I am sure that by now we have all heard of the horrific news coming from Las Vegas. 58 killed and more than 500 people injured in yet another mass shooting. I’ll take this opportunity to send my thoughts and prayers to all that have been affected by this evil deed as it to saddens my heart. But at the same time I would like to raise my own concerns about Gun laws in the United States by using Australia, my home country, as an example.
On April 28th 1996, in the southern state of Tasmania, Australia too experienced a horrific massacre at Port Arthur, in which 35 people were killed and 28 injured. Within weeks of the event, our then Prime Minister John Howard, had begun the process of buying back and confiscating a million firearms and at the same time tightened regulations to purchase new ones. Although this action was welcomed with support by many Australians, there was also fierce opposition to the new rulings, as I’m sure there would be if the same were to happen in America. However, the results have been astonishing and are a terrific reflection on this country.
Since April 28 1996, do you know how many mass shootings have occurred in Australia? Zero. That’s right zero. Undeniable proof of regulation that worked. If you’re not convinced here is more. In 1996, Australia had 311 murders, 98 of which were by guns. In recent years, where it has to be noted that the population of Australia has grown from 18 million to 24 million, we average 240 murders, 35 of which are by guns. By 2014 alone, the chance of being killed by a gun dropped to 0.15 per 100,000 people, from 0.54 per 100,000 people in 1996. That is a 72% reduction in the chance of being killed by a gun.
These statistics are undeniable proof of the power of gun regulation. Not only has it significantly reduced gun crime, but at the same time it has changed completely the gun culture of our country. Where there was once stiff opposition, there is now overwhelming support and almost a pride in our gun regulation and gun culture.
America however is a different story. Americans own 48% of all civilian guns worldwide. That is nearly half of the civilian guns in the entire world. On top of that there is an average of 89 guns per 100 people in America. Yemen is a distant second place with 55 guns per 100 people, a whopping difference. The United States make up less than 5% of the world’s population but has 31% of global mass shootings. That is, there is a mass shooting (which can be defined as four or more people) 9 out of 10 days on average in the United States. It isn’t very hard to discern what the problem is.
Donald Trump is even quoted saying “Fact – the tighter the gun laws, the more violence. The criminals will always have guns”. Very interesting logic Donald. Let’s apply the same logic to let’s say, drugs. If we apply the same logic, we can say, people will always be able to get their hands on cocaine, but does that mean they shouldn’t have drug laws? How come America has set a tough precedent on drug criminals and regulate such activity heavily. People die from drugs, and America try to stop it. People die from guns, and America gives out more guns. Our current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has even gone as far to say that the United States gun laws have reminded us of why our gun laws must stay intact.
I am in no way trying to belittle the United States, as I have travelled there and have loved spending time in that country, and have met many great people. And I am by no means trying to put Australia on a pedestal as we too have many problems. I am just trying to highlight what is a systemic and violent gun culture.
When will America learn that Guns are the problem and not the solution??