View Full Version : Australia: Buyback has no effect on murder rate

03-20-2007, 5:28 AM
No... Really? Ya don't say.

Buyback has no effect on murder rate

Matthew Moore
October 24, 2006

HALF a billion dollars spent buying back hundreds of thousands of guns after the Port Arthur massacre had no effect on the homicide rate, says a study published in an influential British journal.

The report by two Australian academics, published in the British Journal of Criminology, said statistics gathered in the decade since Port Arthur showed gun deaths had been declining well before 1996 and the buyback of more than 600,000 mainly semi-automatic rifles and pump-action shotguns had made no difference in the rate of decline.

The only area where the package of Commonwealth and State laws, known as the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) may have had some impact was on the rate of suicide, but the study said the evidence was not clear and any reductions attributable to the new gun rules were slight.

"Homicide patterns (firearm and non-firearm) were not influenced by the NFA, the conclusion being that the gun buyback and restrictive legislative changes had no influence on firearm homicide in Australia," the study says.

In his first year in office, the Prime Minister, John Howard, forced through some of the world's toughest gun laws, including the national buyback scheme, after Martin Bryant used semi-automatic rifles to shoot dead 35 people at Port Arthur.

Although furious licensed gun-owners said the laws would have no impact because criminals would not hand in their guns, Mr Howard and others predicted the removal of so many guns from the community, and new laws making it harder to buy and keep guns, would lead to a reduction in all types of gun-related deaths.

One of the authors of the study, Jeanine Baker, said she knew in 1996 it would be impossible for years to know whether the Prime Minister or the shooters were right.

"I have been collecting data since 1996 The decision was we would wait for a decade and then evaluate," she said.

The findings were clear, she said: "The policy has made no difference. There was a trend of declining deaths that has continued."

Dr Baker and her co-author, Samara McPhedran, declared their membership of gun groups in the article, something Dr Baker said they had done deliberately to make clear "who we are" and head off any possible criticism that they had hidden relevant details.

The significance of the article was not who had written it but the fact it had been published in a respected journal after the regular rigorous process of being peer reviewed, she said.

Politicians had assumed tighter gun laws would cut off the supply of guns to would-be criminals and that homicide rates would fall as a result, the study said. But more than 90 per cent of firearms used to commit homicide were not registered, their users were not licensed and they had been unaffected by the firearms agreement.

Dr Baker said many more lives would have been saved had the Government spent the $500 million on mental health or other programs rather than on destroying semi-automatic weapons.

She believed semi-automatic rifles should be available to shooters, although with tight restrictions such as those in place in New Zealand.

The director of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics, Dr Don Weatherburn, said he was not surprised by the study. He said it showed "politicians would be well advised to claim success of their policies after they were evaluated, not before".

03-20-2007, 7:45 AM
But..... we know one thing for sure! There is no way in hell the government will EVER give them back their guns! I guess Australia will officially be a colony forever now. I think this was a conspiracy by the British to prevent succession from the Empire. Probably the policy was thought up by the Governor General.

Dont Tread on Me
03-20-2007, 3:00 PM
How many times do the Brady Bunch have to be proved wrong....

03-20-2007, 4:25 PM
How many times do the Brady Bunch have to be proved wrong....

"I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the
greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most
obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of
conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which
they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by
thread, into the fabric of their lives." -Tolstoy

03-20-2007, 5:03 PM
It’s obvious the ban was not comprehensive enough. Total elimination of all firearms is required for success. Followed by knives, scissors, cork screws, jump ropes, broken glass, fountain pens, letter openers… Do it for the children.

Mr. Mildot
03-20-2007, 5:04 PM

03-20-2007, 5:14 PM
This is a beautiful case to look at. Australia is a remote island / continent with a stable government and a population and culture not too different from America's or Britain's. It makes a perfect experiment for such policies.