Australia experiencing more violent crime despite gun ban
Austin Gun Rights Examiner ^
| 8 April, 2009 | Howard Nemerov
In a previous article, we examined the revisionist history of anti-rights proponents who claim that since Australia instituted their gun ban, there have been no mass murders, despite the recent “gun-free” massacre of 135 Australians.
It is a common fantasy that gun bans make society safer. Peace Movement Aotearoa, based in New Zealand, calls itself a “national networking organization…interested in peace and social justice.” A fact sheet on their site is entitled Sharp Drop in Gun Crime Follows Tough Australian Firearm Laws. It’s very revealing that gun ban organizations validate gun control by focusing on gun-involved violence while avoiding any mention of overall violent crime trends.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there was a slight drop in the percent of murders committed with a firearm between 2001 and 2007 (16.0% and 13.4%, respectively). However, the percentage was highest in 2006 (16.3%) and remains higher than the low of 8.9% in 2005. There is no difference in the use of a firearm in robbery: Guns were used in 6.4% of all robberies in both 2001 and 2007.
In 2002–five years after enacting its gun ban–the Australian Bureau of Criminology acknowledged there is no correlation between gun control and the use of firearms in violent crime: “The percentage of homicides committed with a firearm continued its declining trend since 1969.”
Even the head of Australia’s Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Don Weatherburn, acknowledged that the gun ban had no significant impact on the amount of gun-involved crime: There has been a drop in firearm-related crime, particularly in homicide, but it began long before the new laws and has continued on afterwards. I don't think anyone really understands why. A lot of people assume that the tougher laws did it, but I would need more specific, convincing evidence …
There has been a more specific … problem with handguns, which rose up quite rapidly and then declined. The decline appears to have more to do with the arrest of those responsible than the new laws. As soon as the heroin shortage hit, the armed robbery rate came down. I don't think it was anything to do with the tougher firearm laws.
Weatherburn also acknowledged that the best crime measure consists of “the arrest of those responsible.”
Moreover, Australia and America both experienced similar decreases in murder rates: Between 1995 and 2007, Australia saw a 31.9% decrease; without a gun ban, America’s rate dropped 31.7%.
Now for the rest of the story
During the same time period, all other violent crime indices increased in Australia: assault rose 49.2% and robbery 6.2%. Sexual assault–Australia’s equivalent term for rape–increased 29.9%. Overall, Australia’s violent crime rate rose 42.2%. At the same time, U.S. violent crime decreased 31.8%: rape dropped 19.2%; robbery decreased 33.2%; aggravated assault dropped 32.2%. Australian women are now raped over three times as often as American women (whom ABC reports are arming themselves at record rates because of safety concerns): More women, from soccer moms to professionals like the ones at the Blue Ridge Arsenal gun range in Chantilly, Va., are packing heat for sport, self-empowerment and protection.
While this doesn’t prove that more guns would impact crime rates, it does prove that gun control is a flawed policy. Moreover, for groups like Peace Movement Aotearoa, it’s apparently social justice when more people are raped, robbed, and assaulted, as long as they cannot defend themselves with firearms. This highlights the most important point: Gun banners promote failed policy irregardless of the consequences to the people who must live with them.
Violent crime rates compiled from Australian Bureau of Statistics and U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation sources. Email request for Excel workbook.