Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Australia’s Gun Control Law Caused A Drop In Gun-Related Deaths, And An Even Bigger Drop In Suicides


“On April 28, 1996, a gunman shot and killed 35 people in Port Arthur, Tasmania. In response, Australian Prime Minister John Howard — a close alley of President George W. Bush — oversaw the passage of sweeping new gun control legislation. Semiautomatic and automatic rifles and shotguns were banned, and a mandatory government buyback program was enacted to collect those weapons. The results, rounded up by the Washington Post’s Dylan Matthews and Slate’s Will Oremus, were striking:

    [H]omicides by firearm plunged 59 percent between 1995 and 2006, with no corresponding increase in non-firearm-related homicides. The drop in suicides by gun was even steeper: 65 percent. Studies found a close correlation between the sharp declines and the gun buybacks. Robberies involving a firearm also dropped significantly. Meanwhile, home invasions did not increase, contrary to fears that firearm ownership is needed to deter such crimes. But here’s the most stunning statistic. In the decade before the Port Arthur massacre, there had been 11 mass shootings in the country. There hasn’t been a single one in Australia since.”

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