On walkabout in life and technology

Gun Control Does Work

Personal note: I have lived in the USA for 9 years now, and think this place is magnificent. Two days ago, in Newtown CT, 20 children and 6 adults were massacred. The dark side of America that is in denial about gun violence, that refuses to even discuss gun control, that treats massacres as a normal and regular part of life, a country that gives up its civil rights over a single terrorist act, but takes no action on a score of massacres of its children, well, that just scares the shit out of me. Whether you are religious or not, parent or not, patriotic or not, surely we can all agree that we can and should do everything in our power to prevent this kind of horror. It can be done, it has been done elsewhere, lets make it happen here.

We did it in my home country, Australia, and it has worked well. I live in New York, I wish for it to work here in the USA too.

Key points

  • A radical gun law reform occurred in Australia after a gun massacre (35 dead and 18 seriously injured) in April 1996. Semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns and rifles were banned; a tax-funded firearm buyback and amnesties saw over 700 000 guns surrendered from an adult population of about 12 million.

  • The total firearm deaths, firearm homicides and firearm suicides had been falling in the 18 years preceding the new gun laws. In all, 13 mass shootings were noticed in the 18 years preceding the new gun laws.

  • In the 10.5 years after the gun law reforms, there have been no mass shootings, but accelerated declines in annual total gun deaths and firearm suicides and a non-significant accelerated decline in firearm homicides. No substitution effects occurred for suicides or homicides.

We also have universal healthcare, which means that the mentally disturbed get the best help. And of course, those with mental illness have no access to legal weaponry.

We don’t have or need a second amendment type law, or anything similar. We deal with problematic governments the true democratic way, with votes, even going so far as to make voting mandatory. And we have the political nuclear-button option, a Governor General who can dismiss the government at any time by the will of the people. This has happened once already.

As such, Australia is a model of what could be in the USA. We still have access to handguns and hunting rifles, but the combination of great mental healthcare and strict gun control make it one of the safest places in the world to live and raise your children.

For more, read the full detailed report: Australia’s 1996 gun law reforms: faster falls in firearm deaths, firearm suicides, and a decade without mass shootings.