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Austrlian Model of Gun Control


The Australian Model Published February 16, 2018

In October 2017 my wife, Linda Ferguson, and I went on a cruise leaving Honalulu, Hawaii, travelling to French Polynesia, New Zealand and ending in Australia. Due to the fact that it ended in Australia, we met many Australians, who were guests on the ship. They had many questions about America (or "The States" as we were known).

On two occasions I spoke with Australian small business owners, conservative in their economic outlook. If living in the United States, they would most likely support the policies of the Republican Party. However, they both had strong, positive feelings about the enacted gun laws now on the books over twenty years.

One of the questions Australians posed to us was their amazement that America had no gun control laws. This was a current topic as the murder of 58 people (with 851 wounded) in Las Vegas had just occurred, two weeks into our 18 day cruise. The topic could not have been avoided.

Australians shared with us that in the mid 1990s there was a horrific shooting in their country. In response the government moved quickly to enact gun control laws and that, since the inaction of the laws twenty years ago, there had been no shootings such as the ones that had just occurred in Las Vegas. The news of the Las Vegas event was sobering as we were leaving French Polynesia and approaching the islands of New Zealand.

We were unable to answer the question why America had no gun laws, except to say that it was politically dangerous for some candidates to challenge a prevailing opinion of some that Americans have a Constitution that permits gun ownership. The Australians replied, "But what about firearms built for mass destruction?" We had no adequate answer. Now, on Valentines Day we have another horrific shooting amongst the most innocent of people , our children. The response of grief has again energized the gun control movement. So let's look at the Australian Gun Control Law as objectively as possible. Would it be successful in reducing Gun Violence in America?

" In response the government moved quickly to enact gun control laws and that, since the inaction of the laws twenty years ago, there had been no shootings such as the ones that had just occurred in Las Vegas."

What is this Gun Control Law?

The NFA(National Firearms Agreement) placed tight control on semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons. It did permit their use by licensed individuals who required them for a purpose other than 'personal protection'. The act included a gun buy-back provision.

How does this work?

The Agreement established six categories of firearms in order to evaluate the danger each type weapon possesses.

The Agreement includes a number of provisions. It was agreed to establish a temporary firearm buyback program for firearms that were once legal and now determined to be illegal. Accordingly the Council on Foreign Relations bought over 650,000 firearms. This program, which cost $230 million, was paid for by an increase in the country's taxes.

The law created a national firearm registry, a 28-day waiting period for firearm sales, and tightened firearm licensing rules. The law requires anyone wishing to possess or use a firearm, with some exceptions, be over the age of 12. Owners must be at least 18 years of age, have secure storage for their firearms and provide a "genuine reason" for doing so.

Studies (There were many and below are a few examples):

There are many. Some were general in nature arguing that the law did not fully accomplish what it attended. Some studies stated that the method of evaluating was faulty and, thus, the conclusions reached were suspect. The majority came out with a positive finding that gun violence, though not eradicated, was diminished.

  • In 2003, researchers from the Monash University Accident Research Centre examined firearm deaths and mortality in the years before and after firearm regulation. They concluded that there was "dramatic" reduction in firearm deaths and especially suicides due to "the implementation of strong regulatory reform".
  • A study coauthored by Simon Chapman concluded: "Australia's 1996 gun law reforms were followed by more than a decade free of fatal mass shootings, and accelerated declines in firearm deaths, particularly suicides. Total homicide rates followed the same pattern. Removing large numbers of rapid-firing firearms from civilians may be an effective way of reducing mass shootings, firearm homicides and firearm suicides.
  • David Hemenway and Mary Vriniotis of Harvard University, funded by the Joyce Foundation, summarized the research in 2011 and concluded; "it would have been difficult to imagine more compelling future evidence of a beneficial effect." They said that a complication in evaluating the effect of the NFA was that gun deaths were falling in the early 1990s. They added that everyone should be pleased with the "immediate, and continuing, reduction" in firearm suicide and firearm homicide following the NFA.
  • In 2016 a study by Adam Lankford, associate professor of criminal justice, examined the links between public mass shootings and gun availability in various countries. He found that the restrictions in Australia were effective, concluding that "in the wake of these policies, Australia has yet to experience another public mass shooting.
  • A most compelling evidence for the effectiveness of the Australian Gun Control Laws is the support of the Australian people who even had their taxes raised in order to effectively enact the legislation.


    To return to Gun Control discussion, click: Gun Control Web page

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