Australians, Guns and the right to Bear Arms

My Australian blogging friend Lynne had this to offer on Facebook when I asked folks if they have ever fired a gun ...
It was never much of a gun culture to start with. Sure there are gun clubs, and farmers have rifles for killing sick animals or things like rabbits (which are not native, for some unimaginable reason some early settlers thought it was good idea to bring them in, and they've been a nuisance ever since) but most of us city-dwellers (over 80% of the Australian population) have never touched a gun in our lives. After the Port Arthur shooting the government instituted a massive buy back, and people voluntarily handed their guns in. You are only allowed a gun licence (and can't buy one without it) if you fit certain tightly defined criteria -- e.g. farmer, member of a gun club etc (and gun club members have to leave their guns locked up at the club). We don't feel vulnerable -- most criminals don't have guns either, because there were never that many guns around to begin with.
To put it in some sort of cultural perspective, we don't have a right to bear arms written into our constitution (because no one has ever thought we needed it) and we have never had a war fought on Australian soil. And since the gun buy-back, there have been no more mass shootings,and that was more than 25 years ago. Most of us are completely mystified by American gun laws, but I'm sure it comes down to historical differences -- most Australians feel no need to privately defend themselves.
It does seem to me that our history here in America has greatly influenced our thinking about guns. Some of my friends tell me that they feel a need to protect themselves from criminals - some even feel a need to have a gun to safeguard against a government takeover. My thinking is that I wish we were more like Australia - on this issue anyways.


  1. Somewhere between 30,000 to 40,000 Americans are shot and killed every year--in America. That's about 100 people a day. Every day. Nearly four an hour. Every hour. Including many children. Yup, what we need is more guns.

  2. My daughter now lives in Australia -- and each time we have one of the mass shootings here,...which has been OFTEN recently ,....she says that Australians ask her,...well certainly, NOW your country will do something to change the gun laws, won't they ?? She says it's hard to explain the mentality about having guns that is so prevalent in the U.S.,...because it doesn't feel logical to her either.

  3. Bob - hope you figured I would chime in here on this issue. First, I don't believe or buy the statistics that Ed G. quoted. I believe he believes the, put the left leaning media is not going to print accurate numbers.Anti-gun interests won't publish accurate but exagerated figures. Second, the quote statistics are give the wrong impression. There may be .50 deaths in Canada by a gun, but there are homicides by other means. Getting rid of guns will not stop murder. Look at both Chicago and DC - you can't own a gun in Illinois or DC, they have the most gun laws on the books and yet they have the most killings.

  4. Gregg: Every gun used in a DC or Chicago murder was initially purchased legally by someone somewhere in America. Or do you think the gun manufacturers are selling directly to criminals?

    I can tell that you are not a numbers guy. So here's just a small sampling of the people who died by gunfire on Thursday of this week: Demarcus L. Robinson, Christian Lamar Griggs, Victor Rasheem Russell, Marrico McGuire, Kennis Grace, Demarcus L. Robinson, Lorenzo Juan Vasqez, Lisa Roach, and Tanya Alvarado.

    Of course, gun violence takes no holiday in America. It was Christmas night when Sincere Smith 2, found his father’s loaded gun on the living room table of their Conway, S.C., mobile home. It took just a second for Smith’s tiny hands to find the trigger and pull. A single bullet ripped into his upper right chest and out his back.

    Every town in our country knows what it's like. A 10-year-old in Memphis, Tenn., Alfreddie Gipson, was accidentally shot to death by gun purchased by an older brother, who had gotten the weapon after being bullied at school. A Davidson, N.C., husbnd murdered his wife, then shot himself. Their 3-year-old daughter was found watching TV in another room.

    And just a few miles from my house, Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, Rachel Davino, Olivia Engel , Josephine Gay, Ana M. Marquez-Greene, Dylan Hockley, Dawn Hochsprung, Madeleine F. Hsu, Catherine V. Hubbard , Chase Kowalski, Jesse Lewis, James Mattioli, Grace McDonnell, Anne Marie Murphy, Emilie Parker, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Avielle Richman, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, Victoria Soto, Benjamin Wheeler, and Allison N. Wyatt were shot and killed on the same day in a matter of seconds.

    But please don't get the wrong impression.

  5. Ed G. I am sorry for any who dies, particularly by a gun. No death can be taken lightly. However, guns are not the issue. Murder, mayhem or homicide will take place because of the nature of man. I don't where you live but I find it difficult to imagine that many people died with a few seconds and miles of your home. How many died by drunk drivers? Shall we take away autos from law abiding citizens? Taking away guns isn't the answer as DC and Chicago proves. Putting to death murders and punishing the criminal with real penalties. The answer is punish the criminal not the law abiding. How many law abiding gun owners like me did not kill anyone today?

  6. Not going to enter into the debate but I thought I would provide one slight critique: if you are going to use numbers check the authenticity: the rate of homicide for the US is actually slightly higher per 100,000 and the data for the other countries is vastly under exaggerated as well. Take a look here. True the US does have a higher rate than those other countries but... it is somewhat misleading to represent the data as you show it.

  7. I so enjoyed the diversity of views expressed both here and on Facebook. Seems like I always come away a tad more knowledgeable when you all chime in!


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