Better limber up those brain muscles, folks. Because we’re about to do some logic gymnastics.
America’s exceedingly powerful gun lobby group – the National Rifle Association – has taken direct aim at Australia‘s strong gun laws, following President Barack Obama‘s appearance on comedian Marc Maron‘s podcast WTF with Marc Maron.
During the podcast, President Obama again praised the stringent gun laws implemented by the then Howard Government in the wake of the 1996 massacre at Port Arthur in Tasmania.
“It was just so shocking—the entire country said, ‘Well, we’re going to completely change our gun laws,’ and they did. And it hasn’t happened since.“
‘Course in America you can’t make even the tiniest peep about the sacrosanct second amendment without wild, shouty rebuttal.
And lo, like clockwork, comes a delightfully batshit insane NRA-penned article – posted on their super patriotic news website “America’s First Freedom” – entitled “Australia: There Will Be Blood.”
The gist of the article suggests that not only has gun control failed miserably in Australia, but there is also a “growing consensus” among “impartial researchers” that suggests gun control has not made anyone safer.
Now, let’s point out for a second here that this growing consensus is cited in the article via two sources, one of which is a Sydney Morning Herald article published in 2005 bemoaning the level of handgun violence amongst organised crime, which the NRA fails to mention was followed in 2006 by a significant drop off in recorded instances of handgun crime.
The NRA article labels the Howard Government’s “buyback” scheme as “mass gun confiscation,” which they suggest leaves “law-abiding citizens… helpless against the attentions of armed criminals.“
“The comprehensive law that initiated the confiscation bore the Orwellian name of the 1996 National Firearms Agreement. Of course, Australians were encouraged not to acknowledge those who disagreed.”
“An NRA News investigative report by Ginny Simone captured the raw feelings of many gun owners at the time. Two thousand Australians gathered outside Parliament, chanting ‘We want justice!'”
TWO THOUSAND, you guys!
The article also cites its own investigating into Australian crime, self-reporting a 69 percent increase in armed robberies following the implementation of the laws – although this point straight-up fails to cite any source other than themselves. They also quote an unnamed “retired police chief” who states that the expenditure of half a billion dollars had done nothing to reduce crime. Again, following the reductive pro-gun line of thought that suggests if we can’t erase crime altogether then it’s pointless to legislate against firearms.
“The Australian people paid a massive price in liberty. Their reward? At best, an unexamined resolution that things were somehow better now. It robbed Australians of their right to self-defense and empowered criminals, all without delivering the promised reduction in violent crime.”
Alrighty. Let’s look at the scoreboard.
In terms of mass murders involving guns and shootings – which, for the purposes of this experiment we’re referring to as any incident in which 2 or more people were killed by a single rampage shooter – since the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996 there have been only two such occurrences in Australia; one in 2002 at Monash University, and one in 2011 during the Hectorville Siege.
By contrast, during the same time period, there have been FIFTY incidents of mass murder by shooting in the United States. 38 of these were perpetrated with weapons obtained through legal means (like the goddamned hunting counter at a Wal Mart, which is some truly confronting shit if you’ve ever seen one), and eight resulted in ten or more deaths.
Not enough? Let’s keep going.
The United States has a population around 14 times that of Australia‘s. But in 2013, the US experienced 11,208 (reported) gun related homicides, compared to Australia’s 40.
In the same year, the amount of justifiable gun homicides in America came in at 681. In Australia? FOUR.
Gun suicides for that year in the US totalled 21,175. In Australia, it was just 173.
In fact, the number of firearms in total in the United States rates at somewhere around 310,000,000, compared to Australia’s 3,050,000. Which means that for every 100 people in the United States, there are around 101.05 guns, whereas in Australia that stat is around 14 per 100 people.
There are way more impartially researched, verified, and quite damning statistics over here if you feel like getting deeper down this particular rabbit hole.
But nah. Keep on telling us about how the average Australian citizen isn’t safe from gun violence anymore America, ya bloody gronks.