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Old Dec 30, 2012, 01:01 AM   #1
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'US Can Learn From Australia's Gun Laws' Sky News Article

From Sky News today, interesting read:

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When Martin Bryant massacred 35 people with semi-automatic weapons at a tourist spot in Tasmania in 1996, then-Australian prime minister John Howard reacted swiftly by pushing for tough new national gun laws.

Just 12 days after the shootings at Port Arthur, legislation was agreed which banned most people from owning rapid fire rifles and shotguns.

In a government buyback scheme more than 600,000 weapons were handed in and destroyed.

US Gun Laws: State By State
There have been no mass killings since.

Neil Noye was the local Mayor at the time. Speaking to Channel 9 about the recent US killings he said: "It's devastating and my thoughts and prayers go out to those families because I know exactly what they are going through.

"John Howard brought the gun laws in. Some people hated him and some people loved him, but I think that was a good thing."

Now US President Barack Obama is facing the same dilemma after the Newtown school massacre in Connecticut that killed 20 children and six adults.

While the gun lobby is far more powerful in the US and gun ownership culturally embedded through the constitution, the conservative Mr Howard says now is the time to tackle the politically sensitive issue.

"It will be difficult but it can be done," Mr Howard, who had only been in the job two months when the Port Arthur killings happened, told Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

Speaking earlier this year after another US gun massacre, Mr Howard noted: "If I hadn't done something I would have been squandering the moral authority I had as a newly-elected prime minister."

Australian MP Andrew Leigh has studied and written about the effects of the legislation.

"One in three American households has a gun, and that has terrible consequences when a teenager gets depressed or a family dispute gets out of control," he said.

"There are Australians who wouldn't be walking the streets if it wasn't for the gun buyback. It saved about 200 lives a year it continues to make Australia a safer place today."

The politician believes America can learn a great deal from the Australian experience and says the US "can recognise that you can have both - you can have that culture of sport shooting that Americans prize so dearly but without the tragic gun violence that plagues so many American lives every year".

In 2009 in Australia there were 0.1 gun murders per 100,000 people compared to 3.2 per 100,000 in the US, according to the most recent data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Philip Alpers, an analyst on gun violence at the University of Sydney who worked on weapons control in the US for four years, admits drawing parallels between Australia and US is difficult.

"Culturally we are very different. The automatic Australian reaction after Port Arthur was that we need to pull back on gun ownership - fewer guns are better. Howard had a groundswell of public support on his side," he said.

"In the US, reaction over the past few years has increasingly been, more guns make us safer. Guns are confused with freedom and opinion is so polarised that it might be impossible for Obama to do anything."

Not everyone in Australia has been convinced by the legislation.

Colourful independent MP in rural Queensland, Bob Katter, said: "You can ban all the guns in the world but those sort of people find some other way of doing it.

"You create a morbid fascination when you ban them and I think that has a lot to do with some of these terrible incidents that are occurring."

The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia, which lobbied against the Howard laws, says gun death rates were falling anyway.

It points to an independent report by the Melbourne Institute in 2008 which contradicts claims that fewer guns mean fewer homicides and suicides.

"There is little evidence to suggest that it had any significant effects on firearm homicides and suicides," the Melbourne study concluded, referring to the National Firearms Agreement.

Australia still has gun crime of course, especially amongst Sydney's biker gangs, but since Port Arthur no Australian shooting has made global headlines.

Unlike in America guns aren't entwined in Australia's culture, but changing gun laws was still a brave move, as politicians in Washington know all too well.

Last edited by stridemat; Dec 30, 2012 at 11:07 AM. Reason: Added quote tags and article link
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 01:19 AM   #2
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Remember that in Australia, it was the Australian people that paid the money to fund the buy-back of the guns via a slight increase in the medicare tax that Australians pay. So it was the tax payers who bought back all the guns.

Those people who say "if the good guys hand in the guns, the baddies will be the only ones who have guns" should look at what happened in Australia after the buy-back. It wasn't a case of handing in guns. It was a case of the Australian government buying back the guns, and the Australian people paying for them in their taxes.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...-in-australia/

http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4432912.html
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 01:27 AM   #3
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 01:36 AM   #4
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The sheer quantity of guns in the US makes it a different story than Australia. You can confiscate every legal gun, but there will be tons of illegal guns on the street, and now with victims criminals know can't shoot back. Please don't think that means I am saying we should stand here with our eyes closed...it doesn't. I'm noting this to show how the US' case isn't the same.

Thus far, no one is highlighting what I think is a reasonable way to tackle the American issue of gun violence and 'accidents' on either side. There are many guns in America. America has a rich shooting history and 'gun culture' is a big thing. There is also a serious mental health crisis and education crisis in the US that other countries aren't facing.

At the same time, there are a few nations with about half as many guns in the US per-capita, but homicide rates with firearms that are some of the lowest in the world. These nations are not nearly as strict in terms of ownership as they are often made to be. This shows the issue is bigger than just guns and reiterates that it is people killing people with guns, not guns killing people (this is something that is often forgotten). I would argue that it shows that legislation that has no relation to firearms whatsoever could potentially have great affect on firearm deaths. So we are now faced with the question of, "why are people in this country shooting each other at a rate that is not proportional to other countries?"...sadly, it's not something that is being explored in a fashion I would personally call acceptable. It's a huge question...like, for example...
-Is it because we are failing to follow and abide by our own rules?
-Is it because of our education system?
-Is it because we embrace violent music, television, movies, and videogames?
-Is it because mental health is being neglected and people aren't getting needed care?
-Is it because basic safety is being neglected?
-Is it because American culture is inherently more violent?
-Is it because our justice system is not serving justice?
-Is it something completely different?

Legislation in the US will need to be mindful that people like to shoot guns. I like to shoot guns. I like my right to own a variety of guns. Personally, I see destroying firearms as wasteful, and often the destruction of art/history pieces that can't be replaced. US legislation will have to start at a point that emphasizes safety training, good storage technique, better background checks and enforcement of existing laws, and better management of secondary sales (none of which undermine the Second Amendment but make real efforts to reduce violence). Legislation that restricts the right of a law-abiding citizen to buy a firearm isn't going to fly. I'm personally against it as are many others. Banning a type of long gun that is rarely used in a crime is not the right place to begin at IMO. My state is trying to ban and confiscate 'black guns'. Last year, they accounted for two to four homicides, depending how you classify them. I don't see the practicality in considering banning until: 1) we look at this issue from a more holistic perspective, 2) we enforce our existing laws, and 3) we try less invasive measures. It has to start there.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 03:23 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by NickZac View Post
These nations are not nearly as strict in terms of ownership as they are often made to be.
Maybe not, but they are a lot stricter than the US is.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 04:57 AM   #6
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No one claims there is an easy solution, so at least one small step in the right is one step.

I draw the analogy that gun-enthusiasts use, namely, that cars can be used to kill people, but no one suggests banning cars.

Fine.

So, at the very minimum, there should be legislation equivalent to car use:

- people need take lessons to use the firearm;

- people need to take an exam with an instructor to assess whether the person meets the standard;

- the person needs a licence with photo;

- fines for misuse of the apparatus, analogous to speeding etc.

- the apparatus, the firearm or car, must be registered with the registration number stated on the firearm/car.

If the gun lobby uses the car analogy, then it has to be used consistently.

No one is saying, if the above are done, then the problem is solved, but it is a start.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 05:13 AM   #7
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And NONE of these reforms old have had ANY impact on the last shooting, where the guy who did the shooting was already banned from gun ownership under the current law.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 06:28 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by thewitt View Post
And NONE of these reforms old have had ANY impact on the last shooting, where the guy who did the shooting was already banned from gun ownership under the current law.
Which is why we should concentrate on things like safety initiatives rather than the whole 'let's ban this' or 'let's pass legislation that complicates the process and deters people from buying'. Working towards some type of medium that avoids undermining the Second Amendment is a must IMO. Heavier regulation that undermines Second Amendment rights will do very little other than possibly enable criminals. And surely, heavier regulation that makes the subject taboo is not the cure to stopping firearm accidents, especially involving curious children who always are interested in taboo topics. Furthermore, it seems likely that heavier firearm regulations would result in a change of tactics by criminals rather than criminals giving up on a life of crime.

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Originally Posted by Eraserhead View Post
Maybe not, but they are a lot stricter than the US is.
But not nearly as restrictive as the UK.

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Originally Posted by katewes View Post
No one claims there is an easy solution, so at least one small step in the right is one step.

I draw the analogy that gun-enthusiasts use, namely, that cars can be used to kill people, but no one suggests banning cars.

Fine.

So, at the very minimum, there should be legislation equivalent to car use:

- people need take lessons to use the firearm;

- people need to take an exam with an instructor to assess whether the person meets the standard;

- the person needs a licence with photo;

- fines for misuse of the apparatus, analogous to speeding etc.

- the apparatus, the firearm or car, must be registered with the registration number stated on the firearm/car.

If the gun lobby uses the car analogy, then it has to be used consistently.

No one is saying, if the above are done, then the problem is solved, but it is a start.
Current firearm laws mandate everything here except education requirements. Most gun owners would support some degree of mandated education and FFLs would absolutely support it because its a net reduction in liability and arguably will save lives. But this is why we do not need more laws. Rather, we need to enforce the existing ones.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 07:13 AM   #9
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Rather, we need to enforce the existing ones.
Our laws are a mish mash of 50 state and dozens upon dozens of local laws. We need national laws and standards.

As for enforcing existing laws, which I hear often from the NRA and its followers, how about the NRA stop its campaigns against funding the ATF and others responsible for enforcing gun laws as well as pushing regulations to restrict enforcement?
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 08:23 AM   #10
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You can try a voluntary buyback plan but you can't confiscate weaponry unless you get 75% of states on board.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 09:19 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by thewitt View Post
And NONE of these reforms old have had ANY impact on the last shooting, where the guy who did the shooting was already banned from gun ownership under the current law.
A compulsory education program and compulsory secure storage would have both helped hugely with the recent case, as would preventing people with mentally ill people in their home from owning a gun.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 10:47 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by thewitt View Post
And NONE of these reforms old have had ANY impact on the last shooting, where the guy who did the shooting was already banned from gun ownership under the current law.
And yet these reforms have done an great job of preventing 200+ shootings from even happening every year in Australia.

It's obvious you're never going to prevent this type of thing from happening all together, but it's also clear that reducing the number of guns in a society WILL reduce the number of incidents of gun violence. Canada, Australia, and many European countries are proof of this.

As far as I'm concerned any amount of lives saved is a step in the right direction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by katewes View Post
No one claims there is an easy solution, so at least one small step in the right is one step.

I draw the analogy that gun-enthusiasts use, namely, that cars can be used to kill people, but no one suggests banning cars.
It's just a bad analogy though. People can be killed by cars, but cars are designed for transportation and people only die in them when there is an accident.

Guns are designed for one thing, and one thing only: killing.

Quote:
Fine.

So, at the very minimum, there should be legislation equivalent to car use:

- people need take lessons to use the firearm;

- people need to take an exam with an instructor to assess whether the person meets the standard;

- the person needs a licence with photo;

- fines for misuse of the apparatus, analogous to speeding etc.

- the apparatus, the firearm or car, must be registered with the registration number stated on the firearm/car.

If the gun lobby uses the car analogy, then it has to be used consistently.

No one is saying, if the above are done, then the problem is solved, but it is a start.
It's a start for sure. The fact that we don't regulate killing machines as much as we do transportation machines is just asinine.

But there are many more problems than just the way we license guns in this country.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 10:55 AM   #13
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 11:40 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by SilentPanda View Post
YouTube: video
When was this video made?

EDIT: Actually it looks like many violent crimes have dropped since the gun ban.

http://www.aic.gov.au/statistics/violent%20crime.html

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1...ross-Australia
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 11:53 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Eraserhead View Post
When was this video made?

EDIT: Actually it looks like many violent crimes have dropped since the gun ban.

http://www.aic.gov.au/statistics/violent%20crime.html

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1...ross-Australia
Are those all gun related? If not that doesn't really say much. From wiki:

"A 2008 study on the effects of the firearm buybacks by Wang-Sheng Lee and Sandy Suardi of Melbourne University's Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research studied the data and concluded, "Despite the fact that several researchers using the same data have examined the impact of the NFA on firearm deaths, a consensus does not appear to have been reached. In this paper, we re-analyze the same data on firearm deaths used in previous research, using tests for unknown structural breaks as a means to identifying impacts of the NFA. The results of these tests suggest that the NFA did not have any large effects on reducing firearm homicide or suicide rates."[47]"

Many times these studies site suicide statistics as well, which is not what we should be looking at since there are alternative means of killing oneself.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 12:17 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Eraserhead View Post
When was this video made?

EDIT: Actually it looks like many violent crimes have dropped since the gun ban.

http://www.aic.gov.au/statistics/violent%20crime.html

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1...ross-Australia
Not sure to be honest. The gun buyback was in 1997 I believe so contextually I'd figure within a year or two after. But I admit I have no clue.

Unfortunately the percentages in the video (and most percentages in general) don't tell good stories anyway.

However I don't think the parent articles main point of "there have been no mass killings since" is very interesting. To be honest I think our x per 100,000 number would be down quite a bit if we did more in regards to gang violence which is where most of the intentional killings take place.

I don't own a gun and have no intent of ever owning one but I think it's unfortunate if we attempt to remove the rights of the vast responsible majority for the very very very slim irresponsible minority.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 05:20 PM   #17
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 10:23 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by rdowns View Post
Our laws are a mish mash of 50 state and dozens upon dozens of local laws. We need national laws and standards.

As for enforcing existing laws, which I hear often from the NRA and its followers, how about the NRA stop its campaigns against funding the ATF and others responsible for enforcing gun laws as well as pushing regulations to restrict enforcement?
Unification of laws can be a very good thing...current transportation laws makes interstate travel with a firearm potentially problematic to legal firearm owners. However, how do you blend laws from states on both sides of the argument?

That's a question to direct to the NRA, not me.

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You can try a voluntary buyback plan but you can't confiscate weaponry unless you get 75% of states on board.
God I hope it never reaches that point...
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 12:09 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by NickZac View Post
Unification of laws can be a very good thing...current transportation laws makes interstate travel with a firearm potentially problematic to legal firearm owners. However, how do you blend laws from states on both sides of the argument?
..
Do you believe states should be able to severely limit gun ownership ?
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 02:52 AM   #20
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Do you believe states should be able to severely limit gun ownership ?
Personally I'm undecided. I don't think that limiting gun ownership will reduce crime and I think it will harm law-abiding citizens, but if something like this goes to the people and it is what they want, what are you supposed to do?

Prevailing attitudes on gun culture vary wildly by locality and so unifying certain laws would be almost impossible. At the same time, unified background checks, safety requirements, transportation laws I think can and should be standardized.
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 03:50 AM   #21
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Some facts about firearms in Australia .


Gun Control in Australia
Posted on May 10, 2009 , Updated on May 11, 2009


Q: Did gun control in Australia lead to more murders there last year?
A: This ĎGun History Lessoní is recycled bunk from a decade ago. Murders in Australia actually are down to record lows.

FULL ANSWER
The e-mail says that "[i]t has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms." Actually, itís been 13 years since Australian gun law was originally changed. In 1996, the government banned some types of guns, instituted a buyback program and imposed stricter licensing and registration requirements. Gun ownership rates in Australia declined from 7 percent to 5 percent. Another law in 2002 tightened restrictions a bit more, restricting caliber, barrel length and capacity for sport shooting handguns.
Have murders increased since the gun law change, as claimed? Actually, Australian crime statistics show a marked decrease in homicides since the gun law change. According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, a government agency, the number of homicides in Australia did increase slightly in 1997 and peaked in 1999, but has since declined to the lowest number on record in 2007, the most recent year for which official figures are available.

Furthermore, murders using firearms have declined even more sharply than murders in general since the 1996 gun law. In the seven years prior to 1997, firearms were used in 24 percent of all Australian homicides. But most recently, firearms were used in only 11 percent of Australian homicides, according to figures for the 12 months ending July 1, 2007. Thatís a decline of more than half since enactment of the gun law to which this message refers.

http://www.factcheck.org/2009/05/gun...-in-australia/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_Australia

I Think that it is totally unrealistic to compare Australia with the US over firearms, just the sheer numbers makes the head spin.

But the fact is something does need to change and fast, if we are not going to see major killing sprees every few months.
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 04:30 AM   #22
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 08:01 AM   #23
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And NONE of these reforms old have had ANY impact on the last shooting, where the guy who did the shooting was already banned from gun ownership under the current law.
So then your position is: even if heavily restricting firearms prevents a few hundred or thousand deaths, the fact that a single death still happens is proof that no regulation should take place.

Sounds reasonable. :roll eyes:


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Our laws are a mish mash of 50 state and dozens upon dozens of local laws. We need national laws and standards.
This is 100% true. As long as each state has differing purchase laws, the laws in any other state are completely meaningless. That's why people keep parroting "look at how the gun ban in Chicago worked har har har!" OK, so they restrict them in one area, so people just drive half an hour to another area where they aren't and get their death sticks. Until you have a comprehensive nationwide control scheme in place where firearms are checked for at a customs border, nothing else will matter.
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 09:12 AM   #24
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My position is very simple.

Solve the problem.

The problem is not gun ownership.
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 09:26 AM   #25
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My position is very simple.

Solve the problem.

The problem is not gun ownership.
And what, praytell, do you think the problem is?

I don't think anyone believes it is the only problem, but denying a problem exists is delusional.

And ownership may not be the problem - it's the who, what, and the how that may be the problem.
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