As the Australian contributor to PBM I feel an obligation to call bullshit on my countrymen. Anytime there’s a debate in the U.S. regarding healthcare, gun control, or other social equality matters, you always hear politicians like Bernie “Take Half Your Shit” Sanders wax lyrically about how Australia introduced reform with great outcomes. Or how our globalised-socialist healthcare system is the cream of the crop. Or how Australia is “the lucky country.”
There may be some truth to that last statement—don’t get me wrong. I love my country. But when it comes to gun control, globalised healthcare, and social equality, we’re full of shit.
Our system sucks, and it sucks big time!
In this series I’m going to write in depth about Australian gun control legislation, our socialised healthcare, as well as our social equality issues. This is part one.
Guns and the bullshit peddled by the left about Australia
Some background: as Jim Jefferies refers to in his now infamous gun-control rant, in 1996 we had the world’s largest (at the time) modern-day massacre, in which 35 innocent men, women, and children, were murdered by a madman with an IQ of less than 70 using an old AR-15 whilst shooting from his right hip (even though he was left-handed). He had a more effective headshot rate than any SAS solider in history. Not bad for a retard… And let’s remember it’s a joke… he’s a comedian. He’s not a political scientist and he hasn’t got any actual statistics. Anyway, point being, we had guns, we gave them back. What’s worse, it was our conservative government that passed this legislation.
Since that day we haven’t had one massacre, and leading up to that day, we had one every year. Sounds pretty compelling, right?
It’s not. What you’re not being told is this: the moment all the guns were handed back the black market for guns became huge. It’s big business and Aussies still can aquire guns (Chicago has the strictest gun laws in the US and is still the most violent gun crime area of America).
Let’s have a look at firearm suicide rates. The argument I’ve heard is that in Australia following the gun buy-back scheme, our suicide rate dropped and therefore if you use this rationale you will see suicide rates drop in the US. This is a critical area to look at as the number used for gun violence is 33,000 deaths per year. But of that figure, 22,000 of them are suicide. So let’s look at Australian data following the gun laws and buy-back scheme:
The year following the gun buy-back scheme there was actually a significant increase in the number of suicides by hanging, strangulation, and suffocation.
Following this, between 1992-2002, suicide by firearm did decrease; however the level of overall suicides increased significantly. On 2015 & 2016 suicide rates were at a 10-year high
The conclusion is that although removing firearms from the community meant that suicide by firearm dropped, the overall numbers increased. Thus the claim that removing weapons from the community leads to a lower suicide rate is totally fallacious.
So, that covers suicide. And although statistically this covers two-thirds of the overall gun deaths in the US, and the possible debate about gun control, it doesn’t cover the hot point: murder. This is where I consistently hear that the gun control laws in Australia directly reduced murder rates.
Just like the arguments made for suicide rates by supporters of gun control, this claim is often heard as, “Homicide rates decreased after the gun control laws were put into place.” And as is the case with the suicide rates, this is not entirely accurate.
If we inspect all the available information, we see that the data tells a different story. From 1980-95, the rate of firearm deaths per 100,000 declined from 4.8 deaths per in 1980 to 2.6 in 1995.
It turns out that homicide rates had been in steady decline in Australia well before gun control laws were put Into place.
The next set of data is during and after gun control laws between 1996-2013. During this time the decrease in homicide rate in Australia is 20% vs. the 15-year decrease from our first set of data which claimed to be 46%.
Here is the decline spanned from the early ’70s to 2010, in which you can clearly see the trend over time.
Following the gun control laws the number of overall homicides increased. Though in 1997 there was a slight decrease, homicide rates increased in 1999, 2000 and 2002.
As I said at the outset, when people claim Australia’s gun control laws decreased murder and suicides, they’re full of shit.