The Impact of Tighter Gun Laws in Australia

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December 10, 2015 by Chris Kite

Back in 1996, there was a mass shooting in Australia that brought all sides together and saw a change in gun laws in Australia. It was led by Australia’s conservative Prime Minister. Gun laws in Australia were never like they are in the US, but it was easier to own guns and more people could own more types of guns prior to the changes.

The right is quick to claim that “banning guns” isn’t going to end mass murder or solve all our crime problems. And that is true. But there are several things that are key in addressing that claim. First of all, Australia did not ban guns. They made it harder to get guns and set national standards for gun ownership requirements. Secondly, Australian violent crime rates are on the decline.

The results have been what common sense would dictate. Random mass shootings of the type that caused action on gun ownership have been non-existent. There have still been mass murders, and even mass shootings (involving people that knew each other), but the overall trend is that violent crime is decreasing. Murders were already fairly rare in Australia and they are now even more rare (1.1 murders per year per 100,000 people versus 3.8 murders per year per 100,000 people in the US).

The pro gun crowd often talks about a violent crime increase since the gun laws were changed, but here are violent crime statistics by the Australian governments Institute of Criminology. It sure looks like violent crime is on a downward trend to me.

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