+ handguns in the Australian state of Victoria had been stolen. To complicate matters further, the AFP even admitted they had not even bothered to examine the AIC’s report on gun thefts at all.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7P3Etjp_WK0

    After the Port Arthur shooting, there were also the Quakers Hill and Childer’s Palace arson attacks, the Black Saturday Brush Fires – which were deliberately lit in case you needed a reminder, the Cairns Stabbings, and the Monash University Shooting. The 1996 NFA didn’t stop the massacres from happening, but only changed the methods in which they are carried out. Especially not when many thousands of guns handed over to the government for destruction in 1996 were then illegally resold to criminals – many of which have still never recovered, and have very likely been used in crimes since. Some were indeed recovered though, in the private collections of police officers.

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/the-big-sting/2007/02/09/1170524303995.html?page=fullpage

    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/ravenshoe-police-sergeant-resigns-after-discovery-of-surrendered-guns-in-his-private-collection/story-fnihsrf2-1226705185355

    Guns are taken from Melbourne’s own ‘Red Zone’ every two days – all from “prohibited” persons – and by the thousands every single year — and that’s just one metropolitan area in one city.

    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/gun-found-every-two-days-in-melbournes-red-zone-20150618-ghrak9.html

    Even police and military armories are broken into with mind-boggling regularity, to the tune of dozens of times – and that’s just in the state of Victoria and the port of Sydney.

    http://www.skynews.com.au/news/local/melbourne/2015/05/12/vic-gun-thieves-eavesdrop-on-cops.html

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/archive/news/no-sign-of-stolen-rocket-launchers/story-e6frg6o6-1225787746734

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-30/navy-base-security-breach-larrakeyah-darwin/4400646

    Isn’t it any wonder that the states of Victoria, Queensland, and Tasmania were excluded from all crime statistics reports by both the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Institute of Criminology from 2010 onwards, and around that time there begins an appreciable drop in Australia’s violent crime rates across the board?

    Indeed, wonders never cease. Especially when criminals receive hundreds of pistols at a time through the mail and several times every year, made especially easy by Australia’s institutionalized corruption of its Customs services – not to mention that of individual officials, as well.

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/guns-imported-through-sylvania-waters-post-office-linked-to-crimes-in-sydney/story-fnpn118l-1227252669241

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/customs-staff-charged-over-alleged-drug-smuggling-ring/story-e6frg6nf-1226576397568

    http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2015/03/24/cocaine-customs-cop-caught/

    http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2013/s3675337.htm

    Even if criminals couldn’t receive their guns through the Sunday Post, they can just as easily make them or have them made-to-order. These aren’t those shoddy rusticles of zip-guns you’d expect to find in a jail cell, either, but finely machined MAC-11 sub-machine guns – complete with 32-round magazines and silencers.

    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/homemade-gun-factory-shutdown-by-police-in-sydneys-southwest-20140618-zsd4a.html

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/jeweller-angelos-koots-admits-to-making-submachine-guns-at-his-seven-hills-home-and-supplying-them-to-bikie-groups/story-fni0cx12-1226760983916

    In conclusion, Taniesha, no, America would not benefit from Australia’s gun control laws. (Even Australia didn’t seem to benefit from them.) This is for a wide variety of reasons. Given the level of sophistication of the criminal enterprises that were created by Prohibition in the U.S., and now during the morbidly hilarious failure of the “War on (Some) Drugs” around the world, the only logical conclusion that can be drawn about a prohibition on guns – which is what you have by-and-large in Australia – is that equally large and sophisticated criminal enterprises will arise to fulfill the demand for guns. This can, as quite thoroughly demonstrated above if I do say so myself, can accomplished in a number of ways: clandestine domestic manufacture, surreptitious importation from abroad, and widespread theft.

    Australia is plagued by the first and the second.

    To give you an example of the futility of banning an item to which is attached very high demand, some 1.6 million pounds of marijuana was seized by the U.S. DEA in 2010 – and that’s only a very small percentage of what is believed to have made it across the border. It is reasonable to assume that the shear amount of arms, ammunition, and accoutrement that can occupy the same space as 800 tons of plant matter is quite sufficient to arm a significant portion of the U.S. criminal element.

    These dreadful shortcomings demonstrate a basic and willful failure of Prohibitionists to understand or even acknowledge the market forces governing anything for which there is significant demand. It is the primary reason why central economic planning has only proved an unmitigated disaster everywhere it’s been tried. More basically, they fail to realize or consciously ignore the fact that when people want something, someone will get it for them. The harsher the ban, the higher the profit motive. The higher the profit motive, the more risks criminals will be willing to take to satisfy their market. There are deeper reasons for this failure than simply flat-out flunking ECON 101. Those who trade in prohibited goods are, by definition, criminals who are engaged in a criminal enterprise without the benefits of redress the courts or any other avenue of dispute resolution or of police protection. When an enterprise can’t: take out a loan, open a bank account, establish credit, file a lawsuit, or have police respond to an alarm, it becomes necessarily more violent to protect its financial and territorial interests and to affect resolutions over contractual disputes. Essentially, prohibition of highly desirable goods can only function to increase overall violence and disregard for the law as a basic factor of prohibition. One must accept this as a basic premise and then try to reconcile the increased violence and criminality coupled with the inevitable encroachment on individual liberty with any perceived utility of the prohibition.

    As the world lowly comes to the realization that prohibition of drugs, with the focus now being primarily on marijuana and cannabis, has very little if any utility in the face of extremely high demand we begin to move away from banning it.

    Considering that those who smuggle, steal, and manufacture weapons and their customers will obviously still be armed, the level of violence in the wake of an Australian-style prohibition would be unprecedented. Once one factors in the unique culture surrounding guns and civil rights in the U.S., the increasingly ubiquitous support for the Second Amendment and the right it protects, and American’s historical resistance to tyranny, the violence may very well escalate into that of armed insurrection.

    http://rt.com/usa/269362-assault-guns-control-ny/

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/bloggers/3115418/posts

    Mass civil disobedience is already the order of the day, and police departments are already realizing the logistical absurdity of such an endeavor in actually enforcing registration or, Heaven forbid, a mass confiscation. In fact, many law enforcement officials have already announced their intentions to not enforce such laws at all.

    http://www.policeone.com/chiefs-sheriffs/articles/6435415-NY-sheriffs-We-wont-enforce-gun-laws-magazine-limits/

    http://www.newswithviews.com/NWV-News/news437.htm

    http://www.examiner.com/article/conn-police-refuse-to-enforce-new-gun-laws

    Also given that firearms are very durable items, with many examples lasting 500 years or more with proper care and maintenance, and that upwards of 347 million (as of 2012) are already thought to be present in the hands of 124 million Americans, it’s highly unlikely that any prohibition would succeed at all as confiscation must immediately follow – as it did in Australia – to realize any utility at all.

    http://www.leg.state.co.us/Clics/Clics2013A/commsumm.nsf/b4a3962433b52fa787256e5f00670a71/c4b73dc817da609e87257b24005ef7f8/$FILE/13SenState0304AttachC.pdf

    All this having been said, advocacy for prohibition of firearms can only be seen as either ill informed (as in being simply unaware of the consequences) or malicious (aware of the inevitable and invariable failure of the prohibition and the increased criminality and violence and potential to destabilize society and government and possibly to result in violent revolution).

    I do hope this was most informative to you.

    • Wow, this was most certainly informative! I must thank you for putting so much time and effort into responding!!
      I’ll take a look at all of the links you have provided and may very well use them as individual pieces in my assignment, as I’ve said a few times I am trying to get an accurate portrayal of both countries and each side of the gun debate.
      I’m astounded by the amount of help I have gotten from this community, everyone has been so patient and willing! Thank you again for your input 🙂

      • It was not much trouble at all, Taniesha. We strive to be as informative and as thorough as we can be without letting our passions and our zeal blind us. We welcome open-minded individuals like yourself that ask honest questions from a position of genuine curiosity, that want honest and well-supported answers, and you did well to word your inquiry very carefully. Passions run high over issues like these, and we’re glad that you understand this and weren’t too put off by some of the other replies here. I’m simply glad I could help you broaden your understanding of this issue, and hope this is the beginning of a dialogue between our two communities. Thank you very much for choosing us. We are humbled, truly.

  47. First, we Americans wrested our independence from the British Crown by force of arms. Not leisurely dinner party negotiations. This in 1776. Then Britain again invaded my country and killed and pillaged its way to our capitol. Burning our Presidents residence to the ground. This in 1812. In 1838 our Texan state fought the nation of Mexico for independence. We fought again in 1848. In 1860-1865 my country was embroiled in a savage battle for survival. Our Civil War. An unspeakable percentage of the population was killed. Atrocities committed on both sides that traumatized several generations. In the latter part of the 19th century we tussled with Spain around the globe. Then again in 18 years we had to fight a brutal war across the pond in WWI. Then after numerous engagements around the globe in the 1920’s and 1930’s we battled a demonic movement in both Europe and a few hundred miles off the coast of Australia in Asia. We understand what it takes to maintain freedom.

    So let’s just say that America has seen the worst that nation states can deliver. We have etched into most of our souls and families, names like Concord, Gettysburg, Belleau Wood and Tarawa. Now we have fought another enemy for the last 15 years (actually more like 40 years) that hates everything we stand for. Thousands of my innocent neighbors were burned alive on 9/11.

    While this happened on the macro scale, there were countless individuals who needed to protect themselves from criminals to sheriffs. Women alone on the prairie, Irish immigrants working for slave wages, blacks who were supposed to be free but were marginally.

    We understand that the tools of defense carry with them a down side. The potential for misuse and accident are real. But as RF pointed out, they have a much greater upside. A long time before you were born Aussies went to bed wondering if they would wake up to Japanese swords at their necks. You didn’t because of men with guns. Those men were your fathers and grandfathers. Yet your current government thinks so little of them that they don’t trust them with weapons now that their usefulness has passed.

    Freedom is something that God blessed us with. No matter where we live. If you are not capable of holding on to it, you will lose it. It WILL BE TAKEN FROM YOU. Tell your leaders that every one of your family and neighbors are not subjects but CITIZENS. That your leaders are servants and owe everything to those they work for.

    Please read our Declaration of Independence. It is without a doubt the most revolutionary document produced by man. It is our manifesto of freedom. It will provide insight why America is so different from every other nation that has ever been seen on the planet Earth. God Bless America.

    • Please read our Declaration of Independence. It is without a doubt the most revolutionary document produced by man. It is our manifesto of freedom. It will provide insight why America is so different from every other nation that has ever been seen on the planet Earth.

      I emphatically second this. Perhaps the list in the middle of all the abuses rained down on the Americans’ heads is a bit tedious, but the part above it explains the theory of government in operation at the time, explaining why a government is needed and how to tell it has overstepped its bounds.

  48. Massive social-science research shows the ineffectiveness of gun control in reducing crime and violence. It is a source of continuous amazement that gun control advocates ignore the results of criminological, historical and econometric studies by reputed scholars.

    The formation of public policy must be based on a pragmatic desire to reach achievable results – not hot-button political whims. To reduce the number of violent crimes, we must focus on the source – not the tool that a perpetrator of violence chooses to use illegally in his criminal acts.

    No amount of legislation can prevent madmen bent upon destruction from acting heinously. To target the objects that an unstable person uses to act out their psychotic impulses may make us feel warm and fuzzy, but it is not sound public policy and will only impact law-abiding gun owners in the USA.

    Crime statistics also show that 4 times as many Americans are killed each year with blunt objects, and twice as many killed with bare hands, than are killed with a rifles or shotguns of any kind. Banning modern sporting rifles or home defense shotguns will not reduce crime or violence.

    Over the past few decades, gun sales and gun ownership has skyrocketed. Additionally, our states have improved the access for law-abiding citizens who are properly trained to have licenses to carry concealed handguns in public for self defense. According to the US Department of Justice, gun-related homicides dropped 39 percent over the course of 18 years. During the same period, non-fatal firearm crimes decreased even more, a whopping 69 percent. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also found a dramatic drop in gun crime over the past two decades. Their accounting shows a 49 percent decline in the homicide rate, and a 75 percent decline of non-fatal violent crime victimization.

    The UK, with whom we share a common history and a common culture, has tried the gun ban approach. In the mid 1990s, the UK banned private ownership of guns and made self defense generally unlawful. Since that time, gun crime has doubled – increasing by nearly 90% in the last decade alone. Today, the UK has a violent crime rate of nearly 4 times the USA (UK: 2,095 per 100,000, US: 466 per 100,000). In the US, guns are used in lawful self defense approximately 800,000 to 2.5 million time a year – depending upon which studies one reviews: that equates 2 – 5 times as many times as a gun is used in crime, and approximately 80 – 250 times more often than a firearm is used in homicides.

    Firearms do not equate violence. Prohibiting all firearms will not end all violence. I am versed in alternative to violence techniques and I am morally opposed to the use of violence as a means to settle interpersonal disputes. Striving for peaceful communities, reducing violence, and resolving conflict does not mean I waive my right to self-defense and self-preservation. No negotiation is possible with a gang-banger hopped up on PCP and intent on destruction or some psychopath with serious mental health issues going on a rampage – neither of whom may legally possess a firearm. In such cases, every citizen should have the right to self preservation and I will be glad to have the civil liberties enumerated by the 2nd Amendment.

    The US does have significant gun control. Federal laws, state laws, and even local ordinances determine who can have or carry a gun as well as what kind of guns are allowed for civilian ownership. Certain people such as criminals, domestic abusers, drug users, and the insane cannot lawfully own guns. Background checks are performed for every retail gun sale. The current laws on the books do need to be enforced stringently so that batterers, felons, smugglers, black marketeers, gang-bangers, etc. are brought to justice. However, in our quest for law and order, we cannot trample the rights and civil liberties of our citizens – including those fundamental liberties enumerated in the Second Amendment.

    As an issue of public policy, gun laws do not work to reduce violent crime or keep weapons out of the hands of criminals. It only punishes law abiding citizens by stripping away their rights. Too often, the American left who claim to champion civil liberties forget that self defense and the right to bear arms is among those cherished liberties.

  49. Massive social-science research shows the ineffectiveness of gun control in reducing crime and violence. It is a source of continuous amazement that gun control advocates ignore the results of criminological, historical and econometric studies by reputed scholars.

    The formation of public policy must be based on a pragmatic desire to reach achievable results – not hot-button political whims. To reduce the number of violent crimes, we must focus on the source – not the tool that a perpetrator of violence chooses to use illegally in his criminal acts.

    No amount of legislation can prevent madmen bent upon destruction from acting heinously. To target the objects that an unstable person uses to act out their psychotic impulses may make us feel warm and fuzzy, but it is not sound public policy and will only impact law-abiding gun owners in the USA.

    Crime statistics also show that 4 times as many Americans are killed each year with blunt objects, and twice as many killed with bare hands, than are killed with a rifles or shotguns of any kind. Banning modern sporting rifles or home defense shotguns will not reduce crime or violence.

    Over the past few decades, gun sales and gun ownership has skyrocketed. Additionally, our states have improved the access for law-abiding citizens who are properly trained to have licenses to carry concealed handguns in public for self defense. According to the US Department of Justice, gun-related homicides dropped 39 percent over the course of 18 years. During the same period, non-fatal firearm crimes decreased even more, a whopping 69 percent. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also found a dramatic drop in gun crime over the past two decades. Their accounting shows a 49 percent decline in the homicide rate, and a 75 percent decline of non-fatal violent crime victimization.

    The UK, with whom we share a common history and a common culture, has tried the gun ban approach. In the mid 1990s, the UK banned private ownership of guns and made self defense generally unlawful. Since that time, gun crime has doubled – increasing by nearly 90% in the last decade alone. Today, the UK has a violent crime rate of nearly 4 times the USA (UK: 2,095 per 100,000, US: 466 per 100,000). In the US, guns are used in lawful self defense approximately 800,000 to 2.5 million time a year – depending upon which studies one reviews: that equates 2 – 5 times as many times as a gun is used in crime, and approximately 80 – 250 times more often than a firearm is used in homicides.

    Firearms do not equate violence. Prohibiting all firearms will not end all violence. I am versed in alternative to violence techniques and I am morally opposed to the use of violence as a means to settle interpersonal disputes. Striving for peaceful communities, reducing violence, and resolving conflict does not mean I waive my right to self-defense and self-preservation. No negotiation is possible with a gang-banger hopped up on PCP and intent on destruction or some psychopath with serious mental health issues going on a rampage – neither of whom may legally possess a firearm. In such cases, every citizen should have the right to self preservation and I will be glad to have the civil liberties enumerated by the 2nd Amendment.

    The US does have significant gun control. Federal laws, state laws, and even local ordinances determine who can have or carry a gun as well as what kind of guns are allowed for civilian ownership. Certain people such as criminals, domestic abusers, drug users, and the insane cannot lawfully own guns. Background checks are performed for every retail gun sale. The current laws on the books do need to be enforced stringently so that batterers, felons, smugglers, black marketeers, gang-bangers, etc. are brought to justice. However, in our quest for law and order, we cannot trample the rights and civil liberties of our citizens – including those fundamental liberties enumerated in the Second Amendment.

    As an issue of public policy, gun laws do not work to reduce violent crime or keep weapons out of the hands of criminals. It only punishes law abiding citizens by stripping away their rights. Too often, the American left who claim to champion civil liberties forget that self defense and the right to bear arms is among those cherished liberties.

    Policy makers should address the sources of violent behavior. Fostering conflict resolution, alternatives to violence, economic opportunity, urban development, problem-solving, character building, and critical thinking will reduce violence. Policymakers must consider alternative proposals that will succeed in reducing crime and violence – not punishing honest gun owners and sportsmen with misguided bans on inanimate objects.

  50. I must say, overall there have been many extremely well thought out, well written and well documented posts for this article. Well done everyone.

    My only thought, which sums up many of the posts, is that people the world over have the unalienable right to defend themselves, their family, and other innocent people from violence of any kind. (The US Constitution merely identifies that existing right.) Why do so many governments work so hard to prevent their citizens from being able to avail themselves of the best tools to ensure that right?

    • Fear of the unknown and mistrust stemming from the same. A confusion of violence and weapons. An inability to cope with the idea of death.

      There are far too many people in the world to ever know but a minuscule fraction of them, and we are reminded daily that humanity has not yet abandoned its tradition of killing one another for whatever grievances. It’s easy to get bent out of shape by the idea that we walk among strangers who would have no qualms about killing us or someone we love. It’s easy to fear the capacity of modern firearms to “kill a lot of people in a short amount of time.” It’s easy to wishfully think that we can stuff that genie back into its bottle, but we can’t.

      Weapons and warfare have evolved over time. It’s easy to look at modern weapons and see them as implements good only for war and killing. It’s easy to eschew them altogether in the name of pacifism. It’s more difficult to admit that not everyone believes in pacifism, and those that don’t are unlikely to inform you of as much politely. It’s more difficult to see the deterrent and defensive roles played by guns through the simple fact of their existence. Many do not recognize that pacifism and guns peacefully coexist when guns are just sitting around doing nothing.

      Finally, it’s difficult to acknowledge–truly accept–that we do not live in a safe world, nor was it ever meant to be so. Gravity, the food chain and our own natural mortality ought to be evidence enough to that fact, yet too many people still prefer the illusion of safety over a life in full recognition that we will all die someday, and we don’t know when “someday” is coming.

      All of the above are reasons that people and their governments will endlessly push for an end to weapons in the naive hope that they will diminish violence. The poor fools have simply confused cause and effect. We ought to pay more mind to our own mortality and our sense of community with our fellow humans to reduce violence so that our weapons become curios and relics (not to coin a phrase) and the restriction of owning them becomes meaningless and unnecessary.

  51. Taniesha, welcome to our community. I apologize for some of the commenters above that come off as rude. This is a very sensitive subject in this community and across the United States. If you follow our media on the subject, you can see a great divide in the population regarding the subject of firearms.

    Robert left you with some good points to get you started, and if you take the time to dig through TTAG’s archives, you will find a plethora of information available to cover this subject.

    I would also suggest you check youtube and other sources. Billy Johnson, Colion Noir, and many others can cover crime statistics and stigmas related to the firearms community. Military Arms Channel, Hicock45, Iraqveteran8888, and others cover the technical (and touch on the political) side of the community.

    There is an amazing wealth of information on the web at your disposal, and this site ranks at the top, in my opinion. I included one of my favorite videos on the subject (gun laws and crime rates) below for you to enjoy.

    Good luck on your project, and don’t let anyone make your opinion for you. You are an individual and are more than capable of forming your own conclusions without having them dictated to you.

  52. “Here in the U.S., our gun rights are subject neither to the democratic process – they’re protected by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution – nor arguments of social utility.” The first part of the statement is incorrect. The Second Amendment is subject to Article V of the Constitution, which provides a democratic process for amendment.

  53. Taniesha,

    I’m afraid that I do not have time to look through all the comments to see if these important points are covered, so forgive me if I’m repeating someone else’s posts.

    1) Regardless of the mainstream media’s assertions (and many of our own politicians) there is no “gun violence epidemic” in this country. I will refer you to our FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (Google it) to backup my assertion that violence in general, including “gun violence”, in the United States is at a 30 year low.

    2) Since I used the term “gun violence” I must point out that many of us here think that the term “gun violence” is irrelevant. Violence is violence, whether it be by a gun, knife, hands, feet, etc. Studies that purport to relate levels of gun ownership to instances of gun violence are obviously going to find that where there are more guns, there is more gun violence. However, these conclusions are irrelevant as they are obvious. What needs to be compared is the OVERALL level of VIOLENCE, period, compared to gun ownership levels. Those studies that have done just that show that levels of violence decrease with increasing levels of gun ownership. However, as you may have learned, correlation does not equal causation, so one must take these conclusions with a grain of salt.

    I posit that Australian-style gun laws would have no benefit here in the United States, nor do they benefit Australia. Australia still has mass-killings and increased levels of violence since the institution of the very restrictive laws in your country. In addition, a simple scan of crime reports in your country will show that, even with the very restrictive laws, that bad people still have access to guns, still use them to commit crimes, and law abiding people have no recourse to defend themselves effectively.

    • I liked your post. However I posit that there are too many Daniels/Davids etc. There has already been at least one misconstrued post in this thread. In the earlier days of TTAG there were at least four Matts. We spread out, I am Matt in TX not Matt in FL. Everyone please try to come up with a slightly different name for the sake of clarity. Thanx.

  54. The question you are asking is on a phd level and takes a deal of research in order to answer properly. Focus on the mechanics of the paper and the thought process by which you evaluate the question.

    In the US, policy debate takes two formats, Lincoln Douglass or CX. When most people argue and present their ideas it will flow into those two styles. Most people on this website would use CX because the question posed is really the second step in problem solving process.

    You own paper should establish the guide lines for making a determination. For example, the word benefit has different meaning to differ people, much as different people have different value systems and is something that you should be aware of.

    Please keep this argument in mind for your paper. Ethics and philosophy is meant to challenge who we are and provide a way to over come ourselves to be a better person. The idea and questions proposed should not be rejected nor embraced merely for making them know, but only after the process and methods has be under taken and completed to the best of ones ability.

    To do otherwise is to remain trapped in illusions of our own makings on what is right and wrong. This goes against the core of what ethics is.

  55. DO HUMAN RIGHTS EXIST?

    Why are there Human Rights that simply exist that cannot be withdrawn?

    Because life exists in a materially different manner than the existence of inanimate objects. Human life is different than, say, a stone. But if you were to magnify a stone, look at it closely under microscopes that only man can produce, you would also find life: microscopic life.

    So is all life co-equal? No. Is all life valuable? Yes.

    Let’s go even smaller. Is the energy or weak magnetic force or electrically charged sub-atomic particles or whatever it is that keeps all matter in a state of tension and order valuable? Yes.

    Are all expressions of energy co-equal? Are the particles of a cardboard box equivalently valuable to the particles that make up you? No.

    Are definitions of value subjective? Yes.

    Do you prefer a warm house, suitable food, and the reasonably certain knowledge that you will not be arbitrarily destroyed — reduced into the gravel of your matter like a shattered stone? I’m betting yes. I’m betting you prefer that to a cave, a club, and a piece of raw meat.

    Is your subjective preference for a comfortable life more valuable than my or anyone’s preference to destroy your life in order to take all you have? Yes.

    To whom is it valuable? You. Your life is valuable to you.

    Is valuing one life at the expense of destroying another’s more valuable than the life they might destroy? Only to the destroyer — and to those in close proximity to those who wield such power. Like the citizens of Pyonyang: Inside Pyonyang, relative comfort. Outside Pyonyang, deprivation and want.

    Is the construct of society valuable? Yes. Is it possible to choose one societal construct over another that maximizes the distribution of comfort? Yes.

    Do you value maximizing distribution of comforts, maximizing the capacity for each man or woman to create for themselves the life they desire without relying on the destruction of other human lives? If so, then you value not only your life, but other lives. In short, you value Life. And you value human life above all other as an artifact of self-preservation.

    Upon what bases can human life be valued so that the collective actions of every individual — no single life inherently more valuable than another — exist so that your life is held in the same esteem by others as it is by you?

    By recognizing the universality of any individual’s Right to exist. With that, you recognize, in tension, other’s Right to Life as an extension of you valuing your own.

    All other values stem from the premise of an individual, Natural Right simply to exist. Any action or construct contravening or in conflict with this baseline assumption is destructive to Life — and more particularly, destructive to your life, which you subjectively value.

    So you have, as does everyone, a Natural Right to Life. You will it into existence just by being alive.

    Should you be allowed to roam the world as a freeborn individual in pursuit of whatever you choose insofar as you do not abrogate other individual’s Right to Life? Yes.

    Should you be allowed to defend what you create from those who choose not to recognize your freedom to roam and produce, defend it from those who would take what you have, leaving you in ruin and perhaps dead? Yes.

    Thus you have a Natural Right to keep and bear arms, weapons that allow you to defend against others who would deny your predicate Rights: the Right to Life, and equally the Right to enjoy the fruits of your life.

    No doubt you’ve noticed I’ve no more than restated the Right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. And in the defense of that, the Right to keep and bear arms.

    Branching out from these predicates — based as they are on you subjectively valuing your individual life, and you subjectively valuing a life that is long, physically more comfortable and prosperous — can an ordered society be based that propagates these things for all? Yes.

    You value your life and agree to value all other’s because Life, held in tension, has the capacity to create more order out of chaos, release more energy from where before it was held inert, to constitute from confusion or inactivity those things that further your own existence.

    Because you value your life, you value all Life. Because you value all Life, you strive to enhance structures that propagate Life. To achieve that, you recognize universal, unalienable, Natural Rights. Natural Rights exist to the benefit of all mankind, and most specifically: you. It is self-evident.

    Natural Rights exist at our feet, no matter what anyone says or does, whole and intact, defenseless and empowering.

    Human Rights simply exist and can be neither granted, nor withdrawn. Human Rights cannot be extinguished until you exterminate all mankind.

  56. I’d like to see the final version of this student’s assignment. Do they turn in a report that is pro gun in the end or keep the assumption that their gun laws aren’t getting innocent people killed?

    • Hopefully, neither. I would like to hand in a report that accurately shows both sides of the debate. I do not intend for my assignment to be an argument against either side, but an overall look at the facts and the opposing opinions surrounding them.
      My final piece will be quite long and several thousand words, as this is only one of my primary sources. I have to do a proposal, folio and outcome supporting my question (which I am in the process of altering) as this piece of work needs to be completed at a high standard before I am able to receive my high school certificate and move on to University.

      As for the last part of your question, I think you will find that innocent people are being killed by firearms worldwide regardless of that countries restrictions/laws.

      • I’ve read some of your comments here since the post first went up and I don’t think I’ve given you the credit you deserve. I apologize for that. I have become cynical after years of friends trying to start “honest conversations” about gun laws here which are opened by stating the only acceptable conclusion, which is of course that we need more gun control.

        The data seems pretty clear that increasing gun control has no discernible positive impact. I started looking into the topic myself as objectively as I could, not having an opinion to start with and truly wondering what the truth was. Downloading FBI statistics and dropping them into Excel, plotted against time, both violent crime in general and homicide in particular and looking for turning points and what other events happened at or near those dates.

        I’m glad you are open to both sides, both possibilities, that gun control could help or be detrimental. The only way to be sure of a conclusion is to have considered it could be wrong.

        I am concerned somewhat by your final statement, that innocent people world wide are killed with firearms…

        To look at the effect of firearms legislation on a society, you have to look at the overall trends in crime afterwards. If fewer people are being killed with guns, but more overall homicides are happening, I feel confident in saying that is a bad outcome. Personally I don’t care much about the difference in being shot to death and being stabbed to death, they are both things I’d rather not experience. Overall crime rates, specifically homicide rates, but also rape and grievous injury, if such a classification is tracked. Of course the ranking of the severity of crimes is a point of personal philosophy, but I think we’d both agree that if more people were being robbed, but almost nobody were now being murdered or raped, that could easily be considered a positive outcome.

        However my point about laws getting “innocent people killed” was not about the raw number of people falling victim to homicide but the comparative rates from a single nation before and after such legislation is passed.

        It’s difficult to judge this, as others have pointed out, as countries like the UK only report convictions, while countries like the US report total bodies, if the case is solved or not. In the US it’s called a “closure rate” genrally and in the UK it seems (from one google search) it’s called a ‘clear-up rate.’ It seems to be around 25% (egads!) but this is mostly due to unsolved property crimes, according to my light skimming.

        Be wary of statistics from US groups like The Brady Campaign, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and Mom’s Demand Action. Nick Leghorn here usually provides thorough analysis of the numbers they release. If you come across numbers from those groups a search here or an email to him will surely provide insight. Even if you don’t believe him outright, he can give you a starting point to ask questions of someone independent on how they are counting certain things.

        Anyway, the folks here seem to have provided better links than I can find and I’ve started rambling. So I wish you luck on the assignment, I’m sure we all would like to see it when it’s finished, and again I apologize for my cynical assumption.

        • “Be wary of statistics from . . . ” anyone! In addition to the usual problems (whether we are interested in total homicides vs. gun homicides) the student must also be wary of whether any particular statistic informs the policy question under study.

          In America we gun folks point out that there is no crescendo of homicide; indeed, rates have dropped from their peak in the early 1990s. On first impression, this observation – while true – doesn’t seem to inform the gun discussion at all. What would the policy implications be of the homicide rate rose/stabilized/fell? Would one or another of these 3 outcomes lead logically to more/less gun-control?

          In any case, the homicide rate doesn’t really tell us much of anything by itself. See Grossman’s On Killing. He points out that the medical profession has improved its treatment of battlefield wounds incredibly over the past century. You see, you don’t get to count a homicide until you have a death; no death, no contribution to the homicide rate. Improvement in emergency treatment on the battlefield translates directly to the civilian Emergency Room. To the extent there has been any decline in the rate of homicide over a decade or two, much of that improvement is attributable to surgeons, not civilization. So, if you look at FBI homicide data from the early 1960s to the 2010s you will see it is unchanged; about 5/100,000. Do you feel good about that? How much of this is advancement in civilization vs. surgery?

          If we want to know something more about the extent to which victims are vulnerable or civilization is advancing/reversing, we ought to look at broader measures. Look at the data (http://www.ucrdatatool.gov/Search/Crime/State/RunCrimeStatebyState.cfm) for violent crimes: rape, robbery, aggravated assault. Over that same period, the rape rate changed from 9 to 27. Robbery from 60 to 114. Aggravated assault from 88 to 245. Perhaps the rape rate change is partially attributable to increased frequency of reporting; yet, this influence is not likely the explanation for either robbery or aggravated assault.

          You are free to assign whatever weighting factor you like to homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Each of these categories is pretty dangerous. I’ve very happy that my risk of homicide has remained stable at 5 over this period; but, I’m not much comforted by the 178% increase – to 245 – of my risk of aggravated assault. The difference between these two categories of crime may differ by a few millimeters of wound channel and the surgeon’s skill.

          I suggest you consider two lines of reasoning.

          What would be the gun-control policy indication if violent crime rates were 0/high/astronomical? If there were no violent crime would that indicate that stronger gun-controls ought to be established. If violent crime was high would that indicate stronger/weaker gun-controls? If astronomical, should gun-controls be kept as they are?

          With respect to each kind of gun-control, would it have an impact on: victims; perpetrators; both; neither? For example, suppose you were to consider a gun registration requirement in the US. Victims would be obliged to comply. First-time perpetrators would likewise be obliged to comply. Repeat offenders would be exempt from the registration requirement. (In 1968 our Supreme Court ruled in Haynes vs. United States that a felon was protected against self-incrimination for failing to register his machine gun. The reasoning should apply to any other type of gun that might be subject to a registration requirement.) Thus, whatever efficacy conclusion you might reach as to the benefit of registration on solving crimes, the impact seems to be concentrated on victims and first-time offenders.

          Ultimately, what you are likely to find is that gun-controls burden victims but don’t have much impact on criminals (because, after all, criminals don’t obey the law.)

  57. Taniesha,

    The United States would not benefit from Australian style firearms restrictions.

    Let us look at the state of Vermont. Anyone age 16 or older can carry a handgun, whether concealed or openly visible, anywhere they want except for schools I believe. They can carry a handgun into a movie theater, in a park, at a grocery store, at home, in their car, in the woods, whatever. They do not need any government permit or license and no screening or approval. They can also carry shotguns and rifles if they want. Again, no government screening, approval, permits, or licenses. Anyone age 18 or older can purchase any rifle or shotgun they want at any firearms store without any screening, approval, permits, or licenses. Anyone age 21 or older can purchase a handgun at any firearms store without any permits or licenses … although they do need to pass a criminal history background check. Private sales between two individuals require no criminal history background check. Basically, the people of Vermont can readily purchase and carry any firearm they want anywhere they want without any government screening, licensing or permits. Some people think this must be disastrous and Vermont must have the highest violent crime rate (with or without firearms) in the United States. Amazingly, Vermont’s violent crime rate is often the lowest in the United States and always one of the top three lowest violent crime rates in the United States. Even more interesting, not only is Vermont’s violent crime rate considerably lower than most/all countries in Europe, Vermont’s murder rate, where the attacker used a firearm for a murder weapon, is similar to the countries in Europe with the lowest rates. Clearly, unimpeded access to firearms does not lead to death and destruction.

    As it turns out, violent criminals attack other criminals and cause the overwhelming majority of murders with firearms in the United States. And as you might imagine, laws — even laws that restrict firearms ownership — do not affect violent criminals because they do whatever they want and they always find a way to acquire firearms. Thus, laws that disarm the good people of the United States will do nothing to decrease violent crime because the good people of the United States are not the people who commit violent crimes. In fact disarming good people emboldens violent criminals to attack more often and to attack with confidence which would actually increase the violent crime rate in the United States.

    On an individual level, my spouse and I are both armed almost all the time, whether at home or in public. What does that mean? If a violent criminal attacks either of us or our family, we have an effective tool to deal with that attack immediately and decisively. It also means that we have an effective tool to deal with a spree killer or terrorist immediately and decisively. Does being armed guarantee that we will prevail? Definitely not. Rather, it gives us many more options than an unarmed person. I should also mention that being armed virtually guarantees that a violent criminal will NEVER successfully rape a member of our family. It also means that wild animals will NEVER inflict serious injuries to a family member.

    Finally, I really enjoy target shooting and “plinking” with firearms. Lining up the sights and putting bullets into tiny targets at distances is very challenging and rewarding when I am successful. It is no different than someone who plays a sport and invests their time and energy to be excellent in their sport.

    So there you have it: a regional, national, and personal look at firearms in the United States of America.

  58. The gun laws of Australia will benefit the U.S. greatly should they inspire young women such as Taniesha to flee Australia, flock to our shores and raise the collective IQ of our 11th grade by a couple dozen percentage points.

  59. Ok now i got to chime in here.ya’ll are going on the assumption that Australians are anti gun. nothing could be further from the truth. many Australians own guns albeit in a restricted manner. and some of those old boys in the out back would put some of your gun collections to shame. their gun ban was shoved down their throats by politicians almost over night. and we all know how hard it can be to undo a law once passed. they have people down there who have been fighting for years to repeal the ban. so assuming all Australians are anti gun just makes an ass out of you.

    • Indeed, lumping together all Australians, Canadians or Europeans in this is akin to presuming that all Americans have the attitude toward firearms exhibited in the city halls of New York and Honolulu.

    • You are certainly correct in stating that all Australians are not anti-gun, however the majority are – especially younger generations. Everyone my own age I have spoken to about this topic has said that they would prefer our gun restrictions to remain in place, and that they would not feel safe if other Australian’s could legally purchase guns. I’m not sure why this is, perhaps because younger generations have never had any personal experience with firearms and the media is constantly telling us that guns are to be feared.
      I am aware that during and after the Australian gun restrictions of 1996 there was backlash by gun owners and pro-gun advocates, but that was almost 20 years ago and things have changed greatly.
      For example, when the well-known siege occurred in Sydney in 2014, it had been suggested that if the victims had been armed the assailant would have been stopped almost immediately and deaths would have never happened. This sparked outrage and that opinion was immediately shunned.
      Just a perspective from a teenager growing up in a generally anti-gun environment.

  60. To answer your question, Taniesha, I’d say that the basic positions are as follows:

    1) That as autonomous beings, we’ve a natural right to do what’s necessary to ensure our wellbeing. So does a cat, mouse, wren or shark, for that matter.

    When an animal eats an animal, it has done a better job of asserting its right to eat than the other creature did of defending its right to not be eaten.

    Expanding on this, robbery, murder, rape and so on count as getting eaten.

    Weapons – including guns – are a logical outgrowth of ones natural right to defence by tooth, claw and wit.

    There are chimps who hunt with crude spears, and we’ve at least as much right to weapons as have they.

    2) That in society, some titular idea of order outweighs personal safety or responsibility, and that personal weapons go against the idea of a nicely regulated society.

    While the individual is valued, they are not trusted with means to protect their wellbeing with other than fist, flight or yelling.

    3) That only those in a position of power should possess arms, so as to maintain their position.

    I think that you’ll find pretty much all the arguments boil down to one or more of those three.

    The verbal combatants will assert beliefs, use data (skewed or otherwise) and engage in all manner of discourse both civil and not, but the core philosophy of individual, community or government will be some admixture of the above.

    Best wishes,

    Russ in Kansas

    • EDIT: A few more points, m’Lady –

      When looking at crime statistics, do please lump murders and attempted murders together; while the murder rate is “down,” what’s down actually is the number of successful murders.

      This is in no small part due to an increase in our ability to deal effectively with trauma.

      Look also at firearm ownership in relation to the overall incidence of violent crime, including that committed without use of a gun. I believe that you’ll find that the presence of weapons deters bad behaviour. Also, be sure to do this by region.

      Lastly, know that many defensive gun uses go unreported, and unless a shot is actually fired there’ll be no counting the successful prevention of a crime.

      I’d one such encounter myself, in which would be car jackers fled upon finding me a hardened target.

      Best.

  61. Wow… R.F. poses an hypothetical question, and without properly discerning what was written or by whom most of “us” presume our young Taniesha to have made the suggestion that the U.S. consider adopting the gun laws of Australia.

    Sorry, hon; reactionaries tend to react rather than respond.

    Reorum culpa multis.

    • Some are just on edge after losing the Southern Cross and the meaning of marriage.
      I didn’t even read the letters. Nor did I read any of David’s comments or any of the replies to them. I understood that the question was academic and chose not to play along.
      Off topic:
      Four boxes of 124g 9mm tracer rounds are getting delivered to my front door tomorrow just in time for Independence Day! Merica! Pew pew pew!

      • Ahhh… tracers; I likes them, I does.

        M’self, I make 4″ mortar shells. Big fun!

        Stay safe, happy and see Monday with as many digits and eyes as you now possess, good sir.

    • Hi!
      Thank you so much for all of your help and for being so kind 🙂
      As for any ‘negative’ comments or reactions – I kind of knew what I was getting myself into when I chose this topic, and had expected such responses, especially with tensions so high when a great deal of spotlight has been put onto both sides of the gun debate after unfortunate recent events like what took place at the Charleston Church… And I suppose that some teenager from a completely different country questioning your rights could appear as disrespectful or insulting. I just hope that everyone knows that this is purely a learning experience for me, and I do not intend to offend anyone!
      Once again, thank you!!

  62. Hi, I am an Australian and have worked in the security industry in various roles including armed ones. I also used to go hunting and owned a marlin .22 before 1996. Working in law enforcement or security is about the only way you can legally carry a handgun on the streets now. You can still own and use a handgun for sporting purposes including so you are are member of are gun club, but sadly, and to me frustratingly, owning a firearm, any firearm for home or personal defense is impermissible. As in it is not a recognized VALID reason for ownership and licencing of and firearm. I am of the belief that one person with a concealed carry firearm on that fateful day at Port Arthur could have stopped the gunman and saved lives!! I believe every person has an inalienable right to life until they through criminal assault threaten someone else’s life with the imminent threat of lethal force and then their blood is on their own head.
    Thank You Robert and TTAG for your nuggets of wisdom, I enjoy reading them when they pop up on my Facebook feed. Keep Watch and don’t end up like us !!

  63. Taniesha,
    Robert did a very good job answering your questions, but i am going to add on.
    First i am going to backup Robert’s 2nd point. Fearing government tyranny is not paranoid because our goverment has turned on the citizens during World War Two. This instance was the Japeneese internment. The government forced the Japeneese to live in internment camps.
    Secondly Gun control only disarms the law abiding and the criminals will stay armed because they dont obey laws because that is what makes them criminals.
    Australian gun control laws will benifit only the criminals and leave the door open to government tyranny.

  64. Taniesha,
    First, I have been to New South Wales, mostly Sydney and surrounding areas, and found it lovely, and the people I met there were warm, and generous, and very welcoming. I’m pleased that you asked us about this and I’m delighted to provide some feedback. Any debate about gun control is going to face the horns of a dilemma:
    (1) Any gun control measures strong enough to be truly effective have a tendency to be unjust, and
    (2) Any gun control measures that would be perfectly fair and proper have a tendency to be ineffective.
    To the first point, I understand you’re coming from a place where you don’t see the empowerment that comes with being armed as a “right.” For a long time, neither did I. But please consider that there are still plenty of weapons to be found in Australia- the only thing the laws do is declare whose guns are “legitimate” and why. When such power is the domain of the authorities, they go on Abo Hunts. They throw Bikeys in jail for not dressing properly. They break strikes. They steal and take bribes. Until the authorities can be trusted to act fairly and responsibly, in the interest of everyone, all the time, and never do anything sneaky or unfair or corrupt, they should never be allowed exclusive access to weapons. It induces a lack of respect for everyone else.
    To the second point, there’s a problem of feasibility. Australia had perhaps a million guns in the public’s hands when your ban went into effect. The United States has three hundred forty-seven million guns (approximately enough to arm every single person here) and they’re in the hands of about a third of our population. Gun owners defend their rights fiercely, and in those States where guns are difficult to own legally (like New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, and California) noncompliance with those laws seems to be the rule rather than the exception- a fact our gun control advocates would rather sweep under the rug.
    So, no, I don’t believe America would benefit from Australian gun laws. Prohibitions of any kind do not have a good track record here. We tried doing it with alcohol ninety years ago, and all it did was cause a crime wave. We’re still at it with marajuana and narcotics, with similarly disastrous results. Prohibitions on abortion and prostitution seem to only victimize women. These things are misuses of power, put into place for moralistic reasons, and they’ve created more harm than benefit. We don’t want anything else like that.

    • Hi there,

      Thank you for responding! As my research continues I am quickly learning that the U.S and Australia are incomparable… Different cultures, different views, different governments and different sizes in population to name a few. At this point I would suggest that my research question is more hypothetical than anything else.
      I find your point of view to be intriguing, and I will be referring back to your comment later during my research.

      I have yet to speak to any anti-gun advocates as Robert and TTAG were (and are still) the only organisation/people to reply to any of my emails… The conflicting opinions will be something I will have to face, and as interesting as it is I must admit that for me it is a little confusing. Simply because I feel as if both sides have positive intentions and good points, even if they are opposing forces.

      I’m glad that your trip to Australia was pleasant! Thank you again 🙂

  65. I agree wholeheartedly with the author’s response. Arguments about reductions of “gun deaths” and “gun violence” (especially instead of looking at rates of all murders and other violent crime itself) are just a red herring to distract from the fact that the 2nd amendment is there expressly to guarantee a human’s natural right to self defense. Keeping that in mind, realize that almost every mass shooting like the one that inspired Australia’s most restrictive gun laws happens in a so-called “gun free zone” in the United States. Reconcile this with the fact that it is becoming easier and easier to 3D print a gun from home and you should come to the conclusion that restrictive gun laws are becoming sillier and sillier.

    Remember though, as heinous as it sounds to say it out loud, all the safety in the world wouldn’t be enough to convince about half of the U.S. to give up their right to self defense. Here’s a video that I believe sums up why so many Americans think their guns and the 2nd amendment are so important:

  66. What if I told you, there was a way to reduce violent crime by 40% in just 20 years? It would also give us about a 50% reduction in murder. And would also result in the lowest amount of accidental firearms deaths ever (not accidental death rate, but deaths overall).

    Intrigued? But what to do? Do nothing.

    In the past 20 years (since the male Clinton was POTUS) we have seen all of the above reductions in crime and increase in safety.

    Good job America!

    What happened in Australia after the gun ban in 1996? Murder rates increased and didn’t reach pre-ban levels for nearly 10 years.

  67. All the Australians I know want their guns back, but hey Criminals don’t follow the law regardless of the country they’re in so why should we expect them to?

  68. Tench Coxe wrote
    Whereas civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.

    “Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution,” under the pseudonym “A Pennsylvanian” in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789.

  69. It’s my opinion, that if you want to stop “gun violence,” we must stop looking at the tool being used to commit the crime, and instead at the person who decided to commit the crime itself – and ask: “why did this person choose violence as the answer to his/her real/perceived problem?”

    We may never be able to completely stop violence, but perhaps, if we understood the why behind it, we could take actions in our own lives that could have a positive affect of reducing violence over all.

  70. Lots of answers already, but here’s mine:

    Short answer, no.

    Unlike Australia, America is home to free men and women who are citizens; not subjects of a king or queen. As such, we were entrusted with our own security from the very beginning and quite a few of us still cling strongly to the words “Being necessary for the security of a free state.”

    Simply put, those of us who believe that it is our inalienable right to defend our nation, our families, and ourselves from harm will simply not allow our gun laws to mirror yours without putting up a fight. A bloody, one-sided fight where we are the side who still owns guns.

    The phrase “Molon Labe” is growing in popularity among gun-owning Americans. Meaning “come and take it,” we all but dare others -even our own government- from coming to take a right that we see as being given not by a government, but by God (or by life itself) and as such, is not able to be taken away by anyone short of that very God.

    Your laws have led to more deaths than before, more criminals, and more “ghost guns” made in home workshops and garages than ever before. We’d rather keep our rights than take on your troubles. Sorry for being rude about that, but gun control is just a bad idea all around.

  71. As an Aussie old enough to have lived through the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre and also once a licenced shooter (lapsed as I wasn’t using it and now live overseas), I’ll give my 2 cents on the topic. My dad was also a Crown Prosecutor (District Attorney) for many years, then a criminal defence barrister, so I have seen plenty of criminal cases.

    America would not benefit from Australian style gun control as it is an entirely different situation. Putting aside the Second Amendment, the culture of the country and the beliefs of a significant portion of the population would not support changes like this. There are also many, many more firearms in circulation.

    Australia has never had the same ‘gun culture’ as the US. There were also less firearms in general and certain types of firearms (pistols and self-loading centre fire) were much less common. These are a couple of reasons why taking them away was easier to achieve for the government. There were so few of them! Australia is also much more urbanised – most of the population living in the big cities on the eastern seaboard – than the US.

    My family did have to dispose of a few firearms under the ‘Gun Amnesty’. We had a couple of self-loading .22 rimfire rifles and my uncle had a couple of very nice self-loading shotguns.

    I think folks were most annoyed about the auto rimfire rifles being included after initial drafts only focused on auto centre fire. It would be interesting to know the real numbers but I’d be surprised if there was one self-loading centre fire handed in (or sold) for every hundred or more rim fire self-loading rifles.

    Strange fact: There are now MORE firearms in Australia now. It’s just that they are nearly all manual action long arms. A lot of folks took their old guns to the amnesty, collected cash for unusable, unsafe and valueless POS – then took that money right down to the gun store and bought a brand new bolt or lever action rifle.

    If you are a sporting shooter or have a professional need (pest control, security guard) you CAN get pistols and self-loading rifles. You just have to jump through a few extra hoops to get them.

    Licensing wasn’t a big issue – more of an annoyance. You filling in the paperwork, they did their checks, you attended a short class and you passed the test. About as hard as getting your learn to drive permit. The only difficult part (and more so after a few years) was the part where you had to provide a justification for using a firearm. Farmers, hunters and sporting (target) shooters found this easy. For a city boy like me it was harder and I either had to get a farmer to say I visited to shoot pests (fox, rabbits) or I’d have to go hunting or join a shooting club.

    The Australian crime rate statistics used to promote pro and anti gun agendas in the US are largely miss-used or misleading. Australia is not really any better or worse off because of a lack of guns in the hands of citizens. Very few crimes like home robberies and rapes were done at gun point before the change, or even now after the change. Knives and blunt weapons (bats etc) are the most common then and now. Your average drug hopped junkie trying to burgle your house does not have a gun of any type as they are too hard to get – before and after the law changes. The ordinary household didn’t have a firearm of any type before the changes anyway, so the any change in the crime stats is not likely to be linked to the gun laws.

    Criminal enterprises (drug dealers, bikie gangs) always managed to get guns before the law changes, and they still can. These clowns mostly use these weapons on each other. No real change there.

    Many of the US arguments both for and against gun controls don’t really apply to Australia due to the different circumstances.

    It is amusing for Americans to suggest that Australia does not have the freedoms that you enjoy. We don’t have a Bill of Rights or the same Constitution, but Australia has a lot of freedoms. Some of the things we have are even better than the US (a much better electoral system for starters!) and we do not want for anything even if somethings are different.

  72. “To what extent would America benefit from adopting Australia’s anti-gun laws?”

    This is an example of a logical fallacy called, “Begging the question.”

    • Only if the person being asked is expected to assume that the “extent” must be a positive number.

  73. Taniesha, if you’re still reading this

    I don’t know whether Australian 11th graders study logic yet, but every anti-gun argument I’ve ever come across has been based on a logical fallacy. The first one that came to mind to me was comparing Australia’s crime rate before the 1996 gun ban to post 96 numbers. Before you were even in school that was a widely used talking point here in the US. The problem with the numbers is that the way violent crime is recorded in Australia changed in 96. It’s like comparing how much fruit people eat in one year to how much citrus fruit they ate in the next and saying people ate less fruit in the latter. And as others have pointed out one side only wants to count gun deaths and not violent crime which is arguing from the premise that lower gun deaths always makes people safer (anyone reading here should be able to point out the problem with that premise, and some have). There are others and some are tricky, but a good working knowledge of basic logic helps. I just wish logic was taught more and earlier here in the US. Don’t get me wrong the pro gun side has their own problems with logic at times, like appeal to tradition (I’m even guilty of that at times), but I personally find more logic problems on the anti side.

  74. Dear Taneisha,

    I have skipped through many of the comments, so I do not know whether these points have been made by other posters or not.

    (1) History. British history has been for most of its development incredibly violent. Battles in the Wars of the Roses (and in the Hundred Years War with the French a little earlier) were notable for the viciousness of the combat, the pursuit of the defeated and the slaughter of prisoners after the battle. This all occurred because of the gradual breakdown of the Feudal system (it was the Bastard Feudal system by then), combined with weak central leadership due the introduction of the Valois insanity into the British Royal bloodline, resulting in the feeble reigns of Richard II and Henry VI. Earls and Dukes were able to muster huge armies to bolster their various feuds and disputes, which led to almost constant warfare. Much of this was caused by the Black Death, which practically halved the population of Europe in the 14th century. This enabled villeins to sell their labor, and freed them from being the feudal property of their Lord. Individual weaponry improved from being an adaptation of farm implements (a billhook was the favored arm on the battlefield, and was used to kill Richard III at Bosworth) to designed weapons.

    Later the Civil War (17th century) led to regular armies trained by Oliver Cromwell used with great effect against the traditional armies of the Royalist, Scottish and Irish troops who opposed them. Late still, musketry became prominent, and for a long time there was a supply of long and short firearms which the Bill of Rights of 1689 ensured were available to any person who could afford them.

    (2) What most Americans do not understand is the immense traumatic impact of the First World War, on all the countries of the British Empire. For ANZACs especially, the return from the war was a process of forgetting. A very high proportion of the Australian and New Zealand populations were involved personally in the war, much more so than for the USA, and for a much longer period, in various regions of the globe. Once they returned to civilian life, they wanted to leave behind all traces of their military past. In 1920, NZ banned ownership of any semi automatic pistols, and revolvers were strictly regulated. I am sure similar steps were taken in Australia.

    We did not experience the crime waves during the Depression that devastated America. There were very low murder rates in both countries, and there simply appeared to be no compelling need for the average person to ever be personally armed. In other words, being armed conferred no particular benefit, and would have been a great expense and inconvenience for no useful gain. So the disarmed status quo was broadly accepted and there was no public resistance to this.

    And, apart from the odd criminal gang shooting, much the same remains to this day. There is very little pressure for personal defense arms, and those most concerned have been able to obtain them anyway.

    We simply don’t have the racial tensions in New Zealand that prevail in America, because the Maori people welcomed us here to settle in the first place, and they share their wonderful culture and ability to entertain with us. There were some injustices during the settlement process, but most of these have been resolved, and few resentments remain. There is no danger at all for white people (Pakeha) moving around Maori communities and vice versa, and there is a high degree of intermarriage so that few Maori do not have Pakeha whanau (family), and most Pakeha families have Maori members. Recent immigrants have yet to achieve this degree of integration.

    Long arms have continued to have regular use in hunting and target shooting, and there are specialized uses of pistols for pistol clubs, and military servive rifle clubs, but by and large in New Zealand we are able to be licensed and to own whatever shotgun or rifle takes our fancy. I understand that the frenzied anti gun moves in Australia inspired by the Port Arthur shooting have led to much tighter gun control, which nobody is happy about. Gun owners bemoan the regulations, while antigunners want to be able to sleep sound in a country with no guns whatsoever.

    So, as far as your question applying Australian rules to America, the answer is that nobody would wish Aussie rules on their worst enemy. They do nothing but piss everybody off, while failing to achieve their aim. Laws that do not have the support of those affected, will never succeed in the long term. People who want guns will get them regardless. You effectively turn law abiding people into criminals, just as alcohol prohibition did on America. Your broader question of whether you can import Australian social conditions into America, so that less people will feel the NEED to own a personal defense weapon, well if you have a time machine, maybe. Racial problems and criminal justice differences prevent Australian conditions fro prevailing in America. Neither Australia nor America have made financial reparation to either their native nor their imported black populations, and ingrained drug culture among minorities, and exploitation of migrant labor from Mexico and Central America remain inhibiting factors. Unless you have a fair and just society where everybody has a stake in public policy, you will never achieve a peaceful nation. Both your countries have a lot of work to do. People are human, they will react to how you treat them, so choosing to become criminal predators may be the only option for many Americans who feel they have no practical alternative. That doesn’t excuse them, but if they were empowered to act in everyone’s interest, they wouldn’t be the problem they are today. It requires an investment in the future of your whole country, not just the bits you live in. THEN, the question of whether everyone needs to be personally armed would have a very different answer.

  75. I’m a little late in the comments, but I want to point out the nature of the question: The continued disarmament of the Australian people. As an Australian (and a shooter) it’s extremely, EXTREMELY frustrating to know that the next generation is being brainwashed likely before they ever get a chance to fire a gun.

    I can’t wait until my boy is old enough to shoot, not only for father+son time, but because Every Single One of that boy’s friends is getting invited to the range, maybe even hunting if I like the family. I will be an Evangelist of the Gun and I will sign up as many new shooters as I can, making any illiberal scum wish they’d never riled me.

  76. I understand this is you Research project you need to finish year 12. I would suggest you change the premise of the question to why the australian laws cannot work in the US. There is a great discussion paper comparing Australia to the Galapagos Islands when it comes to gun control I suggest you locate…..like the wildlife in the Galapagos australians had no predators when we came to Australia. The natives were nomadic and the immigrAnt population were homogenous. There was no need for guns as the government protected is….without fear, there is no need for protection. The wildlife had no fear of intruders on the Galapagos. The US on the other hand came from a diverse mixture of populations and religions who were constantly fighting and killing each other as well as fights with the indigenous population. The many governments only cared about their own population (French, Puritan, Etc) and not about the entire group…so there is no expectation that the government will protect. As such the assumptions that underlied Australia’s gun control cannot work in the US.

  77. The biggest threat to the second amendment is the abuse of the first by ignorant and fearful persons.

    This article, and your response, should have been heavy on cited statistics, and should have given a clear reasoned explanation of our second amendment, as well as a thoughtful defense thereof. When we simply state that our rights are our rights, and refuse to defend them with rational discourse and support them with legitimate evidence we endanger them!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *