Australia is typically seen as a rough country, filled with crocodile hunters and deadly animals at every turn. It might be assumed that this down-under country would side with pro-gun groups in the wake of the shooting. Prior to 1996 they might have, but after a mass shooting Australia came down on their gun laws and coordinated the buyback of over 600,000 firearms. In today’s gun market, individuals are prohibited from private sales, each gun must be registered to its owner for a “genuine reason.” This reason does not include self defense. The results were immediate. Over the next 11 years, gun related homicides dropped 59% with no increase in any other homicide related deaths. Suicides fell 65%, robberies fell and there has been no increase in home invasions. The most poignant statistic? Prior to the Australian massacre there had been 11 mass shootings in 10 years, after the laws were enacted there has not been a single mass shooting.
When a similar incident occurred in the UK, a conservative party legislator decided that they must “take this as a warning that we are becoming like America and act before it is too late.” The UK still has gun-related crimes, but the significant drop meant that they considered the decision to enforce stricter gun laws to be a success. Most people believe that America’ culture make us stagnant about guns. From the wild west to gangster squads, guns have been a part of America since America began. Many argue that guns deter gun laws. That may be true if a person knows there’s a gun there-they might not mug you, or break into your home while you’re there. But most home robberies happen during work hours. In 2011 there were approximately 100 home invasion homicides within the country. Not nearly enough for me to warrant gun ownership. In fact, you’re more likely to deter home invasions of any kind with a security system, or dog that barks. And, if you’re the type of person who adheres to gun safety rules, that gun is locked up in a safe, with the ammo separate. Are you getting to the gun in time? If you’re not keeping your gun locked up because you know it wouldn’t help you in time, then you’re not a responsible gun owner and have just proven why there’s a concern.
As for the random homicide on the street? The chances of hitting a moving target is 1 in 100. And that’s fairly decent, meaning you’ve practiced…a lot. So those who wish to carry guns more easily. How often do you practice your sharpshooting? Can you effectively take down a moving target who is also wielding a gun without adding to the body count? Because there’s not rules stating once you have a gun you have to be continuously trained in order to maintain your ability to wield it. In fact, those who are carrying guns, or other weapons are almost 5x more likely to become more aggressive than those without. And more likely to use the gun in an argument than in protection or safety. Those with a gun in the home are 90% more likely to die by a gun than those without. That’s especially troubling for women as they are usually the target of the homicide. Men are more likely to die by suicide with a gun in the home.
Many argue that the gun is just a tool, like any other. The problem is that this red herring is baseless, as every other item used has an actual function. Cars, which causes more deaths than guns are actually a method of transportation. And if you are found to be a poor candidate prior to or during your life of driving, that luxury will be taken away from you. Guns have no other purpose than killing. Whether it is hunting, or otherwise, there is no other purpose. Knives are obviously tools used for a variety of things, and yes, can cause much harm, but you also have a much higher chance of surviving a knife attack than a gun. There’s also studies shown that the simple act of removing the potential(in this case gun) is enough to halt the potential act of violence. Long term studies of suicides have shown that bridges with safety barriers not only stop suicides by jumping, but those people don’t actually search for alternative means. Suicide rates drop for most when the impulse is removed. Remove the guns, not only will crime decrease, but even the crime that may still occur has a higher likelihood of survival.
The recent craze over gun laws might have more to do with the puppetering of a few who performed a coupe of the NRA in the 70’s than a firm belief that it is as is always has been. It is after all, a fight for the 2nd Amendment, which gives the right to bear arms. Prior to the 1970s though, the right to bear arms for protection was held as the right of the state militia, not the individual. After all, the 2nd Amendment states “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Up until 1977, this was found to be the right of militia organizations only, with the thought of it demonstrating a right of private citizens to be scornful. Even Chief Justice Warren Burger, not part of the “liberal” party, believed that this interpretation was a “fraud” theory. And guess what? A well regulated state militia is what we now call our National guard.
We get so caught up in a snowballing version of who is out to get us that we forget to just look at our lives. Homicides occurs most frequently by someone the individual knows, rather than a random stranger. Chances are, that person knows where your gun is too. More weapons won’t prevent crime any more than more germs will prevent sickness.
By: Courtney Kidd, LMSW SJS Staff Writer