Australia's Strict Gun Laws Aren't Preventing Shootings

Australia's Strict Gun Laws Aren't Preventing Shootings
photo from breitbart.comweb photo

Despite Australia's extremely strict gun control laws that prohibit most firearms from civilian ownership, there has been an average of one shooting a week in one of it's largest cities, and black market guns are regularly smuggled into the country by criminals.

In October of last year, the Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton enraged U.S. gun owners when she said that a gun buyback program similar to the one Australia implemented in 1996 is “worth considering” in the U.S.

"I don't know enough details to tell you how we would do it or how it would work, but certainly the Australia example is worth looking at," Clinton said at a New Hampshire town hall meeting.

The Australian government purchased more than 650,000 guns from citizens during the compulsory 1996 National Firearms Buyback Scheme, after which most of those guns became illegal to own.

Despite the country's policy as being a model example for many anti-gun activists, a report from Breitbart.com this week points out that in Melbourne, Australia, one of the country's largest cities, there has been "more than one shooting a week every week on average since January 2015."

According to theage.com, "Crimes associated with firearm possession have also more than doubled, driven by the easy availability of handguns, semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, and increasingly, machine guns, that are smuggled into the country or stolen from licensed owners."

The story goes on to say that "criminals are now better armed than at any time since then-Prime Minister John Howard introduced a nationwide firearm buyback scheme in response to the 1996 Port Arthur massacre."

Australia conducted another compulsory buyback in 2003 when laws regarding handguns were tightened and more firearms became illegal. The new laws banned any target pistols chambered for anything larger than a .38 caliber, along with any handguns with barrels less than 120mm. Firearms bought by the government were destroyed.

According to Wikipedia, "the 1996 'National Firearms Buyback Program' took 660,959 firearms out of private hands comprising long guns, mostly semi-automatic rimfire rifles, and shotguns as well as pump-action shotguns, and a smaller proportion of higher powered military type semi-automatic rifles."

The Age story says http://www.theage.com.au/interactive/2016/gun-city/day1.html that gun crime became elevated in March 2016 with “two shootings a day for a week” and police “seizing a firearm every two days.” And in October—the same month Clinton made her comment—“a 54-year-old father was killed and his four-year-old son wounded in a drive-by shooting on a Thomastown home that now appears to be a tragic case of mistaken identity.”

The story says such drive-by shootings are commonplace in the north-western suburbs of Melbourne.

  • There have been at least 99 shootings in the past 20 months – more than one incident a week since January 2015

  • Known criminals were caught with firearms 755 times last year, compared to 143 times in 2011

  • The epicentre of the problem is a triangle between Coolaroo, Campbellfield and Glenroy in the north-west, with Cranbourne, Narre Warren and Dandenong in the south-east close behind

  • Criminals are using gunshot wounds to the arms and legs as warnings to pay debts

  • Assault rifles and handguns are being smuggled into Australia via shipments of electronics and metal parts