It's funny the kinds of bullshit you hear from people when they are trying to justify their ideology.

I got into a Facebook discussion today with Rob McNealy, my guest on a recent podcast about gun control in the USA. Rob posted comparing gun laws in Mexico to America, suggesting that tighter gun laws in Mexico haven't made it safer. I pointed out that Mexico's GDP is about one fifth that of the United States and he should really compare the USA to a country with similar economics – like Australia.

Rob replied “You are trying to deny the fact that gun control don't stop murder from happening. You are a typical anti-liberty liberal that wants to create MORE murder victims.”

I explained that in the years after the Port Arthur massacre, the risk of dying by gunshot in Australia fell by more than 50% — and stayed there, quoting an article from CNN.

He then replied with this post, claiming that “the percent of murders committed with a firearm (in Australia) was the highest it had ever been in 2006″. His source even claimed this data was from “Australian Bureau of Criminology”.

Oh really? I googled “Australian Bureau of Criminology” and I came up blank. There is an “Australian INSTITUTE of Criminology” but Rob's source doesn't reference any particular report or website, so I don't know where they got their data from. In fact, it is likely they pulled it out of their asses.

This information about the high rate of 2006 gun murders is totally at odds with data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which shows that in 2006, gun homicides in Australia were at an all time LOW.

Here is a graph from UTS. See that huge drop after 1996? That's when Johnny Howard introduced the National Firearm Agreement and the buy-back scheme that aimed to eliminate semi-automatic firearms in Australia. It appears that our gun homicide rate fell by 50% immediately and has continued to drop.

gun homicides australia

Tell me again how “gun control don't stop murder from happening”?

This second graph is from the ABS and shows the falling rates of guns homicides as a percentage of all homicides. Again – a big drop off after 1996. Although this chart stops at 2003, the ABS site for 2006 confirms that the percentage of homicides from firearms in 2006 was an all-time low.


homicides australia as percentage

Unfortunately, Rob's source was the “National Center For Policy Analysis” which, according to SourceWatch, is funded by conservative billionaires like the Koch brothers. You can tell people are desperate when they resort to making up bullshit to support their arguments. Of course, most of their readers are not likely to do their own research, much like Fox News viewers, and will just regurgitate the NCPA's claims.

The real question is whether or not the NFA had much of an impact on overall homicides or if they were already dropping due to other factors. What we *do* know for certain is that there hasn't been another mass shooting in Australia since 1996. However homicides have only demonstrated a slight decrease since then. The rise in sexual assault is thought to be an increase in reporting of sexual assault, not an actual increase in incidents.

By the way, here is a chart of America's gun homicides since 1998:

gun homicides USA

So, the next time you hear someone tell you that gun control didn't work in Australia, you can just send them to this post and facepalm.