Photo credit: Lachlan Fearnley (CC-By-SA 3.0)

Photo credit: Lachlan Fearnley (CC-By-SA 3.0)
Photo credit: Lachlan Fearnley (CC-By-SA 3.0)

Many people are pushing for the United States to model it’s gun policy after Australia with extremely strict gun control as well as gun confiscation. They point to Australia having “no mass shootings” since 1996 when these laws were enacted.

I would like to tell you how the media, gun control advocates and liberals are again wrong with this agenda, as well as explain to you a bit more about the Australia phenomenon. First, regardless of what the media and liberals tell you, mass shootings have occurred in Australia. Let’s look at just the last 3 years.

In 2011, there was a mass shooting in Hectorville. In 2014, one in Hunt, and again in 2014 one in Wedderburn (which was a 4 hour siege of a neighborhood).

“But wait, that’s only 3 since 2011! We’ve had 29 in America alone in that same time period!”

This is also a bit of trickery with numbers and comparing statistics. Yes, there have been 29 in America since 2011, and I do not dispute that. But let’s dig deep into numbers- Australia only has 23 million people living in it (with a large amount of those very spread out). But let’s just stick to quantity and not density. The United States has nearly 14 times as many people, at nearly 320 million. So if you compare apples to apples, if Australia had as many people as the United States and the ratio of mass killings to total populace remained the same, Australia would have 42 mass killings compared to 29 in the United States. That is 13 more!

Finally, if someone really wants to kill someone, they will find a way. Let’s look at the recent Cairns child killings in Australia where someone killed 8 children with a knife. Or the Quaker Hill Nursing home arson in Australia that killed 11 by fire. Or the Lin killings, also in Australia, that killed 5 with a hammer.

The facts are this: gun control doesn’t work, and pointing towards programs on other countries that are statistically manipulative does not solve the problem. Bad people will still find a way to get guns or kill by other methods. I would much rather people have the right to own a gun and give them the capacity to defend themselves than take away that right and leave them defenseless from those that will kill or harm regardless.

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  1. Respectfully, Shaun, there haven’t been enough mass shootings in Australia for your per-capita calculations to have any sort of statistical power: a small change in the number of Australian events (one more or one less, say) would have a very big impact on the calculated rate. You might want to reconsider your argument that other people are being “statistically manipulative.”

  2. It is worth noting that of the 3 shooting incidents that you used as examples, only one actually meets the Congressional Research Office’s definition of a “public mass shooting”, which extends the FBI definition of “mass Murder”. In order for them to be considered a mass shooting 4 or more people have to actually be killed. This means that your three examples is really only one, using the same definition between America and Australia. Using your rate calculations, which as pointed out are not statistically valid, you get a rate of 14 for the same period, which is 15 less than in the United States. Also, the time period from 2011 through 2014 is actually 4 years and not 3 which would only increase the number of mass shootings in the United States.

    While your stats are off/invalid, it is also worth noting that I am currently unaware of any study that directly links the gun restrictions in Australia with the corresponding decline in mass shootings. I would imagine that one has been conducted but I have not read it yet and until I do, I operate under the assumption that while they are loosely correlated, that could be a coincidence since other, outside factors could be playing a role.

    Much more thought and study, all around the world, needs to be conducted for us to more fully understand what is truly happening and why it is happening with the mass shootings and for us to be able to competently come up with a plan of action to address them.

  3. Completely agree with scottumlib@ below. You are touting that people are manipulating statistics where you are doing exactly the same thing.

    You picked the most number of shootings in the shortest period of time to prove your point but failed to mention that after the ban in 1996 until 2011, there was ONE mass shooting. ONE! That’s 1 in 15 years man. Now compare that to 32 for USA.

    Or let’s not be manipulative. Just compare 1996 till now: 4 in Australia, 59 in USA. Fair enough! Take the per capita into consideration and that will seem to support you. Except that’s not the point. Not at all. The point is the improvement to the period that preceded 1996.

    Between 1982 until 1996: 21 in USA vs 13 in Australia.

    Do you see the point now? With the same population differential, Australia was 8 times WORSE than USA before the gun control laws. Now they are either on par or slightly better at the metric of your choosing (shootings per capita).

    Nobody is claiming that tighter laws solve the problem **completely**. Just like seatbelts do not solve the problem of deaths on highways. BUT it makes it better!

    The argument that “as long as there’s crime, I will need a weapon to protect myself” is the most selfish argument there is. What YOU are doing to protect YOURSELF is making EVERYONE ELSE’s life more dangerous. YOUR desire to keep lax weapon laws is making ME (and YOU) more likely to die as a result of gun related violence. It is as selfish as you driving on the highway at 100mph because YOU want to get there faster.

    To emphasize, I am not saying nobody should own a gun but it must be much much harder to obtain one. Strict background checks, regular and required psych and skill evaluation etc. Don’t take my word; just model it after other countries which have tried and learned from it.

  4. “But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword”
    Matthew 26:52

    “Ideology always paves the way toward atrocity.”
    Terence McKenna

    “As soon as you look at the world through an ideology you are finished. No reality fits an ideology. Life is beyond that”
    Anthony de Mello

    “To err is human, to persist in error is diabolical.”
    Georges Canguilhem,

  5. I love how your critics apply academic rigor to opposing views but not their own. 🙂 (there is one exception in there)

    Banning firearms (or any weapon) leaves them in the hands of three select classes of people:
    1. “The Government” (this means any government entity – in the USA it includes the IRS (tax collectors), who have the single largest standing arsenal outside of the military)
    2. Law Enforcement (who tend to use military grade weapons: MP-5s, M16/M4s, armored vehicles, suppressors). Since the military do not use civilian-grade, “sporting” weapons like the AR-15 they don’t belong in this list, because their weapons are already highly restricted by the NFA.
    3. The law-less.

    Does that make you safer?

    There are in excess of 10,000 gun laws ( in the United States. The laws ARE NOT ENFORCED UNIFORMLY, and THAT is a big part of the access problem that people talk about. I fully support an exhaustive analysis of the existing laws, and exercising of those laws.

    However – here’s the dirty little secret that those advocating for MORE laws and MORE banning, neglect to admit: laws are there to aid in the dispensing of justice AFTER a crime, and a distant second purpose is to act as a deterrent. (How has that worked for The War on Drugs!?) The laws MUST be enforced, maximum penalties are worthless if they’re never used, and uniformity is key:

    IF the framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, intended for civilians to have free access to, and the un-infringed liberty to own the same weapons that could be used against them (look at the INTENT), is a gun ban in support or in contradiction to the wording, “the right of THE PEOPLE to own and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED?”

    What is it about mass murder/massacres by civilians that makes people willingly thrust their liberty into the toilet?

    But back to the OP – People tend to treat “studies” as the crucible of truth, when they are also just as easily manipulatable through selectivity. Like a giant agro company paying for studies that “prove” their chemicals don’t harm people.

    Regardless : Please include your sources! It would be very helpful in support of fact finding.

    1. I have to laugh at the big gun owners who quote the second amendment. Why would they only quote part of it? Why leave out the part of being in a well regulated militia? Are they stupid? The second amendment was never meant to allow you to carry a gun into a Walmart or other public place. When the second amendment was written there was no such thing as 30 or 100 round magazines. In the early days of our country most people did not have guns in their home but were locked up in a central public place. I find it hard to listen to the gun advocates that do not have a clue. I own many guns since I grew up on the a farm and yes one is a military style weapon from world war 2 but in no way compares with modern rapid fire weapons. I own an M1 Grand that I have never fired. To fire 100 rounds from it would take a long time. When the second amendment was written it might take a couple of hours to shoot 100 rounds. With the facts given why do stupid people always refer to the second amendment when they want everyone to have high powered rapid fire guns?

      1. Johhny says, you seem to be unaware of the reason for the 2nd amendment in the first place. It was primarily designed to protect local citizens from government, not for hunting or for protection from common criminals. It was government that was seen as the greatest threat. Those days the guns owned by ordinary citizens matched the firepower of what the government had. Please consider the 2nd amendment issue in the proper context. Is government today more or less a threat to individual freedom than it was then?

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