Following the Umpqua Community College shooting, President Obama pointed out that
gun control in Australia has "almost" eliminated mass shootings. Those on the political left have taken the President's cue to push for similar actions in the U.S. Of course, Hillary Clinton has jumped on the bandwagon by saying that Australia's gun control is "worth looking at". Others have dropped Obama's "almost" comment, and now the mantra is that Australia's gun control has "eliminated all" mass shootings.
But, the belief that Australian gun control has greatly changed things in that country is a charade.
In 1996, Australia passed into law, a number of gun control measures that are now considered the "gold standard" by the political left. Besides mandating that gun owners be registered, semi-automatic weapons were outlawed threatening prison sentences for their possession. Because the Australian constitution mandates that private property can't be seized without compensation, a buyback program was initiated to confiscate approximate 650,000 of those weapons. In a country that had 3.2 million at the time, that was approximately 20%; leaving, theoretically, 2.6 million weapons legally owned in the country.
That sweeping gun control action in 1996 was prompted by a mass shooting referred to as the Port Arthur Massacre, when a man armed with two semi-automatic rifles killed 35 people and injured 21. But, understand, this was a one time event. Australia was never a place known for mass killings. In the 20 years prior to Port Arthur, there were only 5 mass killings; all with guns, with the primary weapon being a shotgun. In the nearly 20 years following Arthur, there have been 8 mass killings; 3 with guns. Of the other 5, one was a stabbing rampage; another a family killed by a father wielding a hammer; and the final 3 were by arson. Therefore, mass killings didn't stop. In fact, they increased, and the methods actually became more brutal; proving that without guns, people will find other means.
Also, understand that research has shown that the number of gun related homicides began dropping since 1968; and the rate of decline didn't change one iota since those 1996 gun controls were initiated. Instead, murders actually increased after 1996, from 300 per year, peaking at 350 in 2002.
In addition, with a conservative estimate of 260,000 weapons. Some were never surrendered in 1996; some were stolen from registered owners; others were illegally imported; and, some were actually backyard manufactured (homemade). The number of illegal weapons is equal to nearly 10% of the 2.75 million that are legally held by just 750,000 people in a country of 23 million.
The bottom line is that the belief that Australia curbed homicides and mass murders is simply not true. In 2008, the non NRA-loving, right-wing publication, Time magazine, made that clear with its article titled: Australia's Gun Laws: Little Effect. Also, to replicate what was done in Australia in th U.S. would be an insurmountable task. Even if we could confiscate 20% of the 300 million guns in this country, that would still leave 240 million in the hands of Americans. Also, even if it were possible to keep the number of illegal guns to just 10% of the number of legal guns, it would still mean that 24 million would be out there. Today, gun trafficking at the border is primarily one-sided, with guns flowing into Mexico from the U.S. But ban semi-automatics, and that situation is sure to be reversed with the percentage of illegal guns going well beyond that of Australia. We can't keep drugs and illegal immigrants from crossing the border. What makes anyone think we could stop illegal guns?
Of course, Hillary, Obama, and the Democrats think they have a winner by trying to make us think Australia has the answer to gun violence, and the uninformed will believe them. So, from now until the election, I'm certain we will hear nothing but false praise for what Australia has supposedly achieved through their strict gun control laws.
Watch President Obama's Statement on the Shooting in Oregon: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/10/01/watch-president-obamas-statement-shooting-oregon
Hillary: Australia-style gun control 'worth looking at' | TheHill: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/dem-primaries/257172-hillary-australia-style-gun-control-worth-looking-at
Australian Mass Murders: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_mass_murders
Australian Institute of Criminology: Homicide Statistics: http://www.aic.gov.au/statistics/homicide.html
Fact check: Where do Australians get illegal guns?: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-26/source-of-illicit-guns-in-australia/6483762
Time: Australia's Gun Laws: Little Effect: http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1736501,00.html