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I owned guns (at least one, usually several) from the age of 14 until I moved to Australia two years ago. As most of you know, Australia is the Holy Land of Gun Control: after the Port Arthur mass shooting, the government rounded up 1/3 of all the firearms in the country and melted them down.

The gun buy-back was tremendously expensive and far from unanimously popular; there is still a pro-gun political party here.

So, what is the result 17 years later? For an American's perspective, see below:

1. No more mass shootings.

2. Gun violence is so low, the papers write about knife crime.

3. I know just as many people here who own guns as I did in the USA.

There are differences: the people here own shotguns and hunting rifles, not handguns, assault rifles, or sub-machine guns. The owners here are farmers or hunters or friends of farmers and hunters (farmer being a pretty loose definition, as I know several engineers who also have farms) There's paperwork for all of it, and the cops are allowed to inspect your gun safe at any time. You can get handguns, but the paperwork is worse. And of course guns cost a lot more (at least 2x).

I don't have a gun, because I don't want to do the paperwork. But that is the only thing stopping me: if I wanted to replace my arsenal, I could (except for the Mini-14, but hey...)

But of course that leads to another difference: here, in Australia, I don't feel the need to have a gun in the house.

The point is, it is perfectly possible to have strong gun control laws and still have sport shooting and hunting. It's not even a big deal, really. Yes it is an expensive hassle compared to just showing up at a gun show and buying some cool stuff, but let's be honest: opening the newspaper to something like Sandy Hook ruins your day a lot worse than shelling out some bucks and standing in line for a while at the police station.

Originally posted to Yahzi on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 03:52 AM PDT.

Also republished by Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA) and Shut Down the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  But what about the zombie apocolypse (2+ / 0-)

    What will Australia do then? ;)

    "Jesus Christ was black, ronald reagan was the devil, and the government is lying about 9/11." Huey Freeman

    by cee4 on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 04:42:39 AM PDT

  •  All you ever wanted to know about (5+ / 0-)

    The Port Arthur Massacre.

    35 people killed. Newtown was probably 120 seconds short of being 'worse'.

    Maybe if we had the level of detail and (shudder!) the pictures of Newtown, the level of horror in this country now would rival that in Australia then.

    Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

    by Clem Yeobright on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 05:10:21 AM PDT

  •  Now THAT's a reasonable approach to gun ownership (4+ / 0-)

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 05:11:20 AM PDT

  •  Re: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FrankRose

    What are you talking about?  There was a mass shooting in 2002.

    When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

    by Patrick Costighan on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 05:13:00 AM PDT

  •  Not Entirely Accurate (6+ / 0-)
    There has been a pronounced change in the type of weapons used in homicide since monitoring began. Firearm use has declined by more than half since 1989-90 as a proportion of homicide methods, and there has been an upward trend in the use of knives and sharp instruments, which in 2006-07 accounted for nearly half of all homicide victims.
    That would perhaps explain why the papers write about knife crime...
    The trend in assaults shows an average growth of five percent each year from 1995 to 2007, four times the annual growth of the Australian population in the same period.
    The graph here is striking.
    Reported sexual assaults have increased by 51 percent since 1995, at an average of four percent each year.
    Link

    Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.

    by The Baculum King on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 06:15:01 AM PDT

    •  Caveat: Increased reporting may be a good thing (3+ / 0-)

      Police often note that 'crime rates' generally INCREASE whenever a new police chief takes office. Is it because criminals were thoroughly intimidated by the previous (foolishly-removed?) occupant, or is it because citizens are hoping that report -> arrest/conviction will be more frequent now?

      Often, the best strategy for a new police chief is to trample the hopes of the people under his protection and thereby severely decrease the level of reported crime.

      Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

      by Clem Yeobright on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 06:32:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good catch (3+ / 0-)

        that is a somewhat slick bit of deflection, but still, H4 Bingo!

      •  I'm Not Sure What That Has to do With Anything (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FrankRose

        The chart here shows a steady increase, not an isolated "bump".

        But a nice attempted deflection of an inconvenient fact.

        Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.

        by The Baculum King on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 06:53:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "attempted deflection" ? Not so much . (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SoCalSal, DefendOurConstitution

          A society that reports more , hides less , is a good thing .
          Americans could report more . If it seems we are doing good work that leads people to believe that they should report more and hide less , that might lead to more reports that might lead to more reports , and so on .
          People feeling they are living in a place with more justice ...

          Do rapists rape because there are gun laws ?
          Do rape victims get raped because they don't have a gun or a knife ?
          Does taking away guns from people cause them to become rapists ?

          Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11

          by indycam on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 08:53:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's Sure as Hell Harder to Rape a Woman (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FrankRose

            If she has a gun she can use.

            Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.

            by The Baculum King on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 08:58:20 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Love the way you avoided everything (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SoCalSal, DefendOurConstitution

              but the easy answer .

              It's Sure as Hell Harder to Rape a Woman
              If she has a gun she can use.
              So you are maybe thinking that all the increased reported rapes would have not happened if the guns that the women had in the past to stop rapes had not been taken away ?
              That disarming women made them unable to stop rapists that in the past they would have gotten the drop on ?

              Perhaps you could provide the numbers , women who were packing before the ban and the number of women now who are packing post ban ?

              Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11

              by indycam on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 09:15:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I Don't Know (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FrankRose

                The correlation is clear, but causality??

                I DO know that before the ban there were an estimated 3 million affected guns in Australia, and only some 600,000 turned up at the buy-backs.

                And unlike our violent crime rate, which has dropped, Australia's has risen.

                Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.

                by The Baculum King on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 09:36:11 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  If you can not or will not (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  DefendOurConstitution

                  tie the gun ban to reports of rapes in a real and logical way ,
                  maybe the link isn't there at all and you are just hoping to make a point by putting the two together ?

                  I DO know that before the ban there were an estimated 3 million affected guns in Australia, and only some 600,000 turned up at the buy-backs.
                  So the guns are still there and the reports of rapes went up ? To use some "interesting logic" , those unturned in guns are the cause of increased reports of rapes ? If we ban guns , people who refuse to hand in there guns will turn into rapists and so therefore we must protect the women by not turning men into rapists via gun control ?

                  ........................................................
                  http://www.rainn.org/...

                  In 2001, 11% of rapes involved the use of a weapon — 3% used a gun, 6% used a knife, and 2 % used another form of weapon.
                  84% of victims reported the use of physical force only.
                  Lets not play games re gun control and rapes .

                  Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11

                  by indycam on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 10:26:41 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Violent crime rate drop correlates with lead (2+ / 0-)

                  Scientific evidence that removal of lead from the environment correlates with reduction in violent crime here in the U.S., yet we still have an edge on rate; 4.8 to 1.0 for Australia.

                  You don't make a convincing case that tighter gun laws in Australia correlate with higher violent crime rates, nor that loose laws here in the U.S. correlate with reduction in the crime rate.

                  How about a look at accidental death due to firearms? I'm guessing that Australia has a lower rate.

                •  Yes, crime has increased (0+ / 0-)

                  But isn't it still lower than in the USA?

                  To be honest I would suspect the increase is more about reporting than anything else. Australia feels like it's 20 years behind the USA in a lot of things, and attitudes towards crime reporting (particularly rape) is one of those things.

  •  Australia also eliminated the penny (4+ / 0-)

    the penny coin (which no one used there either) not the cent, and Saturday mail delivery.  For decades, my Dad (now 89) has spent 4-6 months a year in Australia (on his "farm") and laughs about the fact that everyone there screams and yells about changes when they are implemented - for about "2 weeks," and then they are accepted as the norm.

    Please, call me "Loris."

    by s l o w loris on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 06:48:09 AM PDT

  •  Many years ago I worked with a man (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hey338Too, Andrew F Cockburn

    who ran the anchor leg  an a four hundred meter dash relay team that set a Texas high school record. When I worked with him he was in his early thirties, was very fit, and rode competitively in Texas bicycle races. We were working in Salem, Oregon installing some software for a large HMO. One morning at breakfast I mentioned that we had missed him at dinner the night before. He replied that he had worked late and as he was crossing the city park that separated the work site from our hotel he had been mugged. He said that a man had approached him and pulled out a large knife and demanded his money. We asked what happened. He said, "I ran away."

    We all laughed as we pictured the mugger standing there helplessly as our sprinter friend dashed into the gloom.

    I wonder what would have happened if his mugger had had a gun.

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:29:23 AM PDT

  •  No one here owns "sub-machined guns" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patrick Costighan

    unless they have a class-III license which comes with all that stuff you mentioned: inspections at will by the ATF, licensing and registration, etc. Please don't obfuscate with the tired old hyperbole about how anyone in America can get a "machine gun" because that is not true.

    There are lessons to be learned from some of the things done in Australia, but there are other thins to consider as well: American society does, indeed, seem to embrace violence a bit more readily than other countries.

    Canada actually has a pretty respectable rate of gun ownership per capita, as do Finland and definite Switzerland, but they also have better social safety nets so people down-and-out don't feel the need to resort to crime; they have more humane prisons and a more rational approach to drug abusers, and they seem to foster a better sense of community among citizens --note that the GOP, which mostly stands behind unrestricted gun ownership, also foments a selfish "all about me; to hell with everyone else" attitude.  They call it "rugged individualism" for marketing purposes.

    There is a vast sea of difference wider than the Pacific that separates us.

    The internet is ruled by cat people. Dog people are busy playing outside.

    by Canis Aureus on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 08:40:15 AM PDT

    •  "No one" ? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DefendOurConstitution
      No one here owns "sub-machined guns"
      unless they have a class-III license which comes with all that stuff you mentioned: inspections at will by the ATF, licensing and registration, etc.
      No one owns a converted semi auto , non licensed ... ?  
      And no one has a bump fire installed on a semi auto ?

      Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11

      by indycam on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 09:07:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That does not turn it into a "sub-machine gun". (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Patrick Costighan, FrankRose

        And a converted semi-auto is illegal as all hell, not to mention dangerous to shoot-- for the shooter.

        A "sub-machine gun" is an actual technical definition, not a status you can transform a weapon into by adding something fancy. "Bump-fire" accoutrements do not in any way shape or form turn one type of rifle into a sub-machine gun. Not even close.

        So far "bump-fire" is legal, I (personally) call it questionable but I'm not an ATF agent or a lawyer for ATF, so I don't know what rationale they have for it.

        If people have a problem with bump-fire, then they should petition to have it outlawed.

        The internet is ruled by cat people. Dog people are busy playing outside.

        by Canis Aureus on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 09:26:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DefendOurConstitution
          A submachine gun (SMG) is an automatic carbine, designed to fire pistol cartridges.[1] It combines the automatic fire of a machine gun with the cartridge of a pistol. The submachine gun was invented during World War I (1914–1918), but the zenith of its use was World War II (1939–1945) when millions of weapons of this type were manufactured.
          http://www.iwi.net/
          Israel weapon industries (I.W.I) is the former Israel Military Industries (I.M.I) -Small ... and all of your weapon-system needs,whether it is a UZI SMG
          SMG = A submachine gun (SMG)
           That does not turn it into a "sub-machine gun". And a converted semi-auto is illegal as all hell, not to mention dangerous to shoot-- for the shooter.
          I didn't ask if they were legal or safe .
          You said "no one"
          No one here owns "sub-machined guns"
          unless they have a class-III license
          And I think you misspoke , people do own "sub-machined guns" sans proper paperwork . People do take semi autos and turn them into  "sub-machined guns" sans paperwork .
          Clearly you have said something that does not reflect the reality of what is really going on .

          Buying a uzi "parts kit" ?
          http://www.jgsales.com/...

          The reality is that in the USA there are some people who have full auto sub machine guns sans the proper paperwork .

          So far "bump-fire" is legal, I (personally) call it questionable but I'm not an ATF agent or a lawyer for ATF, so I don't know what rationale they have for it.
          I do . It breaks none of the laws re auto fire . The finger has to pull the trigger , one pull = one bang . That's the definition of semi auto . The makers of bump fire stocks have found a way of making a semi auto fire at rates that come close to if not mimic a full auto .
          If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

          Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11

          by indycam on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 10:01:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FrankRose

            How many crimes have been committed with full auto weapons since 1934?

            When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

            by Patrick Costighan on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 12:57:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Re: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FrankRose

            Again, no one owns illegal property.  Its by definition forfeit.  Same here as it is in Australia.

            When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

            by Patrick Costighan on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 01:03:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  No, no, and no again. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FrankRose

            This is why so many anti-gun movements fail. You cannot go to a court of law armed only with what you think is real, or with some marketing hack's notion of what makes things real for sales.

            An Uzi that is legally for sale on the civilian market may appear to be a sub-machine gun, but it will not function like one. It will function like what it is: a large, heavy, awkward pistol, one shot at a time.

            Can it be modified to fire full-auto? Perhaps. But the modification makes the weapon illegal, and yes, about as dangerous to the shooter as to any potential victim. While it could be argued that it is now, in function, an SMG the person has modified a legal weapon into an illegal function, and now own an auto-fire capable weapon without the appropriate licenses (one for auto fire, one for short-barreled rifle).

            You must dispense with the notion that all gun owners do this, or want to do this, or that it is widespread. Very few people are foolish enough to do this because of the safety and legal problems that come with it.

            As for the definitions and functions, I know what they are; and I know what bump-fire does. What I am saying is that if bump-fire is so awful, then petition to have bump-fire banned. You're acting like every gun has bump-fire capability (or will as soon as we can get around to it) and that the only way to stop this scourge is to ban all guns.

            So: because a marketing person appealing to wanna-be "tough guys" sold weapons called "assault rifles" or "sub-machineguns" doesn't mean that they are, functionally, able to perform like those weapons. Those terms are supposed to refer to very specific  classes of weapons used by the military, and civilian gun makers used those terms to apply to civilian "look-alikes" as a marketing gimmick. Needless to say, this has bit them in the ass because it also spread the notion among the general public that these weapons perform in the same manner as the military weapons from which they physically resemble.

            The internet is ruled by cat people. Dog people are busy playing outside.

            by Canis Aureus on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 03:55:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Re: (0+ / 0-)

        Correct.  No one.  There's no such thing as illegal property.  You don't get title to controlled substances, slaves, and all sorts of nasty things.  You may possess such a thing.

        What does bump fire have to do with anything?

        When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

        by Patrick Costighan on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 12:59:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Er... (0+ / 0-)

      Maybe not all of my friends were on the up-and-up. It could be true. :)

  •  I lived in Australia for 18 months in the (3+ / 0-)

    early 80s and have been back several times.

    Where I lived in Canberra (city) no one I knew owned a gun. Guns were something that the farmers and ranchers had to take care of snakes and dingos.

    A friend of mine from there got into graduate school at UCLA. He seriously asked me if he would have to carry a gun while he lived in LA. They really do think that we are insane. Maybe they have a point.

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