Australian Gun Law Update
Here's a thought to warm some of your hearts...
From: Ed Chenel, A police officer in Australia
Hi Yanks, I thought you all would like to see the real figures
Under. It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia
by a new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be
destroyed by our
own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than
$500 million dollars.
The first year results are now in: Australia-wide, homicides
are up 6.2
percent, Australia-wide, assaults are up 9.6 percent ;
robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent)! In the state of
alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent. (Note
that while the
law-abiding citizens turned them in, the criminals did not! and
still possess their guns!)
While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady
decrease in armed
robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in
the past 12
months, since the criminals now are guaranteed that their prey
There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and
assaults of the
elderly, while the resident is at home.
Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public
decreased, after such monumental effort and expense was
"successfully ridding Australian society of guns." You won't
see this on the
American evening news or hear your governor or members of the
disseminating this information.
The Australian experience speaks for itself. Guns in the hands
citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws
affect only the
Take note Americans, before it's too late!
FORWARD TO EVERYONE ON YOUR EMAIL LIST. [I DID ]
DON'T BE A MEMBER OF THE SILENT MAJORITY.
BE ONE OF THE VOCAL MINORITY WHO WON'T LET THIS HAPPEN IN THE
Don't know if this has been up here before, guess the Aussie experiment isn't working
There is always a grain of truth to be learned from stories like this. Gun registration and confiscation go hand-in-hand.
2 seconds!?!?!? I want a refund!
You should post this in General. Not because it's off topic, but because some of those numbers are outright amazing.
Armed robbery up 44%. Holy shat!
Is this a fact? Can you show were you got this info?
Sorry, I don't have any anti-gun friends.
Anyone with an active DU troll account???? Post it thier.
I don't have any anti-gun friends either. If they are anti-gun, they aren't my friend. I have no use for them.
My kinda guy. Although, I had some anti-gun associates, who are now gun toting friends. Like most folks, I have my agendas- and I choose to be stubborn as all hell.
A rebuttle against Snopes, courtesy of a friend from sigforum.com
Lets take a close look at Snopes. Snopes is known for it's left leaning bias, and distortion of fact to makes it's agenda points on many issues that don't look good for the Dimocrats and liberals.
Let's go over their article reprinted here with my bold responses.
Claim: Statistics demonstrate that crime rates in Australia have increased substantially since the government there instituted a gun buy-back program in 1997.
Status: Multiple — see below.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2001]
From: Ed Chenel, a police officer in Australia.
I thought you all would like to see the real figures from Down Under.
It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by a new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by our own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars.
The first year results are now in: Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent, Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent; Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent!). In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent. (Note that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the criminals did not and criminals still possess their guns!)
While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months, since the criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is unarmed.
There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the elderly. Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort and expense was expended in "successfully ridding Australian society of guns."
You won't see this data on the American evening news or hear your governor or members of the state Assembly disseminating this information.
The Australian experience proves it. Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws affect only the law-abiding citizens.
Take note Americans, before it's too late!
the old adage says that "Figures don't lie, but liars figure," those who seek to influence public opinion often employ a variety of means to slant statistical figures into seemingly supporting their point of view:
Percentages by themselves often tell far from a complete story, particularly when they involve small sample sizes which do not adequately mask normal fluctuations or the potential influence of a number of extraneous factors affecting the phenomenon under study. A statement such as "The number of deaths attributable to cancer increased by 2% between 1973 and 1983" is probably much more significant if the number of cancer deaths increased by twenty thousand among a population of one million than if they increased by two among a population of one hundred. (In the latter case, for example, two people who already had cancer could have moved into an otherwise cancer-free small town, but it's far less likely that immigration would completely account for an increase of twenty thousand cancer cases amidst a city of one million.)
Yea it's true, but ignore it. We (the Australian government) wouldn't use that small of a deviation in numbers to seize their citizens guns (whoops, that's exactly what the Australian government did as the basis of seizing their citizens guns, go figure).
One of Snopes favorite tactics. Use your own judgement, not theirs.
I am not arguing the point for either side, just understand what Snopes is in fact saying.
Context is especially important, and percentages alone don't provide context. A statement such as "The home run total in the American League jumped by an astounding 50% between 1960 and 1961" sounds misleadingly impressive if you don't know that after 1960, the American League expanded by two teams and increased the length of its schedule, thereby adding two hundred more games to the season.
Neither of what happened in Austrailia, but it sounds compelling. Go figure.
Most importantly, percentages don't establish cause-and-effect relationships — at best they highlight correlations which may be due to any number of factors. If (to continue our previous example), the total number of home runs hit by all teams increased by 30% from one year to the next while the number of games remained the same, a great many people might claim that the baseballs used in the latter year had obviously been "juiced" (i.e., manufactured in such a way as to cause them to travel farther when hit). But a number of other unconsidered factors (individually or collectively) might be responsible for the increase, such as an abundance of warm weather, or an expansion in the number of teams which brought more inexperienced and ineffective pitchers into the league.
In the specific case offered here, context is the most important factor. The piece quoted above leads the reader to believe that much of the Australian citizenry owned handguns until their ownership was made illegal and all firearms owned by "law-abiding citizens" were collected by the government through a buy-back program in 1997. This is not so. Australian citizens do not (and never did) have a constitutional right to own firearms — even before the 1997 buyback program, handgun ownership in Australia was restricted to certain groups, such as those needing weapons for occupational reasons, members of approved sporting clubs, hunters, and collectors. Moreover, the 1997 buyback program did not take away all the guns owned by these groups; only some types of firearms (primarily semi-automatic and pump-action weapons) were banned. And even with the ban in effect, those who can demonstrate a legitimate need to possess prohibited categories of firearms can petition for exemptions from the law.
Another strawman to foist upon us.
It is the uncertainty, not the fact of ownership and potential that wards criminals away.
Now there is no uncertainty.
If any of you talk to any Former gun owners in Australia (I do) you know this is a bogus smoke screen. Try to get posession of a firearm in Australia today. Like New York City, unless your rich and famous, it ain't happening.
AS to sporting arms. Some of you may remember that Australia had to change her gun laws to allow the worlds Olympic shooters to enter Australia and compete.
Or you may have read the Australian shooters coming to the IIRC states, to practice their shooting
Given this context, any claims based on statistics (even accurate ones) which posit a cause-and-effect relationship between the gun buyback program and increased crime rates because "criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is unarmed" are automatically suspect, since the average Australian citizen didn't own firearms even before the buyback. But beyond that, most of the statistics offered here are misleading and present only "first year results" where long-term trends need to be considered in order to draw valid cause-and-effect conclusions.
Again, doesn't matter if Chenel is accurit or right. Ignore him. Only the numbers we think are important should be used.
Is this starting to sound familiar?
For example, the first entry states that "Homicides are up 3.2%." This statistic is misleading because it reflects only the absolute number of homicides rather than the homicide rate. (A country with a rapidly-growing population, for example, might experience a higher number of crimes even while its overall crime rate decreased.) An examination of statistics from the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) reveals that the overall homicide rate in Australia has changed little over the past decade and actually dipped slightly after the 1997 gun buy-back program. (The chart found at this link also demonstrates how easily statistics based on small sample sizes can mislead, as when the homicide rate in Tasmania increased nearly eight-fold in one year based on a single incident in which 35 people were killed.)
Right, it is an increase of 3.2%.
Here is the Quote from the AIC web site quoted above.
Please find below a detailed response to each claim made in the email entitled "About Australia".
* Homicides are up 3.2%
* Assaults are up 8.6%
* Armed robberies are up 44%
These figures compare 1996 with 1997 figures and were correct at that time.
(Data source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Recorded Crime 1997, Table 1.1, p 8).
Yup, Snopes sure giving us the honest scoop.
Then we have the claim that "In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent." This is another example of how misleading statistics can be when the underlying numbers are not provided: Victoria, a state with a population of over four-and-a-half million people in 1997, experienced 7 firearm-related homicides in 1996 and 19 firearm-related homicides in 1997 (an increase of 171%, not 300%). An additional twelve homicides amongst a population of 4.5 million is not statistically significant, nor does this single-year statistic adequately reflect long-term trends. Moreover, the opening paragraph mixes two very different types of statistics — number of homicides vs. percentage of homicides committed with firearms. In the latter case, it should be noted that the Australia-wide percentage of homicides committed with firearms is now lower than it was before the gun buy-back program, and lower than it has been at any point during the past ten years. (In the former case, the absolute number of firearm homicides in Australia in 1998-99 was the lowest in the past ten years.)
They are right it isn't up 300%. It is only up 171%.
And to follow their theme of long term changes, 4 years later it is only up 100%
Yup, that lying SOB tried to fool us.
Here is the actual answer to the letter by the AIC sight that Snopes got their data from:
In the state of Victoria homicides with firearms are up 300%
Victoria recorded 7 firearm-related homicides in 1996, and 19 firearm-related homicides in 1997. That number has now fallen.
1996 - 7
1997 - 19 (171.4% increase from 1996 to 1997)
1998 - 17 (10.5% decrease from 1997 to 1998).
1999 - 14 (17.6% decrease from 1998 to 1999).
Good thing Snopes wants us to understand what is really happening!
Other claims offered here, such as the statement that "While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months" and "There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the elderly" are even more difficult to evaluate, because they don't offer any figures or standards of measurement at all. Do they deal with absolute numbers, or percentages? Do they reflect all incidents of crime, or only those committed with firearms? How much of an increase constitutes a "dramatic" increase? According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the proportion of firearms used to commit armed robbery has actually declined over the last several years:
1995 - 27.8%
1996 - 25.3%
1997 - 24.1%
1998 - 17.6%
1999 - 15.2%
2000 - 14.0%
Of course officer Chenel only told us about armed robbery, not armed robbery with a firearm. So these numbers are meaningless in this discussion.
Just more disinformation by Snopes.
The ABS does report that the number of assaults on victims aged 65 and over has increased over the last few years, but hardly in a proportion one would describe as "dramatic":
Number of victims of assault aged 65 and over:
1996 - 1474
1997 - 1662 (12.8% increase from previous year)
1998 - 1663 (0.06% increase from previous year)
1999 - 1793 (7.8% increase from previous year)
Actually I agree with officer Chenel, a 12.8% increase is a dramatic increase. The next year it obviously leveled off, and took off again the next year.
Good thing Snopes isn't trying to mislead us. Other wise I would have thought well that Snopes is lying.
The main point to be learned here is that determining the effect of changes in Australia's gun ownership laws and the government's firearm buy-back program on crime rates requires a complex long-term analysis and can't be discerned from the small, mixed grab bag of short-term statistics offered here. And no matter what the outcome of that analysis, the results aren't necessarily applicable to the USA, where laws regarding gun ownership are (and always have been) much different than those in Australia.
Your wrong and don't know what your talking about.
We are right, and even though we Know we don't know what we are talking about, your wrong.
Don't ever trust Snopes for results that may have a political agenda involved. Read what they are saying in fact, not what they are implying like in this article.
Last updated: 28 January 2004
The URL for this page is
Reading that was pretty involved (you forgot the bold text that you promised). It was worth the read, though.
I have always thought this way of Snopes. On another board I used to frequent, one of the more obtuse members there would often quote Snopes as his argument instead of having his own opinion or other proof.
If they (Snopes) were totally objective, they would have had to document the flaws in the AWB. Without bothering to check, I'm sure that they didn't.
Your original article supports the views of most of us here. Good post.
Welcome to the site.
Nexxus6, Welcome to Arfcom! Glad to see another Mainer on the board! Hopefully another Northern Mainer! Thanks for the great posts!