Soon after the completely senseless murder of an Australian athlete in Oklahoma, former Australian Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer pleaded with Australian tourists to boycott the United States due to our supposed proliferation of guns which, as Mr. Fischer evidently believes, leads to an increase in violence and crime.
“I am deeply angry about this because of the callous attitude of the three teenagers [but] it’s a sign of the proliferation of guns on the ground in the USA,” he said. The problem with Mr. Fischer’s statement? The data simply does not support his accusation, and even statistics from Mr. Fischer’s own country reinforces how little of an effect gun control truly has.
In 1996, Australia enacted strict new controls on guns after a massacre in Tasmania that left 35 people dead and another 23 wounded. Then Prime Minister John Howard forced Australia’s states to implement a ban on ALL semi-automatic rifles and pump-action shotguns and tightened licensing requirements for his nation’s people. He also organized a massive FORCED year-long gun buy-back program in an attempt to remove guns from circulation. Residents were required to sell back their now-banned guns to the state.
Between October 1996 and September 1997, the government bought more than 631,000 guns from its residents – mostly 22-caliber semi-automatics and shotguns. The government spent $360m in Australian dollars. Only an estimated 60% of Australian residents obeyed the law.
But crime statistics in Australia reveal that increased gun control made no impact on violent crime and homicides in the country since 1996, nor did the gun buy-back program show any positive effect on Australia’s crime rate. Australia’s crime rate has always been lower than that of the United States, but no observable statistic links Australia’s crime rate, relative to the United States’, to gun control. Their own data fails to provide that connection.