Down under, Gun Control Really Works

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 13, 1999 | Go to article overview

Down under, Gun Control Really Works


Contrary to Stephen Chapman's negative conclusion in his Aug. 25 commentary ("Can gun laws halt the horror?") the answer - in Australia - is a resounding yes.

At the conclusion of the Australian government's guns buyback scheme in September 1997, more than 600,000 firearms had been handed in to authorities in return for almost $300 million in compensation.

More importantly, and contrary to your commentator's claims, gun-related crimes have dropped. In 1996, before the nationwide agreement on firearms - where self-loading rifles, shotguns and pump action shotguns were banned, and where a comprehensive registration system for all firearms was introduced - Australia recorded 348 homicides. By 1998, this had dropped to 333. Likewise, the rate of homicides per 100,000 people had dropped from 1.90 in 1996 to 1.78 in 1998.

Simply put: Firearms are being used less often in violent crimes, such as murder, attempted murder, kidnapping and armed robbery.

The statistics bear this out: Where firearms are present in violent crimes, the statistics show a drop between 1996 and 1997 from 25.3 percent to 24.2 percent for armed robbery; from 5.2 percent to 3.6 percent for kidnapping/ abduction; from 5. …

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