AP Photo/Matt York, File
For a while now, a number of anti-gun activists have been calling for Australian-style gun control in the United States. They want us to ban entire categories of guns and make it virtually impossible for law-abiding citizens to get firearms, all to supposedly curb violence.
Gun rights proponents counter with the fact that those who commit violence are generally not getting their guns legally anyway. This is backed up by a Department of Justice report.
But the question is, how effective is Australia’s gun control? Apparently, not very.
A recent mass shooting in Darwin, Australia found a convicted criminal in possession of a pump-action shotgun. It seems that finding a gun in Australia isn’t all that difficult.
How did the accused Darwin gunman, parolee Ben Hoffmann, get his hands on a shotgun and allegedly kill four people?
Likely with relative ease — according to the public health professor behind the world’s largest catalogue of evidence on gun violence, firearm law and gun control.
The 12-gauge pump action shotgun was seized at the time of Hoffman’s arrest, and police later confirmed its serial number matched a weapon stolen in 1997.
That scenario — a long-armed illicit firearm being used in violent crime — fits the profile of gun violence in Australia, according to Associate Professor Philip Alpers from the University of Sydney’s GunPolicy.org.
Of course, they waste no time in blaming the previously law-abiding citizens who refused to give up their guns. You see, despite the killer having a gun that was reported stolen in 1997, the real problem is that not everyone bent over and took the new gun control law like a champ.
“The problem is that we still have what’s called the ‘grey market’, which was created by so-called law-abiding firearm owners when a law came in that they couldn’t abide, and they decided to hide their guns or just not to declare them back in 1996-1997,” Mr Alpers said.
“So we now have a grey market of more than 200,000 firearms of mainly long guns (shotguns and rifles) which are illegal and not necessarily being kept deliberately for crime, but just sitting in people’s sheds and houses and so on, waiting to be stolen like this one in the NT.”
Frankly, such a state would be even more pronounced if such a law would be passed in the United States, but I also can’t help but note once again that the Darwin killer was using a gun reported as stolen. In 1997. That would suggest that it was stolen while still legal for the original owner; thus claims of “grey market” guns having any relevancy are BS. Otherwise, why report it at all?
On every level, Australia doesn’t show what people like Alpers would like you to believe.
For one, there’s a lot of non-compliance with the 20-year-old law in a country with even less of a history of giving the government a middle finger salute. The rate would be much, much higher here in the U.S.
Another point is that if there’s traffic in illicit guns, clearly the gun control laws are failing. I don’t care how you cut it. They’re not working as advertised.
And yet, people want this in the United States.
Folks, the U.S. has more violence than Australia not because of a lack of gun control, but from a number of other contributing factors. When you look at violence rates for other weapons, we’re still higher than most other western nations, this despite a lack of control on all of those other weapons in those other countries.
We’re a violent nation, for better or worse, and until that gets addressed, we’re not likely to see any change. Enact Australian-style gun control and watch more of the same continue to happen.
Just like in Australia.