Bait and Switch: Fact Checking Australia’s Gun Laws And Crime Statistics

gun buyback confiscation

(AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Politi-Fake is still at it, debunking a claim that homicides increased after Australia post-Port Arthur Massacre ban


Viral post is wrong about Australia’s gun laws, violent crime statistics

The post inaccurately says that one year after the buyback, homicides went up 6.2%, assaults went up 9.6% and armed robberies went up 44%. It also says that, in the state of Victoria, homicides with firearms increased 300%.

What really happened is homicides declined about 9% to 333 in 1998 compared with a year prior, according to the Australian Institute of Criminology.

Note the bait and switch. The referenced post referred to one year after the ban, which would be 1997. Politi-Fake went to 1998, a year after the end of the amnesty. Why in the world would they do that?

There were 354 murders in Australia in 1996, when the ban began. In 1997, there were 364. Even with the amnesty still going on, as people turned in their firearms, we’d expect a drop in murders if the ban was at all effective. We don’t. Only in PolitiFact’s chosen 1998 do we finally see a drop, to 334.

Again, if the ban was effective at their claimed goal, 1999 should be around the same or lower, right? Instead, murders rose significantly to 385, well over 1996’s 354.

australia homicide number 1990-2017

Source: Knoema screen capture

Those are raw numbers, but the population is dynamic. Let’s look at rates.

Source: Knoema screen capture

Let’s look at a six-year period covering two years before the Port Arthur Massacre to two years after the end of the amnesty, 1994-1999.

1994: 1.8/100K
1995: 2.0/100K
1996: 1.9/100K (PAM, ban begins11/1)
1997: 2.0/100K (amnesty ends 9/30)
1998: 1.8/100K
1999: 2.0/100k

The average rate for the six-year period is 1.9/100K (note that 1996 with the PAM was the exact average), and the 98-99 average is… 1.9/100K.

The fact is that the ban began in 1996, with a one-year amnesty, and murders increased briefly from 356 to 364, or rates of 1.9 to 2.0 per hundred-thousand. The first full year after the amnesty, 1998, murders dipped again, but rose significantly in the very next year to the highest level in the 1990-2017 period.

Overall, Australia’s murders, by numbers and rate, have been trending downward since 1990. There was a aberrational increase in the mid to late 1990s peaking after the ban, in 1999.

The linear 1990-2017 trend tells us more.

We know that there are now more firearms in Australia than prior to the massacre, while homicides trend downward, so clearly firearms aren’t causing crime. Those interested in solving violence problem would do well to ignore honest gun owners and ask what other social issues might have been involved in that 1995-2002 surge.

In short, the Australian government violated the rights of its people to no useful purpose.

comments

  1. avatar GS650G says:

    Technology, prosperity, and incarceration had a lot to do with crime rates dropping. Cell phones and cameras along with IT advances made crimes harder to get away with.
    The increase in guns carried legally reduced the success rate of criminals as well.
    Freakanomics claimed abortion killed the criminals before they were born but that’s not a huge part of it.

    Banning guns didn t change the social problems that drive people to violence.

    1. avatar Chuckers says:

      All I know is in 1982 it was a minimum 5 years in prison for having a gun in Mass. Homicides from house invasions went through the roof and they had to appeal their anti gun law. I was stationed at Fort Devans and a young female private showed up on post with a 45 Colt revolver in her purse and it scared the living hell out of us because she was lucky to be on post when it was discovered or else she would have spent time in prison. Her parents were afraid of her travling unprotected. Imagine that?

    2. avatar Bill in ILL says:

      Nonsense, back in the 1960s crime clearance rate was ~90%, with all of today’s technology, it has fallen to ~40%

  2. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

    Looking past all the double speak never again was their a shooting of 53 people of which 35 people were killed and 18 other people wounded during that same incident.

    In 2009, we wrote an Ask FactCheck item for readers who wanted to know, “Did gun control in Australia lead to more murders there last year?” The answer at the time was “no,” and that’s still the case.

    In fact, the most recent government report on crime trends in Australia says, “Homicide in Australia has declined over the last 25 years. The current homicide incidence rate is the lowest on record in the past 25 years.”

    THE CONCLUSION IS THAT AUSTRALIA’S BAN ON ASSAULT WEAPONS DID INDEED WORK IN REGARDS TO STOPPING MASS MURDER BY MANIACS AND THE STATS PROVE IT BEYOND ALL DOUBT.

      1. avatar Rickster says:

        Strych , thanks for the tune .

    1. avatar Michael Ejercito says:

      And yet, that does not compare to Operation Ceasefire, which reduced criminal homicide rates in Boston by 63% in only two years.

      http://www.huffpost.com/entry/miracle-program-reduces-gun-violence_n_56649f58e4b072e9d1c68813

    2. avatar bastiches says:

      * honk, honk *

    3. avatar ARLibertarian says:

      How may spree killings were there before the Port Arthur massacre? One suspects there is a vast difference between the US society and the Australian society. Ban or no ban, the US has a segment of it’s population that is more prone to violence.

      Even so, given that Australia is about ==> 8% <== of the US population, you'd expect far more incidents of violence even if both countries had the same crime rate. (24 million, vs. 327 million.) Australia is the size of one of our larger states in population. It would fall between Florida and Texas.

    4. avatar Boogaloo says:

      “There” not “their,” you doofus.

    5. avatar Wood and steel says:

      You like the Australian model so much? I’m sure I can get a oneway plane ticket for you. Then you can leave gun owners in this free country alone.

      1. avatar Southern Cross says:

        Just don’t tell Vlad there are now MORE guns in private hands than before Port Arthur. And more gun owners. The increase has exceeded population growth. My postcode, in suburban Sydney, has over 15 thousand registered firearms.

    6. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Dude, your cap locks are on.

    7. avatar Charlemagne says:

      “STOPPING MASS MURDERS BY MANIACS” in Australia?
      Check out the real facts:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_massacres_in_Australia

    8. avatar I believe in research says:

      I’m taking the time to reply to your post on the off-chance you could be persuaded.

      There have been examples of multiple homicide gun violence in Australia since the ban, but none as grotesque as Port Arthur. Mass shootings are so rare that they are difficult to correlate with gun regulations and no honest researcher would make the claim that gun regulation is the cause.

      Gun homicides and suicides are much more common and amenable to study. The very best study on Australia’s assault weapon ban showed no correlation between the already declining rates of homicide and suicide, and the passage of restrictive gun laws. The rates “fell faster” after then ban than before, but the decrease was not statistically significant for homicide rates. For suicide rates, the fall was slight, and all of the rates were overshadowed by a much greater fall in non-firearm suicide and homicide during the same period, suggesting that other factors were at play. Furthermore, the authors define mass shooting as at last 5 people dead (not including shooter). There were no shootings of this type during the post-ban study period (1996-2013), but unfortunately, in May 2018, a mass shooting occurred in Western Australia where 7 people (including 4 kids) died. There have also been other incidents of gunman killing others (or threatening mass killing) that did not meet the study definition.

      Association Between Gun Law Reforms and Intentional Firearm Deaths in Australia, 1979-2013. Chapman S, Alpers P, Jones M. JAMA. 2016 Jul 19;316(3):291-9.

      SO PLEASE DON’T SAY THAT AUSTRALIAN GUN LAWS IN 1996 CHANGED GUN VIOLENCE OR MASS SHOOTINGS

    9. avatar Thixotropic says:

      Typical Bait and Switch used by leftists asscunts like yourself.

      Violent crime CAN ALSO be said to be lower and falling because of the high number of Australians who have REFUSED to comply with the ban and there are actually MORE firearms in citizen hands than before the Socialist Govt Ban. A number of incorrect and simplistic conclusions can be made from the raw data just like all the leftists have. YOU included.

      YOU are a paid Globalist Elite useful idiot and general stooge.

      Nothing more

    10. avatar Chuckers says:

      Probably written by a frickin Democrat.

    11. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Never again? Interesting. Also never before, did you address that factoid, in that tiny mind?

    12. avatar Bill in ILL says:

      The stats prove just the opposite you mental midget.

  3. avatar I Haz A Question says:

    We seem to be experiencing an explosion of Vlad personas on TTAG today.

    1. avatar Dan says:

      I don’t even think Vlad is an authentic person. He seems like a planted troll put in TTAG comment section to generate more comments and traffic. His posts are full of triggering words or phrases simply designed to rile people up. I also find it very amusing he refuses to use the correct forms of your, you’re, there, they’re, their so people comment with corrections of his grammar. I bet he claims this is a FAR RIGHT conspiracy theory against him too. Lol

  4. Meanwhile, under Operationa Ceasefire, Boston experienced a 63% decline in criminal homicide rates over two years, without any additional; gun laws, or even increased penalties for violating existing gun laws.

    http://www.huffpost.com/entry/miracle-program-reduces-gun-violence_n_56649f58e4b072e9d1c68813

    1. avatar Chuckers says:

      Why did they have to repeal their late 1970’s early 1980’s gun laws????? Home owners were being killed right and left by armed home invaders. I know I was there, where were you back then.

      1. avatar Chuckers says:

        By the way, if you ventured into the Boston Combat Zone and didn’t know how to become invisible you were very likely to get shot even with the gun ban. It wasn;t called the combat zone for nothing. Go study your history. Yes I was a spook.

  5. avatar Wiregrass says:

    Looks like the most dramatic change occurred over 2001-2003. What could have possibly contributed to that? Could something have prompted a sudden increase in situational awareness?

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      Improvements in the economy after a mini-recession.

  6. avatar RGP says:

    Mostly opinions from people who have never been there and will never be there.

    Ok… my perspective, I am an American from Texas and I was married to an Aussie until she died so I actually lived in Australia for several years. Overall, it’s a really peaceful country compared to North America and the rest of the world. Before the so called gun ban (which was a ban on unregistered weapons), people there didn’t tend to shoot each other. Afterward, they still didn’t tend to shoot each other. To be fair, stabbings were and are more common. But still, it’s a pretty peaceful country.

    Rising crime rates in some areas are probably more linked to immigration (especially from the Lebanese muslim population in Sydney). Those guys don’t tend to use guns, they show up as a group and beat up somebody. You can’t legally open your mouth and say this in Australia.

    What that gun “ban” did was to force registration, which did nothing to help anything other than enhance revenue for the government, and made it expensive to own weapons plus added a lot of paperwork which costs extra.

    Additionally, Australia is NOT what most Americans seem to think it is. In spite of all the open spaces and remote areas, the majority of the population lives in a few major cities along the coast. Those urban residents are no different than urban residents in places like London or New York City, and when they vote, they vote for a nanny state, they vote for “safety”, they vote for whoever they think will take care of them. If you gave them every freedom in the universe right now, the first thing they would do would be to start regulating everything all over again.

    1. avatar RCC says:

      RPG
      Friend of mine married lady from USA then moved to Texas. Served in Australian then American army. Retired near Fort Hood. Where are you?

      1. avatar RGP says:

        Southeast of Dallas.

        1. avatar RCC says:

          I spent some time about an hour north of Dallas years back. Nice area similar to what my family had cattle on here ( central Queensland).

  7. avatar CliffG says:

    Studying crime statistics, say from 1948 to the present, an era in which statistical studies are available, indicate strongly that demographics and culture are fundamental. Specifically, age, culture, married status, etc. are the strongest correlations. Most Western nations have seen a drop in unmarried 18-25 year old single males, and, gee, crime rates have dropped. Alas, countries that have decided to import a fair number of that demographic have had problems. Hmm.

  8. avatar cmac890 says:

    Australia is filled with giant things that will kill you, most notably spiders and fire. Maybe lets not be like them.

  9. avatar RCC says:

    As I’ve mentioned many times here most mass murders in Australia before and after gun ban were by fire. One container of petrol on a timber building left 13 people dead on two occasions. Plus others of “just” 5 or 6 people.

    As RPG says due to geography most people are on the coast (I’m not). Australia is 30% desert and 40% arid. Mining and large scale dry land farming doesn’t take that many people nowadays.

    Cities are generally safer than Chicago etc but there are more than a few areas where asian and african gangs make it very dangerous.

    1. avatar RGP says:

      Don’t forget those urban housing projects for aborigines… ie, part of Redfern in Sydney. You don’t even want to walk past there in daylight.

  10. avatar Ralph says:

    Just spitballing here, but there aren’t a lot of Bloods, Crips and Latin Kings down under. Maybe that has just a wee tiny bit to do with Australia being a peaceful country.

    1. avatar RCC says:

      Ralph
      Somali gangs are trying to make up the difference in many inner city areas. Lebanese gangs and Vietnamese drive by shootings over who controls drugs was popular city theatre for years in Sydney. Nothing by Chicago standards and other places I’ve been in USA.

      Police are not allowed to say that race is an issue. I had this discussion with senior police again this week while checking some paperwork for them.

      Where I am in rural area there are a small number of very hard working Asian families mostly on farms that are still labour intensive. Rest of area is mostly European background. Like most rural places very low crime rate.

    2. avatar RGP says:

      And it would be fun to ride the trains in Sydney on Thursday night when the Lebs are out to borrow other people’s late night shopping!

    3. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      Ralph, ‘Oz’ is thick with “Bikie” gangs :

      https://www.newidea.com.au/australian-bikie-gangs-complete-list-of-outlaw-motorcycle-clubs

      …and they do there what biker gangs like Hell’s Angles, Mongrels, etc. do here…

  11. avatar former water walker says:

    I belong to an Australian bodybuilding FB group. The old guy’s who run it hate the Aussie government and LOVE Trump! Rabidly. MAGA hats,coins and the whole bit. If you say anything negative about Trump(or America) you get deleted. Dunno what they think about guns…I may bring it up for chits & giggles😃

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