Equal time, and a clarification…

I received a comment an Aussie reader (Pax) and a link to another Australian article in The Conversation, from Monash University.

In the wake of the Port Arthur massacre and Monash University shootings, the conservative government of John Howard introduced a series of gun laws. These restricted who could own guns and the type of guns they could own.

While the impact of the Australian gun laws is still debated, there have been large decreases in the number of firearm suicides and the number of firearm homicides in Australia. Homicide rates in Australia are only 1.2 per 100,000 people people, with less than 15 percent of these resulting from firearms.

Prior to the implementation of the gun laws, 112 people were killed in 11 mass shootings. Since the implementation of the gun laws, no comparable gun massacres have occured in Australia.

Remarkably, American pro-gun advocates try to use the impact of the Australian gun law reform to make a case that reform “doesn’t work”. This seems amazing given the homicide rate in the United States is 5 per 100,000 people, with most homicides involving firearms.

When gun advocates use Australian crime stats, they sometimes employ a number of misleading tricks and sleights of hand. These tricks are common to several politically charged debates, and are a form of pseudo-science. Lets look at these tricks in action.

Full article presented HERE.

I’m not going to argue the statistics presented here, but I’d be curious as to the current rates and deaths per year. The last authoritative study quoted in the article was in 2006. I know from discussions I’ve personally had with both LEOs and ER docs in Australia, they are seeing more ‘illegal’ guns used. Now what that definition of ‘more’ is, I’m not sure.

Thanks Pax, appreciate your chiming in and your clarification!


Equal time, and a clarification… — 15 Comments

  1. I have a right to bear arms.
    The wrong things that others do with them should not impinge on the recognition of that right.
    We have a Constitution to recognize that and other rights.
    The Aussies don’t.
    They have the same rights we do. It’s just that their government doesn’t recognize them.

  2. Well of course. If you make guns illegal, you will see more illegal guns used. If we made food illegal, you would see more illegal food eaten, too.

  3. She also copied me on that email. As in the video, I question his statistics as they were so vague. Nothing concrete. I can also see Pax’s side as some of the guys in the video were from gun clubs. But neither the video or the article changes my stance on gun control…or any government control on my freedom.

  4. To me, the philosophical arguments mean very little. I have a right to keep and bear firearms and there are methods for anyone that disagrees to amend the Constitution.

    As far as crime statistics, they mean very little either, since the actual acts are by criminals, which give up their rights when they’re convicted of a felony. They’ve decide they don’t want to follow laws, and making their weapons a crime is only a platitude for those unwilling to take their own safety as a responsibility.

  5. Since former Australian Gun Banning Prime Minister John Howard decided last week to jump into the “Gun Control Debate” here in the U.S. with his comment that “Australia doesn’t have a Bill of Rights, NOR DO I THINK WE NEED ONE…” I think the Australians deserve everything their Political Masters serve them.

    Thank God we have SOME Recourse via the Courts here in America and the Legislature to mitigate the effects of OUR Dictator-in-Chief and his Agenda, BECAUSE We the People have the Bill of Rights.

    And when the Australian’s New Masters arrive from China and set up shop, I’ll be laughing my ass off.

  6. I noticed the author did not report whether the suicide rate had changed (using other means than a firearm,) if the overall rate had changed. If not, then the firearm argument is worthless as having no bearing. The same applies to the crime rate/homicide rate. Did they change, too, or remain the same?

    Ditto, what Carteach0 said.

  7. Ed Bonderenka’s point is an excellent one – We The People have a right to keep and bear arms for our defense be that against criminals, the insane, or a tyrannical government. We have a right to possess any firearm our “betters” possess. If we don’t need defensive weaponry then why do our police need armored cars and SWAT teams?

    But the point about statistics still stands. It is why quoting statistics is always an issue. As the Australian article pointed out, a stat quoted by the NRA only applied to one section of one city for only two years.

    And the same can be said about firearms violence in the US. Filter out the gangbangers in the inner cities and you find a right peaceable population not much inclined to shoot one another.

    When the gun grabbers send their would be storm troopers into those places to control and confiscate ILLEGALLY possessed and employed firearms I might start believing they actually cared about he kiddies. Until then I will remain convinced that all they are after is a docile and defenseless population.

    What we have failed to do is control the crazies.

  8. ASM- Good point

    WSF- Yep

    CP- Concur, I’m just trying to present ALL of the sides…

    Jess- Good point too!

    Les- Yeah, I didn’t ‘quite’ believe that he actually SAID that…

    Agirl- Yep

    Crucis- I ‘think’ I’ve got another one in the pipeline- Standby…

    Knucklehead- Yep, we’ve ‘had’ that argument for years… And no, we DON’T do a good job of filtering those folks out.

  9. If you follow the link to the Australian Institute of Criminology, you’ll find that the homicide rate before the gun bans was about 2 per 100k people/year. So Australia had far fewer homicides than the US anyway.
    So you can say that the homicide rate down under dropped from 2 to 1.2 (per 100k) because of gun control, right?
    Not so fast, because the US homicide rate in 1994 was about 9 per 100k and if it’s 5 per 100k now (per the article), the US has had a 44% decrease in homicides compared to their 40% decline.
    Hey, they’re right! Statistics can be tricky.

  10. Interesting… I’m a med student currently studying in Australia, formerly a paramedic in the US, and I’d have to say that comparing the small city I’m in now to the small city where I lived in the US, violent crime rates are higher here. However, homicides and crimes committed with guns are much less common – lots of stabbings, ‘bottlings’, and beatings, but it’s fairly unusual to find deaths from violence here, probably because despite the number of disputes they’re generally resolved with less lethal means.

    I’d also point out that it’s not manipulating the numbers to identify some statistics but not others – no single cogent document could ever contain all the crime statistics for one of the largest nations on earth, let alone two of them. One of the biggest problems with this debate is that both sides use their own numbers and there isn’t an equivalent to “life-expectancy” or “miles per gallon” as a standard measure of peacekeeping. Same problem plagues medicine for lots of applications, and it makes conversations very difficult as one side refuses to look past ‘gun deaths’ while the other tries to say things like “if you overlook the violent, crime-ridden areas, we’re really very peaceful.” Folks need to be able to agree on a goal before any kind of progress can happen.