Australia Hasn’t Had A Mass Shooting Since 1996

The recent Charleston murders have renewed the sporadic debates over whether gun control might have prevented this latest of tragedies.

This article was originally published on The Conversation as "How US Gun Control Compares To The Rest Of The World". Read the original article.

Australia Hasn’t Had A Mass Shooting Since 1996

The story of Australia, which had 13 mass shootings in the 18-year period from 1979 to 1996 but none in the succeeding 19 years, is worth examining.

The turning point was the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania, in which a gunman killed 35 individuals using semiautomatic weapons.

In the wake of the massacre, the conservative federal government succeeded in implementing tough new gun control laws throughout the country. A large array of weapons were banned – including the Glock semiautomatic handgun used in the Charleston shootings. The government also imposed a mandatory gun buy back that substantially reduced gun possession in Australia.

Mick Roelandts, firearms reform project manager for the New South Wales Police, looks at a pile of about 4,500 prohibited firearms in Sydney that have been handed in under the Australian government’s buy-back scheme July 28 1997. David Gray/Reuters

The effect was that both gun suicides and homicides (as well as total suicides and homicides) fell. In addition, the 1996 legislation made it a crime to use firearms in self-defense.

When I mention this to disbelieving NRA supporters they insist that crime must now be rampant in Australia. In fact, the Australian murder rate has fallen to close one per 100,000 while the US rate, thankfully lower than in the early 1990s, is still roughly at 4.5 per 100,000 – over four times as high. Moreover, robberies in Australia occur at only about half the rate of the US (58 in Australia versus 113.1 per 100,000 in the US in 2012).

How did Australia do it? Politically, it took a brave prime minister to face the rage of Australian gun interests.

John Howard wore a bullet-proof vest when he announced the proposed gun restrictions in June 1996. The deputy prime minister was hung in effigy. But Australia did not have a domestic gun industry to oppose the new measures so the will of the people was allowed to emerge. And today, support for the safer, gun-restricted Australia is so strong that going back would not be tolerated by the public.

That Australia hasn’t had a mass shooting since 1996 is likely more than merely the result of the considerable reduction in guns – it’s certainly not the case that guns have disappeared altogether.

I suspect that the country has also experienced a cultural shift between the shock of the Port Arthur massacre and the removal of guns from every day life as they are no longer available for self-defense and they are simply less present throughout the country. Troubled individuals, in other words, are not constantly being reminded that guns are a means to address their alleged grievances to the extent that they were in the past, or continue to be in the US.

People chat in a pub as a television shows Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik sitting in court as a judge reads his verdict in Oslo August 24 2012. Stoyan Nenov

How US Gun Control Compares To The Rest Of The World

To quote President Obama the day after the shooting in the AME Church,

“At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this kind of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. It is in our power to do something about it.”

So far, however, the US has not done “something about it.”
The National Rifle Association (NRA), it seems, has so much power over politicians that even when 90% of Americans (including a majority of NRA members) wanted universal background checks to be adopted following the Newtown killings of 2012, no federal action ensued. Certainly, it’s unlikely that any useful legislation will emerge in South Carolina.

The NRA stranglehold on appropriate anti-crime measures is only part of the problem, though.

The gun culture’s worship of the magical protective capacities of guns and their power to be wielded against perceived enemies – including the federal government – is a message that resonates with troubled individuals from the Santa Barbara killer, who was seeking vengeance on women who had failed to perceive his greatness, to the Charleston killer who echoed the Tea Party mantra of taking back our country.

I’ve been researching gun violence – and what can be done to prevent it – in the US for 25 years. The fact is that if NRA claims about the efficacy of guns in reducing crime were true, the US would have the lowest homicide rate among industrialized nations instead of the highest homicide rate (by a wide margin).

The US is by far the world leader in the number of guns in civilian hands. The stricter gun laws of other “advanced countries” have restrained homicidal violence, suicides and gun accidents – even when, in some cases, laws were introduced over massive protests from their armed citizens.

The State Of Gun Control In The US

Eighteen states in the US and a number of cities including Chicago, New York and San Francisco have tried to reduce the unlawful use of guns as well as gun accidents by adopting laws to keep guns safely stored when they are not in use. Safe storage is a common form of gun regulation in nations with stricter gun regulations.

The NRA has been battling such laws for years. But that effort was dealt a blow earlier this month when the US Supreme Court – over a strident dissent by Justices Thomas and Scalia – refused to consider the San Francisco law that required guns not in use be stored safely. This was undoubtedly a positive step because hundreds of thousands of guns are stolen every year, and good public policy must try to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and children.

The dissenters, however, were alarmed by the thought that a gun stored in a safe would not be immediately available for use, but they seemed unaware of how unusual it is that a gun is helpful when someone is under attack.

For starters, only the tiniest fraction of victims of violent crime are able to use a gun in their defense. Over the period from 2007-2011, when roughly six million nonfatal violent crimes occurred each year, data from the National Crime Victimization Survey show that the victim did not defend with a gun in 99.2% of these incidents – this in a country with 300 million guns in civilian hands.

Activists hold placards outside the George R Brown Convention Center, the site for the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Houston, Texas on May 4 2013. Adrees Latif/Reuters

In fact, a study of 198 cases of unwanted entry into occupied single-family dwellings in Atlanta (not limited to night when the residents were sleeping) found that the invader was twice as likely to obtain the victim’s gun than to have the victim use a firearm in self-defense.

The author of the study, Arthur Kellerman, concluded in words that Justice Thomas and Scalia might well heed:

On average, the gun that represents the greatest threat is the one that is kept loaded and readily available in a bedside drawer.

A loaded, unsecured gun in the home is like an insurance policy that fails to deliver at least 95% of the time you need it, but has the constant potential – particularly in the case of handguns that are more easily manipulated by children and more attractive for use in crime – to harm someone in the home or (via theft) the public at large.

More Guns Won’t Stop Gun Violence

For years, the NRA mantra has been that allowing citizens to carry concealed handguns would reduce crime as they fought off or scared off the criminals.

Some early studies even purported to show that so-called right to carry laws (RTC) did just that, but a 2004 report from the National Research Council refuted that claim (saying it was not supported by “the scientific evidence”), while remaining uncertain about what the true impact of RTC laws was.

Ten years of additional data have allowed new research to get a better fix on this question, which is important since the NRA is pushing for a Supreme Court decision that would allow RTC as a matter of constitutional law.

The new research on this issue from my research team at Stanford University has given the most compelling evidence to date that RTC laws are associated with significant increases in violent crime – particularly for aggravated assault. Looking at Uniform Crime Reports data from 1979-2012, we find that, on average, the 33 states that adopted RTC laws over this period experienced violent crime rates that are 4%-19% higher after 10 years than if they had not adopted these laws.

This hardly makes a strong case for RTC as a constitutional right. At the very least more research is needed to estimate more precisely exactly how much violent crime such a decision would unleash in the states that have so far resisted the NRA-backed RTC laws.

In the meantime, can anything make American politicians listen to the preferences of the 90% on the wisdom of adopting universal background checks for gun purchases?

Gun Control Around The World

As an academic exercise, one might speculate whether law could play a constructive role in reducing the number or deadliness of mass shootings.

Most other advanced nations apparently think so, since they make it far harder for someone like the Charleston killer to get his hands on a Glock semiautomatic handgun or any other kind of firearm (universal background checks are common features of gun regulation in other developed countries).

  • Germany: To buy a gun, anyone under the age of 25 has to pass a psychiatric evaluation (presumably 21-year-old Dylann Roof would have failed).
  • Finland: Handgun license applicants are only allowed to purchase firearms if they can prove they are active members of regulated shooting clubs. Before they can get a gun, applicants must pass an aptitude test, submit to a police interview, and show they have a proper gun storage unit.
  • Italy: To secure a gun permit, one must establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm and pass a background check considering both criminal and mental health records (again, presumably Dylann Roof would have failed).
  • France: Firearms applicants must have no criminal record and pass a background check that considers the reason for the gun purchase and evaluates the criminal, mental, and health records of the applicant. (Dylann Roof would presumably have failed in this process).
  • United Kingdom and Japan: Handguns are illegal for private citizens.

While mass shootings as well as gun homicides and suicides are not unknown in these countries, the overall rates are substantially higher in the United States than in these competitor nations.

While NRA supporters frequently challenge me on these statistics saying that this is only because “American blacks are so violent,” it is important to note that white murder rates in the US are well over twice as high as the murder rates in any of these other countries.

Lax Gun Control In One Nation Can Create Problems In Another

Of course, strict gun regulations cannot ensure that the danger of mass shootings or killings has been eliminated.

Norway has strong gun control and committed humane values. But they didn’t prevent Anders Breivik from opening fire on a youth camp on the island of Utoya in 2011? His clean criminal record and hunting license had allowed him to secure semiautomatic rifles, but Norway restricted his ability to get high-capacity clips for them. In his manifesto, Breivik wrote about his attempts to legally buy weapons, stating, “I envy our European American brothers as the gun laws in Europe sucks ass in comparison.”

In fact, in the same manifesto (“December and January – Rifle/gun accessories purchased”, Breivik wrote that it was from a US supplier that he purchased – and had mailed – ten 30-round ammunition magazines for the rifle he used in his attack.

In other words, even if a particular state chooses to make it harder for some would-be killers to get their weapons, these efforts can be undercut by the jurisdictions that hold out from these efforts. In the US, of course, gun control measures at the state and local level are often thwarted by the lax attitude to gun acquisition in other states.The Conversation

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    I think Jim Jefferies did a pretty good job of hitting the nail on the head when it comes to gun control. All the reasons put forward by the NRA, etc fall apart rather quickly.

      How one sided

      lol, video has been removed due to spam, scams, and commercially deceptive content.

      To expose one lie in the statement: United Kingdom ............. Handguns are illegal for private citizens.
      There are around 2 million legal guns in the UK [1] and about 1.2 million people regularly shoot [2] You cannot own fully automatic firearms, semi-automatic firearms of calibre greater than .22, or handguns. BUT, technically speaking, pistols are apparently legal in the UK as long as they have a barrel longer than 12″ and a total length longer than 24″. Semi-autos are banned unless they are chambered .22 LR. UK target shooters have cooked up some interesting modifications to make their pistols legal.

      According to the Finnish government, the country has 1.6 million registered weapons and 650,000 people with firearm permits. That means about 12 percent of the population owns a weapon of some kind. More than half the permits are for hunting, which is usually done with rifles and shotguns.

      These are only 2 lies from the above statement, I am sure their are others. Please don't just take everything you read for granted. investigate .......

    This is a very well reasoned and sensible article on the subject.

      Exactly what I thought. I know Gizmodo is first and foremost a technology site, but I thought this was worth sharing to (hopefully) kick-start some sensible discussion on the topic.

    America cannot change. It is their culture. It is their constitution. Guns are held as almost sacred there. Every time this happens, articles like this pop up and then are forgotten again and nothing ever changes.

      Which is exactly why we will continue to hear about kids massacred at school and multiple victims in shootings in the USA.

      Nations can and do change all the time, there is no reason to think that this kind of gun culture is intrinsic to the American way of life, and to do away with one will do away with the other. Change wont be easy, but it will definitely happen.

        America have so many guns in circulation, more than people I think. There is no real way that they can reduce that. No government would ever try to make a compulsory buy back or any other measure, it would be political suicide. If it somehow did make it through, I suspect a lot of people would not comply. And all of those people would have guns.

          Which happened in Australia too, as firearms (licensed and unlicensed) are still handed in to police without penalty. Even getting rid of half their guns would be a step forward.

          (I'm not some anti-gun lefty either, I was learning to shoot a rifle at 13 and handgun/shotgun by 14 and still shoot sometimes. American gun culture is ridiculous though.)

          Last edited 26/06/15 5:17 pm

            I grew up spending a lot of time on farms and in other rural settings. My father was a professional hunter working on annual roo culls for many years before I was born. growing up, there was always a shotgun and a small bore rifle in my house.

            I'm by no means an anti-gun lefty either, but I agree that the level of control in Australia has helped keep violent crime low. The fact that many places in the US don't even have a fraction of that control is frankly a dereliction of duty on the part of those state governments. Part of their job as a government agency is to take reasonable steps to keep their people safe.

    Some good points however Americans who read it would probably be left with the impression that gun ownership is illegal in Australia, which is not correct. You can legally own a handgun (not all types, but many) if you are a member of a shooting club, have a license and approved storage.

    It is also not a crime to use a firearm in self defence depending on the circumstances, so that is incorrect as well.

      I thought Australia was a 'run away and hide', not a 'you can defend yourself including death' country.

        Not quite.

        The law does ask in any incident of 'self-defence' whether you had the option to run away, to extract yourself from the situation. The law doesn't tolerate killing 'because he started it, but I'll finish it' if you have the option to defuse the situation by removing yourself from it. Hurt pride is not considered a valid legal excuse for doing harm to someone.

        However, it's also perfectly acceptable to reply that you feared for your life and felt you were unable to extract yourself, or felt that you needed to stay to prevent harm to another person. Your only excuse to kill in Australia is reasonable fear for your life (Reasonable fear. ie: a 120kg black-belt bouncer with security training cannot claim to be afraid for their life when threatened by an unarmed drunk 20yr old who weighs maybe 70kg wet), or for the life of someone else.

      Australia's self defence laws allow you to only use equal force, so shooting someone in self defence who has a knife is illegal. Plus having our storage laws if you shoot someone it gives reason to believe shooting them is premeditated.

        That's bloody ridiculous
        And the cops should know better than anyone that knives are more dangerous in close quarters

        A knife is also a deadly weapon. If you can show you reasonably felt in danger of death or GBH when being attacked by a person armed with a knife you will not be charged with murder if you shoot them. I have been involved in a few investigations like this. The same laws that prevent Police from being charged after reasonably shooting someone who comes at them with a knife are available to citizens as well. It all depends on the circumstances.

        See, it's been a while and we didn't get heavily into it, but I thought from my security training the law allowed for 'equal+1 level' as required to subdue/remove the threat, with various factors increasing or decreasing the level of threat.

        Eg: Add a point of threat for being outnumbered, subtract a point for having combat experience and training, add a point for the lethality of the weapon, subtract a point for the opponent being inebriated and thus uncoordinated, add a point for them having 20kg of weight on you... etc, etc.

    You might want to check your facts - "A large array of weapons were banned – including the Glock semiautomatic handgun used in the Charleston shootings." Not true for law abiding sporting shooters with the correct licence

      There are an unfortunate number of errors in this articles. I'm not saying his ultimate conclusions are wrong, but the particular argument he presents is full of errors.

      including the Glock semiautomatic handgun used in the Charleston shootings
      It was a .45 - which is banned.
      Also - some Glocks dont meet the minimum barrel length.

    The problem with such a knee jerk reaction to port Arthur and a media fueled cultural backlash to guns is that not all of the controls were sensible; heck now the genius pollies are trying to move lever action shotguns into category C, aka semi auto territory..... a 120 year old design sigh.

      Ahh so what?!? How does this change the fact that we're better off with the changed laws? Move it into a Cat C, big deal. For 99.9% of Australians it won't mean diddly and for the .1 that care, they should have the adequate need for the gun to have access to it.

        The M1919 is about to hit it's 100th birthday, doesn't mean that anyone outside of the military should have one!

      It's because of a new level action shotgun that with modern design and materials can fire substantially faster than older lever action weapons. But how does this worry you?

      I have a C category, It's just centrefires, I can't have a semi. I have a 5 shot bolt action.

    Probably a silly idea commenting on this, but I think I have to. *flame shield engaged*

    Punishing law abiding, sensible gun owners is not the answer, however. Gun laws that restrict people doing the right thing won't have any effect on the people doing the wrong thing. A bad man is going to get his gun and do bad things with it regardless of what the law says.

    99.9% of gun owners are just normal people enjoying their hobby and their sport. Hunting, target shooting, pest control - these are all legitimate and fair endeavours. I get a little tired of firearms and gun owners being demonised by the media. (Not saying this article is doing that by the way, just further to my point)

    I'm a licensed gun owner, and have to be really careful most times how and who I mention this to. The amount of people that instantly go on the defensive and assume I'm some sort of gung ho idiot with a testosterone problem is mind boggling. I'm just a regular thirty-something year old dude with a full time office job who just happens to like going shooting on occasion. I'm no different to anyone else.

      I agree with this. Just look at the recent Lindt Cafe shootings. That *would* have been a mass shooting if the police hadn't killed him first. It's not the guns, it's the nutjob who gets hold of them. That said, it *is* harder for a nutjob to get hold of them in the first place which has got to help, at least a little.

      On a side note, it's weird talking about handguns in the same breath as the gun reform laws. They have been very tightly controlled for much longer than longarms.

        I think restricting guns has some effect on the black market/illegal firearms, but not very much. I'd need to find a source, but I read a while back there's an estimated 250,000 odd black market guns in Australia. Theft from licensed gun owners in Australia is less than 0.1% of all registered firearms. The biggest source of illegal arms is smuggling/importation.

        Every gun owner I know is religious about storing their guns and ammo correctly - not just for their safety, but for everyone's. Also to preserve their sport and and negative effects to it. Most gun owners are pretty mindful about the public perception and do all they can to minimise any bad publicity.

        Not sure about other states, but Victoria Police are dynamite on this stuff. Gun owners are subject to regular inspections, and all firearms/ammo storage has to adhere to very strict regulations. Doesn't mean something can't be stolen, of course - just that it's not going to be very easy.

          Ironically there was a piece on TV a day or two about a police handgun used in a robbery. A police officer lost during a foot chase. Some nice person picked it up, passed it friend to friend until someone used it in a robbery. *facepalm*

      Punishing law abiding, sensible gun owners is not the answer

      I don't see how laws that restrict the access to military grade weapons is punishing people, nor do I see how things like mandatory waiting periods and background checks are punishing people.

      I think having a strong framework that makes it harder for certain people to get guns is a good middle ground.

        I agree with mandatory waiting periods and background checks wholeheartedly - I think it could actually be used as a starting block to address some of America's woes. They're a part of current Australian law and I'm more than cool with it. Even mandatory safety courses, no matter how token or brief are a top idea.

        My only issue is with further restricting gun owners, and the 96 banning of semi auto rifles and pump action shotguns, etc.

        Last edited 26/06/15 3:29 pm

          Definitely, and even though it's somewhat intrusive there could be a link between psychiatric care and the firearms register. When someone gets treatment for depression (or other at-risk mental problems) they become ineligible to hold their firearm license. Not completely banned, but put on probation and the firearms removed and stored until such time as their doctor considers them ok.

        Define 'military' grade
        The charleston nut had a handgun
        An AR-15 is the civilian semi-automatic (one pull = one shot) version of the M16 (has full auto)

        As far as I know, you can't buy an MG42, a pack of grenades and a bazooka at walmart, but maybe I'm wrong :P

      An important thing though to consider with your argument, is the relative ease of access to illegal firearms in the US vs Aus. Because firearms are not legally available to vast majority of australians, the total number of firearms is far lower, which means that illegal firearms will also be far lower in number. smaller quantities available mean that the relative cost to a criminal for an illegal firearm in Aus vs the US is HUGE, in the order of 10's of thousands of dollars

        Indeed. Have you seen the Jim Jeffries clip doing the rounds? He makes some great points about the reduced availability and the black market. Like the price of an assault rifle in Walmart vs the Australian black market being something like $1000 vs $30,000 - which is obviously a lot harder to obtain.

        And the very important fact that Walmart will sell to pretty much anyone without even a background check, but the black market tends to be a bit more careful about who they sell to, that it'd be pretty difficult for some socially maladjusted individual with mental illness to even get access to it.

        Last edited 30/06/15 9:52 am

        Yes, and moreover, when a gun is illegal to own, it becomes a liability for the owner. If you're a criminal here and you get yourself a firearm, it's presents the police with a very simple and straightforward reason to arrest you. As terrifying as it is that outlaw motorcycle gangs have arsenals of firearms, it's also provided the pretext for raids and arrests and confiscations which have imposed a cost on the criminals above and beyond the black market cost of the weapons themselves.

      "99.9% of gun owners are just normal people....."
      Really? Are you quoting a study, just making s--t up, or do you actually know 1000 gun owners, ONE of whom is abnormal?

      What's your strategy with one abnormal one? Just try not to be in contact with him? (It's always a him)

      I know three gun owners.
      One has a high IQ, but is emotionally unstable, and will probably shoot himself at some point. Sad, but predictable.
      One has middling IQ, is emotionally unstable, but won't shoot anyone.
      One has a very low IQ, is emotionally unstable, very angry with the world and has a high chance of being the next Martin Bryant.

      I also had a family member suicide with a gun many years ago.
      I also have a family member who was shot in the head a decade ago, but survived.

      On this basis, I don't like guns very much.
      MY strategy is not to have contact with them, or people who own them.

      I figure if you NEED a gun, you're a farmer or a cop.
      Otherwise you're a crim or unstable.

      If you look at the flip side of coin, the laws also protect genuine gun owners.
      If the laws were more lax, it wouldn't take long for someone with a big mouth and a large audience to start blaming any crimes committed using guns on the shooting community for being lackadaisical on securing their weapons.
      As it stands now, no-one with even a passing knowledge of the ownership laws could lay that accusation and have it stick, so as onerous as the laws are, they provide some form of defence for both sides.

      "99.9% of gun owners are just normal people enjoying their hobby and their sport. "

      All well and good to say that but the 0.1% who do go off the rails are able to do a devastating amount of damage with a device that has limited legitimate uses. Using a gun because it's part of a "hobby" or "sport" isn't good enough.

      Actually restricting guns to even "law abiding gun owners" DOES make a difference. Why? Not only are they harder to get for that angsty teen that's decided to walk into a wall mart and buy a gun to shoot the kids at school with but for the "bad guys" it makes them EXPENSIVE. Guns that are easily accessible in america for $1-200 cost thousands in Aus and are only available on the black market. There is no reason why an average citizen needs a high powered automatic rifle to "defend" themselves. It's a stupid argument that will never hold water. You actually can get a gun in Australia (not all guns but you can access them if you despirately want one) but unless you want to go black market you have to go through the process of getting a licence and having the gun registered to you, again something that will help deter impulse buy and shoots. As for guns making the world "safer" I think the violent crime stats in Australia cf America speak for themselves without me having to elaborate. If you need a close quarter weapon, a knife will do you just as well as a gun if you're worried about someone coming up behind you to mug you. If you're talking about a house raid? a) If you're a responsible gun owner it'll probably be in the safe where you can't get it in time. b) If you're not a responsible gun owner you're asking for trouble if there are any kids around and your gun lives in an unlocked draw. c) If you start shooting you could easily escalate a situation to deaths when otherwise there's a good chance they simply wanted your DVD player d) Its a FACT that gun owners are more likely to use their firearm on themselves rather than an attacker.

      Example: There was a pretty horrible incident recently where a crazy person used his car to mow down some pedestrians in the city and yet there were few cries of "this wouldn't have happened if the pedestrians could have started shooting at him!" Why? Because it probably would have made it worse. How many people do you suppose would have started shooting if everyone carried a gun? How many of those would be skilled enough to hit a moving target flying around in a car without hitting people in the surrounding crowds instead? Guns would not have made anyone safer, more likely the death toll would have been higher.

    In the original comments on that article, an Australian academic has something different to say:

    John, I think you provide some very interesting perspectives and comments, but I'm a little concerned that you've oversimplified the Australian experience. As I've noted elsewhere (, the relationship between firearms legislation ('gun control') and firearm related deaths (homicides and suicides) is not as simple as it may appear on the surface.

    Regarding mass shootings for example, it is important to consider that our close neighbour New Zealand has not had a mass shooting in almost 20 years - just like Australia. They were experiencing mass shootings from the mid 1980s to mid 1990s, just like us, and when you take into account the different population sizes, their rate of shootings was in fact a little higher than ours. Just like us, those shootings have mercifully not occurred for many years now. However, in New Zealand, semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, and pump action shotguns (the types of firearms Australia destroyed) are still commonly used for hunting and target shooting. When two countries have taken quite a different approach to gun control, but had the same experiences in relation to firearm homicide events, this begs the question - what else has happened that may have brought an end to mass shooting events? If we are serious about addressing gun violence, we must ask those questions, rather than look for "easy answers".

    Various different research groups have studied the impact of Australia’s 1996 gun laws on firearm-related murders and suicides. None of these studies has found a significant impact of the legislative changes on the pre-existing downward trend in firearm homicide.

    It can get a bit confusing, because some of those studies actually ignore their own statistics, and conclude (contrary to their own findings!) that they found the laws had impacted on murder rates. But when you ignore the hype and look at the statistics, all of the studies are in agreement (even if they’re not reported that way!).

    Whether or not Australia’s gun laws affected suicides is uncertain. Some studies find an impact, others find little or no evidence of an impact and/or substitution to other suicide methods. Other studies again find that there were impacts, but only among certain age groups. There is no real consensus.

    Adding to this complexity, suicides across the board (irrespective of method) declined after 1997. This coincided with national implementation of a wide range of suicide prevention strategies, improvements to psychiatric treatment, etc. There were broader social changes occurring around that time, too, including the start of a long period of economic growth and low unemployment (factors that have been linked with suicide rates).

    Disentangling the effects of legislative changes from the effects of multiple other interventions and social changes that occurred around the same time is extremely difficult. So the best we can say about firearm suicides in Australia is that the laws might have done something, but we don’t really know. Again, these complexities are often overlooked, which serves only to diminish the quality and rigour of public debate on these important issues.

    I find it absurd and depressing that the major of the public are so easily distracted after the Charleston murders. The President of the USA immediately states things have to change with gun control, yet the NRA spin machine immediate turns it around and blames a flag and the mass fall into line. Blame it on race, religion, your cat, aliens or Jodie Foster but it'll never change the fact of the this all too regular occurrence. How long will the obvious be ignored and drawn-out before tens of thousands more per year die.

    Honestly I believe its too late to do anything realistic about gun control in the USA due to the sheer out right amount of firearms in circulation there

      "too late to do anything realistic about gun control in the USA due to the sheer out right amount of firearms in circulation...."
      Ban automatic weapons.
      How hard is that?
      If you are in posession of a firearm that discharges multiple rounds without a bolt action or lever action in between the rounds, then you are in violation of the law.
      You could probably sort the country out in 10 to 20 years.
      Doesn't help me right now you say?
      If you know a person with an automatic weapon after the banning, you might ask yourself the question, is this person someone I want to be around with a loaded AR-15?
      If the answer is NO, then a phone call to the plod will take care of the problem.

      The Second Amendment reads thus "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
      So really, the second amendment is written to allow the individual states to keep police forces and national guard. A "well regulated militia"

      It was not intended to allow a half-wit in a trailer park to collect an M60 and 20,000 rounds so he could take 200 pre-school kids with him when he decides to check out in a blaze of glory.

      "Well regulated militia."

      It was intended as a counterbalance for the states as protection against an oppressive federal goverment. This was back when the concept of a FEDERAL govt was viewed with the same suspicion as the oppressive rule as the English Monarchy. I would have thought things in the US had moved on a bit since then? The places in the US that are hugely pro-gun are also the states that are the biggest recipients of federal money. If it wasn't for California and New York, the flyover states (gun states) would starve to death.

      Guns are not your friend.

        An AR-15 is not an automatic weapon, try again

        I bet these guys wish they weren't disarmed by their government

        Dont be naive and think it could never happen in the west
        Did you think the germans imagined a chap like hitler could rise to power?
        At some point, there will be a new stalin or mao, and the last thing you'd want is to be unarmed and end up a statistic in a history book

          The greatest threat to a would be tyrant is NOT some preppers with guns.

          The greatest threats to a would be tyrant are free speech, a free press, an educated populace and a properly functioning democracy.
          Hitler, Mao, Stalin all went straight for the printing presses, not the guns.

          Interestingly, in Australia at the moment, the Abbott governments number one agenda is to attack free speech.
          Number two agenda is to monitor every email, web search and telephone call.
          Number three ????

            I guess it's a good thing the Australian government already took away the guns before they started attacking free speech and the press...

            Number three would be to cut education funding, I suppose. Not that they would - hang on.

            OK, how about a properly functioning democracy? Er, there are proposed rules to change how voting preferences are distributed in the Senate, which has a much higher proportion of minor parties, in a manner which basically favours larger parties.

            The Abbott government, elected on a platform of openness, has been almost unprecedented in the restrictions it places on freedom of speech, its criticism of dissenters, and the tightness with which it holds certain key information. I really hope we get a chance to vote them out soon. Almost as much as I hope that Labor grows a spine.

            Last edited 29/06/15 2:30 am

              ..."properly functioning democracy? Er, there are proposed rules to change how voting preferences are distributed in the Senate....."

              There's no democracy that can lay claim to being "The final answer"
              The preferential system that we have, IMHO, is VASTLY superior to the rediculous first past the post system in most countries. You get to say "I want HIM to win, but, if that doesn't work out, I'd prefer HER, but if that doesn't work out, I'd prefer etc...."
              In many countries, you get to choose ONE candidate only. If there are two parties vying for similar voters, they can split a common voter base.

              The PROBLEM in Oz, is that we have to walk into the booth and make a choice.
              A. Vote above the line and make a single mark, (Even though you might despise some of the prefs you are giving)
              B. Mark each and every one of the nutjobs that are on the paper.

              If I were a hardcore paraniod gun-owner, (and my VRO allowed me to vote at a regular polling booth), I would far prefer to walk into the booth and vote 1. Gun Enthusiasts Party, 2. Shooting Shooters Party, 3. Divorced Fathers Rights Party, 4. National Party, 5. Liberal Party. Then that's it. I don't want to mark off another 29 candidates. That's my prefs.

              If you make it sensible, we stand a chance of a better result.
              If people are forced to vote above the line, we keep getting the Jacquie Lambies of the world.
              She knows less that John Snow.

        Automatic weapons are already extremely difficult to obtain. The AR-15 you mentioned is not an automatic, but semi-automatic (one trigger pull, one round down the barrel). Automatic weapons are extremely expensive, the forms and fees to acquire an automatic weapon ate expensive, and the FBI gets involved in every legal purchase of an automatic weapon.

        Stick to the facts please.

        Our government is still an experiment. You look at all the other major nations, and we're still trying to figure our own system out (contrary to popular belief, it's always a work in progress). Our constitution was designed to give everyone equal access to freedoms and liberties that other nations prohibit their countrymen. At times, those prohibitions are benign such as in the UK, others, its quite prohibitive like in Malaysia. The forefathers saw that this could or even happen in our nation, which if why they gave the people the right to usurp the government if it ever came down to that.

        And, again, the M60 is hella expensive, requires a class III permit to even own and that is done after a thorough background check.

    If you give kids a box of matches, they're going to accidentally burn the house down, and I see america as a country full of children in adult bodies

    Even if guns were freely available in australia as they are in america, there wouldn't be as many shootings because our crime rates, mental illness rates and drug/antidepressant use are all far lower here

    The real problem here is american culture, consider switzerland does not have the same problems despite being well armed

    If you think gun control prevents mass shootings, then how did Anders Breivik manage to shoot all those people in Norway since gun ownership is prohibited in Norway, unless one has officially documented a use for the gun.
    France has strict gun laws. Why didn’t that save Charlie Hebdo victims?
    Things could have turned out very differently in the Lindt cafe with someone more trigger happy, and then the title of this article would have NO MEANING, instead we'd be reading about how gun control failed

    Criminals and terrorists will get guns no matter what the laws are, because they are not worried about breaking the law

    Here's an interesting piece on the aussie gun ban

    Home invasions here are on the rise, and it's because they know their targets are defenseless and the police won't arrive in time

    Our laws on self defense are a joke when women are not allowed to carry pepper spray or a baton

    Who would you rather be?
    A store owner getting shot by armed criminals in a city where guns are banned this guy was VERY LUCKY the criminals weren't good shots

    I understand controlled ownership for hunting or sporting of purpose specific guns but I don't know why a Civilian need a fully automatic assault rifle that is designed to kill as many people as possible as quickly as they can make the thing spit out bullets.

      So I guess, if armed thugs have uzis and AKs, you'd rather be armed with a six shot revolver :P

        By that logic, you should be armed with a grenade or two just in case they come with them as well.

        On a more sensible note, a well-trained person with a six shooter would be more dangerous than a thug with an AK, considering in a country like Australia it would be quite hard to train with that weapon without arousing much suspicion. Meanwhile the guy with the six shooter probably goes to the gun range a few times a month for practice or competition

        Except I live in a country where the definition of an armed thug is usually a dude with a knife. The thing about countries with tighter gun control laws is that the armed thugs are almost never toting that sort of weapon, so theres no reason for any else to either.

        And the thing many of the gun advocates usually forget, is if the general populace is armed, then criminals naturally start toting more effective weaponry and the arms race just spirals from there.

        No, I'd rather not get shot by some mentally unstable lunatic with an AK who seems to lack their namesake.

    The copycat mentality has much more to do with it than most people and indeed experts realise.
    One could digress but we do not want to give some the wrong idea.

    The article says, " took a brave prime minister to face the rage..." but I'd add it took much more. First John Howard was a career politician unfettered by a 2nd Amendment. America suffers with many freedoms because it has a strong Constitution. Over the years, many other nations surrendered their freedoms because they had no constitution or failed to defend it. Many of those nations have been protected for decades by the U.S. precisely because the U.S. vigorously defends its 2nd Amendment. Most nations didn’t or never had a 2nd Amendment. Leftists often point to Australia’s gun control success because “gun deaths” down under are rare. Well of course they’re rare. If they’d confiscated all the rope, deaths by hanging would be rare. Most notably, Australia’s “success” was a compulsory buyback of a million firearms, funded by taxpayers. More simply, it was government confiscation more brazen than what occurred in prewar Germany. In other words, to duplicate this “success,” the U.S. government would have to repeal the 2nd Amendment and purchase 300 million firearms, costing about $150 billion. In view of the “success” in New York and Connecticut where compliance was only about four percent and 10 percent respectively, litigation would be overwhelming and perhaps followed by colossal violence not seen since the Civil War. Incidentally, Australia was one of the nations protected by the U.S. Recall the Imperial Japanese Navy was was poised to attack and was stopped only by the U.S. Navy early in 1942. The U.S. lost many brave men and the USS Lexington, one of our mainline carriers.

    Comparing U.S. numbers, most of the so-called "gun deaths" were suicides and as most would conclude, suicide will take the path of least pain. Fact is the U.S. suicide rate is only 1.25 times higher than Australia’s, about the same as the comparative overall crime rates (1.19 times higher) and the quality of life (1.13 times higher). But the population density in the U.S. is 12.1 times higher, a statistic that often is quoted by sociologists as a causative factor in crime statistics, suicide rates and quality of life. In Australia, homicide has decreased by nine percent since 1990 and armed robbery by one-third since 2001, but recorded assaults and sexual assaults have both increased steadily in the past 10 years by over 40 percent and 20 percent respectively. A direct comparison of murder rates isn’t possible because illegal aliens murder about 4,000 citizens annually in the U.S. while the number of illegal aliens are negligible in Australia.

    Demonizing the U.S. “gun death” rate is popular but recent data indicates 19,392 use firearms to take their own lives annually. That’s about 49.1% of the total suicides and 58.9% of the total deaths by firearm. That leaves about 13,537 for gangs, other murderers, law enforcement and of course those who defend themselves. Perhaps most egregiously, leftists never, ever clarify the claimed “gun death” number with the number murdered by illegal aliens. That leaves about 9,537 as the internationally comparable number, changing the U.S. rank and public opinion generally. In view of the amnesty program now erasing the U.S. southern border, that number seems significant. Because murders in the U.S. totaled 14,827 last year, a significant number must have been committed by means other than firearms. If firearms somehow vanished from the deranged segment, suicides would continue by drugs and other methods. And murders would continue with stabbing, cutting and striking implements, fists, feet and hands, drugs, drowning, drops, pushes and suffocations. Law officers would continue to shoot those who attack them leaving the rest to accidents and a small number for self-defense. I’d add that firearms are used more than a million times annually by lawful citizens defending themselves, most without firing a shot. That number might change but only if criminals stop committing crimes merely because they have no firearms.

    As a footnote to accidental deaths by firearms, one U.S. statistic stands out. Over the past 40 years, the number of fatal gun accidents involving children aged 0-14 declined 90 percent while the supply of firearms tripled. Firearms exist in large numbers in the U.S. precisely because Americans believe in the natural right to self-defense, particularly against the kind of oppressive government under which they now struggle. Additionally, recent terror attacks have hardened the public's position against gun control. More than a million now overtly refuse to obey gun registration and confiscation laws in just two states. Demonstrating its friendliness, New York recently stopped comparing death certificates to permits and taking firearms from widows. In the U.S., self-defense struggles against gun control.

      "Leftists often point to Australia’s gun control success because “gun deaths” down under are rare. Well of course they’re rare. If they’d confiscated all the rope, deaths by hanging would be rare."

      And so we can all agree that's a good thing then...less deaths by someone with a firearm.
      Excellent point you've made. Well done.

      The rest of it, no-one here really cares about statistics in the US. I'm sure they're riveting for you.

      "I’d add that firearms are used more than a million times annually by lawful citizens defending themselves, most without firing a shot."
      And I'd add that more than a million times annually Australians (and most of the civilised world), find ways of resolving their differences and grievances by methods other than a firearm, usually at loud volume and occasionally with some punching involved.
      Just to clue you in here, pulling a gun on someone is seen here as cowardly, because you lack either the fortitude or common sense to get yourself out of the situation in hand.

      "A direct comparison of murder rates isn’t possible because illegal aliens murder about 4,000 citizens annually in the U.S. while the number of illegal aliens are negligible in Australia."
      Maybe, just maybe if they didn't have such easy access and feel the need to be armed, they might murder substantially less people.
      We do have illegal immigrants here, but our culture isn't such that they feel the need to be constantly armed, or in fear for their safety.
      But great work on shifting the blame onto someone else.

    there are 800,000 licenced firearm owners in australia, there is now more guns in Australia then there was in 1996 when the buyback happened and yet there isn't frequent massacres here. Probably because the firearms aren't the issue. The issue is letting people with depression or violent mental disorders getting their hands on them. We keep comparing Australian gun culture to America's when a closer comparison would be to New Zealand. New Zealand hasn't had any recent massacres because their socio economic levels have improved alongside Australia, they're allowed Semi-Auto's with no problems. I feel that Australia wouldn't have a problem if the regulations for licence firearm owners were relaxed to allow semi-automatic firearms and suppressors.

    I'm TOTALLY against gun control in the US. Less Americans on the planet the better :)

    As an Australian it annoys me when an American arks up in these discussions saying that Australians have failed to defend their constitution or their rights when it comes to gun control.
    I personally don't remember anyone being upset about the changes, because the changes made sense.
    We defended our right to live in a safe, gun regulated society, common sense prevailed, and that's what we now have.

    Before stating that we failed to defend our rights, I would challenge these people to find any Aussie at all who would prefer that the regulations we have now weren't in place.
    Good luck with that.

      Two points. First, our numbers aren't greatly different. Secondly, your safety is fleeting. Historically, 1938 - 1945, most nations defended their rights but each one individually was overwhelmed by imperialist European and Asian forces. The US was as outmatched as your boys were but together, we managed to tamp it down. Many recognize that other forces are building up for a repeat performance. I'm old and probably won't live to see the next one but for my daughters, I hope we're ready.

        What exactly does WWII have to do with any of this? Defending against outside aggression is not the same as internal regulation. Or is this another argument conflating private gun ownership with a nations military ability?

        The fact is that many other countries saw fit to regulate the public access to firearms in order to curb gun crime. These measures succeeded fairly dramatically, while not actually preventing the public from buying guns to go hunting or target shooting.

          I gave you my points but you insist on whining without substance. Arguing with a leftist is a pointless exercise.

            Nice. Doesnt do me the courtesy of addressing any of the points I raise, just skips straight to making a straw man argument based upon a claim about my voting preferences (which you dont actually know).

            Lets start again. I am claiming that private gun ownership has little to do with a nations military capability. If you can disprove that go ahead. I am also claiming that the measures introduced to prevent gun crime were effective, again if you can disprove that (should be easy) go ahead.

            Intelligent people shouldnt have to resort to schoolyard tactics.

              Well there are two obvious relationships between gun ownership and military capability.

              1. Gun owners can immediately become an armed militia in the event of an enemy incursion. With our current situation it'd take ages to raise and then arm a militia.

              2. Gun owners already understand the basics of shooting. They may not have combat experience and other military training but they know how to aim and shoot.

              That said, it seems unlikely that any military invasion of Australia would actually rely on foot soldiers and street to street combat.

        The next big war, if it were to happen, will be fought with the nuetron or the microbe. Not with some prepper holding a gun.
        Meanwhile, you have wholesale gun slaughter.
        We have a comparitavely peaceful society.

        (This post is working on the assumption that you're actually an elderly, internet literate American who can be bothered to post on an Australian website, and not a Philippino employee of the NRA, paid to troll foreign websites. As if.)

          I’m not a Filipino and I’m not a troll. I’m just a concerned U.S. citizen. I post my findings from time to time, usually as a rebuttal to the constant hammering by the American left for more gun control. It’s not about U.S. military strength and it’s not about World War Two. And I know legal, privately owned firearms are no match for military force. But in the 30s, European despots disarmed entire populations without deploying a single plane, tank or artillery piece. They used ordinary law enforcement and armed agency security. This subject invariably drifts to the subject of war but that’s unintentional. I post my opinion because evidence is clear that even despots need favorable public opinion. I hope my voice plays at least a small part in that arena. Recall the unarmed Chinese student who won his standoff against a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square. For those who don’t follow international politics, the U.S. made a hard left turn in 2008 and it was accomplished by an inexperienced community organizer who won the public opinion war. Occasionally, we all should be reminded that despots achieve their aims by controlling big media, private firearms and money. To achieve control of constitutional republics and democracies, despots find ways to divide the various constituencies, e.g., self-reliance vs dependency, men vs women, gays vs straights, religious vs non-religious, hawks vs doves, capitalists vs socialists, et al., endlessly.

          The current U.S. administration employed Saul Alinsky’s famous rules to achieve desired ends. The result has been devastating. The U.S. now is more than $20 trillion in debt mostly to China. U.S. businesses are leaving in droves to friendlier nations with lower taxes. About 46 million Americans receive food stamps. Military strength has been weakened to a 40 year low. The medical care system is bankrupt and doctors are dropping out like flies. More than a million illegal aliens swarm across the Mexican border every year. And they kill more than 7,000 U.S. citizens every year, almost 4,000 as part of criminal activity. An accurate estimate is the U.S. is home to at least 25 million illegal aliens, about the same number as the Australian population. Many illegal aliens in the U.S. are criminals recently released from prisons by the current administration. Many have multiple identities used to “collect” more than a hundred forms of entitlements. The term “collector” now is used to describe a profession of those who are highly skilled at gaming US entitlement programs. Use of dangerous drugs has escalated and although the reasons are many, porous borders heavily contribute to the problem. I could run on and on but I’ll spare the reader. My concern is focused on my country. Others need to be concerned about what happens to the planet if the U.S. slips into an insolvent socialist state and can no longer protect itself, as now seems likely. I know this sounds like a whine and perhaps it is. But non-Americans should watch and carefully safeguard all the rights they have. My initial post was aimed at but barely touched on the comparative effects of gun control.

            "Military strength has been weakened to a 40 year low. "
            The US currently spends HALF the worlds defence budget. How much do you want to spend?

            Another 15% is from countries that are unquestionably Allied to the US.
            Another 15% is from countries that are not unquestionably Allied, but certainly aren't ever going to pose a threat to the US.

            That leaves Russia and China.
            China's weapons are mostly pointed inward. The PRC's primary job is to keep the peasants at bay, not invade Japan.
            They are increasing their ability to defend their local area, but they're not a Superpower.

            Russias weapons are pointed outward, (and the only weapons worth thinking about are their land based ICBM's), but they're been pointed outward for 50 years and they haven't pulled the trigger yet. You also need to question what the quanta of reliably operational launchers really is? (Separate long discussion.)

            Missile-gap, bomber-gap, Iraqi Army, Iraqi WMD's, China's military might.
            They're all paper tigers. They're all a figment of defence contractors imaginations.
            You've been sold a pup.


                Happy to help.

              Sorry for not responding right away. I was busy and had time only to say thx. As I posted earlier, this conversation usually drifts to the subject of war and it did here. However, that wasn't the thrust of my original post. Since dealing with America’s hollowed out military came up, I’ll touch the subject again. It's a common complaint that half the world’s defense budget is spent by the U.S. but I always wonder about the consequences if she stopped. Defense spending by the other 30 percent is debatable but I'll accept the number and ask if those allies would continue, up the ante or follow suit if the U.S. stopped or radically reduced defense spending. I'd also accept the premise that Russia and China are the only remaining significant powers. But the current enemy in the U.S. is public opinion and radical, militant Islam entering the U.S. in large numbers across the southern border. Some are caught but most just hit the streets. Iraq has been lost again. Iran is out of control. ISIS has plunged through most of North Africa. In the event of a major “incident” in the Middle East, nuclear or not, the response is pretty much unpredictable. We know radical Islam would like nothing better than to ignite a nuclear strike somewhere. My point is if the U.S. slips into insolvency as Russia did in the late 80s, and the military becomes ineffective, western allies would be sitting ducks to even a modest power. But as I said, that wasn't why I posted my original comments. Since this community seems satisfied with government control of their firearms, I'll leave this topic without more ineffective palaver. It has been an interesting and mostly polite conversation and I enjoyed it. thx.

                "My point is if the U.S. slips into insolvency as Russia did ....."

                The US, as whole, has no shortage of money.
                If you count the net asset position of all its people, and all its companies, and all its governments, and all its pension funds, you will discover that the US as an entity has never been wealther than today. The problem, in the last few decades, has been that the middle class and the government has been stripped of their earning capacity and as a consequence their wealth.

                In short, the 0.1%ers now earn all the money and own all the stuff, and refuse to pay any tax.
                If you want the headline reasons, then start with trickle-down economics, tax havens and globalisation.

                We (in Oz) are going though the process of naming and shaming all the multi-nationals who make hundreds of billions of dollars in Australia, but pay no tax through clever accounting.
                (Think Apple, Starbucks, xtrata, Phizer, etc.)
                This will be followed with either laws or regulations that stop the profit shifting practices.
                (Probably by the next government, as the current govt will prostitute itself for 5 bucks plus tax fare.)
                Either way, it will be bloodless.

                The INTERESTING bit in this, is that in gun toting America, at some point the 'cultural' Republicans will work out that ;
                A. Gay marraige is no longer an issue (supreme court decided that)
                B. Gun toting 'Cultural' Republicans actually pay ALL the tax.
                C. The 'economic' Republicans are very, very rich, but don't pay any tax
                D. The 'Cultural' Republicans own all the guns.

                I'm looking foward to seeing a CNN report of an armed and angry lynch mob dragging the Koch brothers &/or The Donald out of their offices and demanding to see their tax returns.

            if the U.S. slips into an insolvent socialist state

            And we'll just ignore the inconvenient fact that your economy was tanking well before Obama arrived.

            more than a million illegal aliens swarm across the Mexican border every year. And they kill more than 7,000 U.S. citizens every year

            And because of the high cost of medical care for many of your citizens, you lost 48,614 of them in 2003-04 to influenza. Yep, the flu. I'd be focussing on that before worrying about the other stuff.

            Last edited 08/08/15 1:31 am

      You had no rights to defend to begin with. Australia's Constitution did not guarantee the people's right to keep and bear arms; the Yanks' Constitution does.

      All it will take to eliminate that right is 67% of both houses of Congress at any given time, followed by the approval of 3/4 of the States.

    This isn't or shouldn't be about preparing preparing for a war, as regulation doesn't stop you from doing that, Its about walking down the street in relative safety.

    I personally handed in 3 guns when we were asked. There was a limited window to make the most of the buy back scheme, but even after this, the guns kept coming in.
    Don't get me wrong though, I live in the bush and own 3 more. Single shot rifles with a maximum of 10 round cartridges. They are stored in a lockup cabinet, the bolts and ammunition are stored separately. A few times a year the cops come to make sure that I'm licensed, that the guns are registered and that they are secure, so what.
    My point is that we can still own guns, guns a lot more powerful and more accurate than the ones I have here, most people I know have them. We just need prove we have a need, and that we are responsible adults.
    The changes in itself aren't that big a deal, we still have guns, and if there is a war, well I guess i will have to go to the shed and get them, what really changed and what gives the sense of relief is the whole change in mentality within the community as a whole.

    Its not my place to say how America should handle its situation, and regardless of statistics, the regulations have been a good thing, and that's what matters. All we can do for you is tell you that it worked for us and it might be worth considering.

    It is interesting to hear claims that high employment rates and mental health care were more significant than the actual banning of automatic firearms. Ever since 2008, the world has been in economic crisis, and Australia, while resistant, seems to be falling in a hole.
    Unhappy youths with low employment prospects, and retrenched workers with insufficient support facing early retirement or a life on the dole. ISIS claiming it's all the fault of the infidels, make them pay. That's a toxic combination, with the Lindt Cafe holdup showing us how easy it is for someone to slip under the radar of our Security Taskforces.

    Other incidents will happen, it's just a matter of time. Gun control won't help - Timmy McVeigh didn't need a gun to blow up a building in Oklahoma City.

    Australia spends more money on mental health support compared to US, and I think this is very important when talking gun control.

    "....common complaint that half the world’s defense budget is spent by the U.S. ...."
    I'm not complaining?!
    Why would I complain?
    I live under the protection of a US nuclear umbrella at little cost.
    I would expect that the only complaints would come from US taxpayers, who are the poor souls who have to actually pay the bill.

    You live on the inside looking out, so maybe you can't see what the rest of the developed western world lives like, but the cost of your military drags down your average quality of life.
    The spending is far less insane than it has been in past decades, but it's still insane.

    You've consistently got something like 250,000 US military personel overseas. Plus another 50,000 local support staff.
    How many doctors, nurses, teachers or cops would half of that cost buy?

    You've got over 1,000 domestic mil bases. (Maybe 1,500? Apparently nobody really knows.)
    How many hospitals, medical clinics, universities or community halls would half of that buy?

    As IKE said on his way out the door, the US taxpayer is captive to the military industrial complex.
    And you, Gene, are paying the bill. (And your kids, grandkids, etc)

    In other news, I'm an Aussie, who's not paying the bill.
    So, Cheers for that! (Also, Regards to your kids and grandkids. We all appreciate their hard work. Keep it up!)

      "You've got over 1,000 domestic mil bases. (Maybe 1,500?"

      Not even, why make stuff up?

    Two facts you neglected to mention. 1) Although there are fewer mass shootings in Australia, there are more shootings, more gun caused homicides, and more gun related crimes. 2) There are now more illegal guns in Australia than ever (yes, that means the guns are only in the hands of the criminals who will do bad things with them).

      1) but still not anywhere near the rate of the US
      2) and they mostly seem to shoot each other

      Neither of these points supports an argument for relaxing Australia's gun laws.

      Some argue that their freedom is being restricted by not being able to buy semi-automatic weapons. Equally though, I live in suburbia and am not allowed to have a rooster in my backyard.

      Why do I want a rooster? What does it matter? I submit that a man is not truly free if he is not free to own a rooster. I'd like a pony too, so my rooster can ride the pony. But I can't.

      There are always restrictions (no speeding, no punching people for no reason/because you are drunk, no handguns or semi-automatic weapons just because you'd like to have one, no drinking from the toilet bowl) on the things we can do in society. Some people aren't fans of them, and every so often they get to vote and tell people what they think. It generally works pretty well, most of the time.

      You want easy access to handguns and semi-automatic weapons? Vote for the Shooters party, or the Liberal Democrats. You won't get your wish, but you'll at least have your say. The majority are quite happy with their extremely limited availability.

    Ummmm... but there have been mass shootings?

    Funny how the the author doesn't count the following as mass shootings. And they all occurred after 1996
    Monash University Shooting - 2002
    Hectorville Siege - 2011
    Hunt Family Murders - 2014

    Not to mention the higher number of mass murder by means other than a firearm
    Snowtown Murders - 1992 - 1999
    Childers Palace Backpackers fire - 2000
    Churchill Fire - 2009
    Lin Family Murders - 2009
    Quakers Hill Nursing Home Fire - 2011
    Cairns Child Killings - 2014

    So calling this headline a all out lie to attract the support of readers who cant use google. Shame on you gizmodo!

    I missed where the CONSTITUTION of Australia mentions the "Right to bear arms Shall NOT Be Infringed", or your right to privacy, oh probably because they don't have any rights!

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