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Gun Control In Australia vs the USA

122 posts in this topic

I would love to hear a solid argument from a conservative for why the model of Australia won't work in the USA. I won't hold my breath though, I need at least a bit of air every 12 centuries.

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As an non-conservative Australian, I'd imagine the implementation would take a lot longer in the US than in Australia, due to the sheer number of guns that already exist. Last I looked, there were more guns than people in the US!

 

AFAIK, it was never legal here to own fully automatic assault rifles and machine guns, so most of the (now-)illegal guns that had to be turned or modified in were semi-auto shotguns and rifles. There's a much broader range of weapons currently available in the US, so if copying our laws exactly, a much larger percentage of existing guns would become illegal.

I imagine that with this larger initial volume, and larger percentage of that volume being illegal, combined with the NRA/patriot-type people who would likely create illegal weapons caches, the process would take a lot longer.

 

That said, a decade and a half later, we do still have to carry out occasional gun amnesty drives ourselves, where for a short time period the police will allow people to hand over illegal weapons with no questions asked and no charges for the illegal possession.

e.g. a gun amnesty this year in a single state resulted in 7000 more illegal guns coming out of the woodwork, so even for us it's been a long process.

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As an non-conservative Australian, I'd imagine the implementation would take a lot longer in the US than in Australia, due to the sheer number of guns that already exist. Last I looked, there were more guns than people in the US!

 

AFAIK, it was never legal here to own fully automatic assault rifles and machine guns, so most of the (now-)illegal guns that had to be turned or modified in were semi-auto shotguns and rifles. There's a much broader range of weapons currently available in the US, so if copying our laws exactly, a much larger percentage of existing guns would become illegal.

I imagine that with this larger initial volume, and larger percentage of that volume being illegal, combined with the NRA/patriot-type people who would likely create illegal weapons caches, the process would take a lot longer.

 

That said, a decade and a half later, we do still have to carry out occasional gun amnesty drives ourselves, where for a short time period the police will allow people to hand over illegal weapons with no questions asked and no charges for the illegal possession.

e.g. a gun amnesty this year in a single state resulted in 7000 more illegal guns coming out of the woodwork, so even for us it's been a long process.

That does jive with what I've read/heard but, I'm more concerned with the effects of the legislation. How has it lowered incidences of gun-mediated homicide or other firearms violence? Is it actually true that you haven't had a mass killing by gun since the legislation passed?

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I'm not a conservative American, but I would have to say that Australia's rules (as interpreted by wikipedia) would be really hard to implement here because of the fundamental attitudes of a significant part of the population. Not having "self defense" as a legal reason to own a gun would be totally unacceptable to them, for example, plus would go against recent Supreme Court interpretations of the 2nd Amendment. So you'd have to either change the constitution or get the Supreme court to re-interpret it in widely unpopular way.

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There's the 2nd Amendment in the US as Prinz mentioned. Also, the argument of not only self-defense, but citizens' defense from a tyrannical government. But also with so many variations of semi-automatics and automatics out there, banning all of those and future variations would be a seemingly miraculous feat. Plus there's the issue of background checks (lack of thereof, nature thereof, potential abuses thereof). Also, how do you not only take the guns of citizens but also the guns of criminals and shady individuals?

 

Not only is it a societal hurdle but a legal one as well.

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That does jive with what I've read/heard but, I'm more concerned with the effects of the legislation. How has it lowered incidences of gun-mediated homicide or other firearms violence? Is it actually true that you haven't had a mass killing by gun since the legislation passed?

Yes, there's been zero massacres since the gun restrictions (compared to averaging one a year in the decade before). There's been one attempted massacre (2 deaths) since, which resulted in further background check laws and further weapon restrictions.

 

Both total homicides and homicides using guns have dropped (gun homicides went down by about 60%, with no corresponding increase in other types of homicide).

The number of police who died from shootings was also halved compared to the previous decade, and they've remained at this low.

 

Robberies in general were already on an upwards tend in 96, which continued to increase afterwards, but a decade later in 06 they'd gone back down to the same level.

 

 

Regarding the 2nd amendment, allowing citizens to bear arms in order to defend against tyrants... surely the only way to ensure this is to either disarm the military to the same level as the citizenry, or arm the citizenry to the same level as the military? Surely this was feasible when the document was authored, in the age of muskets and cannons, but how does this work in the age of drones and smart bombs and tanks and javelin missiles?

Edited by Hodgman
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Regarding the 2nd amendment, allowing citizens to bear arms in order to defend against tyrants... surely the only way to ensure this is to either disarm the military to the same level as the citizenry, or arm the citizenry to the same level as the military? Surely this was feasible when the document was authored, in the age of muskets and cannons, but how does this work in the age of drones and smart bombs and tanks and javelin missiles?

 

[spoiler]
 Well the police, SWAT, and National Guard work for the cities and states and therefore the people. And if Iranians, IIRC, can hack a drone, surely we can as well. Plus the gov't does have missiles and such. But if you bomb the citizenry all to hell, then you'd have no one to govern or rule over anyway. So even in a war, I doubt missiles would be used all that freely. But as you pointed out, the gov't does have the advantage when it comes to onhand weaponry and tech. But the citizens would just resort to guerilla warfare and macgyvering as much as possible.
[/spoiler]

 

Though the gov't does have the firepower, that doesn't mean that the people can't put up a fight. The gov't would surely not have an easy time getting the citizenry to just roll over.

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Regarding the 2nd amendment, allowing citizens to bear arms in order to defend against tyrants... surely the only way to ensure this is to either disarm the military to the same level as the citizenry, or arm the citizenry to the same level as the military? Surely this was feasible when the document was authored, in the age of muskets and cannons, but how does this work in the age of drones and smart bombs and tanks and javelin missiles?

 

I don't agree with underlying premise, but I think the counterargument would be that you don't need hi-tech weapons to fight back effectively, as illustrated in Iraq and Afghanistan, but you need some weapons.

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As a conservative, I do believe that Australia's gun control program would probably work, at least to lower gun-related violence and homicide rates, and homicide rates over-all. However, I don't believe in trading freedom for safety. I also don't believe that gun control laws should be applied at the federal level, painting every single person and every single area with the same brush. What is best for, say, Chicago isn't best for northern Wyoming. In the town where I live, we have probably somewhere in the ball park of 85% to 90% gun ownership, but a homicide and violence rate that is nearly non-existent. Accidents do occur, but very seldom due to strong emphasis on hunter safety courses for youth and adults alike. Guns are a part of our culture, nobody is particularly threatened by their mere existence, and folks are stable enough here that it just isn't really a problem. Whereas, enacting laws on the level of Australia just might impose a problem. I've seen calves lost to packs of coyotes (and, recently, wolf kills are becoming quite the nuisance as well, causing real problems among a number of local ranchers). When they run in packs, often a single shot isn't enough to deter them, so being limited to only a single-shell bolt-action hunting rifle would probably correspond with an increase in calf kills. In that regard, gun control legislation directly impacts a rancher's ability to deal with predators. (Especially bitter to swallow is the pill that so many of those predators were re-introduced in recent years, against the wishes and well-founded objections of those same ranchers, out of some kind of "save the wolves, won't you think of the poor wolves" idiocy.)

Still, if it meant saving lives, I personally would be willing to accept some additional restraints. However, another concern is that while Australia has a relatively benevolent government (in the top 10 for least corrupt nations in the world, last I checked) the US is growing ever more abusive and corrupt (not in the top 10). At least, that is the perception among many of my peers. In Australia, so I understand, the gun control movement was largely spearheaded by a guy, who according to one article I read, put his whole political career on the line and alienated a large part of his conservative base in order to enact such control. Those are the actions of a man who probably has real concern and compassion, and real human conviction about what he was doing. You could trust a guy like that, I think (although I don't really know any particulars.) There is no such perception of humanity and compassion in the US by us conservatives toward those who seek gun control here. Every attack we face comes not from a compassionate, concerned right-leaning leader but from an ever-increasingly left-leaning liberal gestalt whose values so completely oppose our own that it's a wonder we can even manage to reside in the same nation. Every proposal is viewed in that light, as what amounts to a hostile attack on our rights meant to further a leftist political agenda, rather than the actions of compassionate and concerned people who actually are "thinking of the children".

When we see Mr. Obama on TV surrounded by children, passionately exhorting us to "please, think of the children; save the children" we don't see a compassionate leader willing to put his political career on the line for something he truly believes in. We see instead a hostile government entity who is willing to use drones against American citizens telling us to "put your guns down, citizens, and submit." We see a guy coldly using those hurting families in Newtown to further his political capital with an increasingly left-leaning urban populace who just don't give two shits for our beliefs in any way, shape or form. There is no trust in us for a guy like that; not one iota. In this matter we see a corrupt political left that fervently supports abortion (and we're in the middle of a pretty nasty case, Kermit Gosnell, to keep us well-reminded of that fact) hypocritically telling us to "please, think of the children." It doesn't instill within us any kind of trust, any kind of feeling that these people are looking out for our well-being in general. It does quite the opposite, in fact.

So, while in general I and probably many of my peers would be supportive of some tighter gun laws, I just can't in good conscience support such efforts coming, as they do, from what I perceive to be such a corrupt and thoroughly self-promoting administration. (Note that I don't solely blame the current administration, either; neither side in this country is particularly clean, nor have they been for a long time.) Perhaps a day will come when we can trust our government again. Perhaps then a few of us might be willing to accept some tighter restrictions. But that day simply is not today, and in the meantime trading away our safety and ability to protect our families just does not seem like a good idea.
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Though the gov't does have the firepower, that doesn't mean that the people can't put up a fight. The gov't would surely not have an easy time getting the citizenry to just roll over.

I think we're forgetting that the government is made up of thousands of people, i always get a good laugh when i hear people talk about how the "government is coming after us", as if the U.S. government is some type of single-person tyrant.

Edited by slicer4ever
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I would love to hear a solid argument from a conservative for why the model of Australia won't work in the USA. I won't hold my breath though, I need at least a bit of air every 12 centuries.

 

Give me liberty or give me death.

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enacting laws on the level of Australia just might impose a problem. I've seen calves lost to packs of coyotes (and, recently, wolf kills are becoming quite the nuisance as well, causing real problems among a number of local ranchers). When they run in packs, often a single shot isn't enough to deter them, so being limited to only a single-shell bolt-action hunting rifle would probably correspond with an increase in calf kills. In that regard, gun control legislation directly impacts a rancher's ability to deal with predators.

As well as having a genuine need, a rancher is a "primary producer", so under our law they're allowed access to a more dangerous class of guns -- semi-auto rifles with up to 10-rounds loaded at once, or semi-auto shotguns with up to 5 rounds loaded at once. Hopefully that should be enough to deal with a pack of wild predators.
n.b. Many farmers here with guns that exceeded these limits were able to modify just their magazines in order to comply.


I would love to hear a solid argument from a conservative for why the model of Australia won't work in the USA. I won't hold my breath though, I need at least a bit of air every 12 centuries.

Give me liberty or give me death.


What about freedom to do crack, or drive whatever kind of vehicle you like, or build pipebombs on your property for fun, or to own an RPG, or drink underage, or choose to be a hermit and not pay tax, or to build your own plane unregulated, or to practice medicine on your friends? Are any of them violations of liberty? Personally, I always find it very strange that the US is so rediculously tough on drug users, but then clings to other things like guns as a matter of liberty, our pours all your tax into the military, but then pouring any into health is again an attack on liberty. In many ways, it seems US citizens have a lot less liberty than Europeans. Edited by Hodgman
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I would love to hear a solid argument from a conservative for why the model of Australia won't work in the USA. I won't hold my breath though, I need at least a bit of air every 12 centuries.

 

Give me liberty or give me death.

 

So the Australians don't have liberty? They don't have freedom? Are they under tyranny and oppression? Hodgman are you ok?

 

Though I frankly don't agree with 95% of what JTippetts said, I do agree that the country in general has an overall distrust of the government (no matter which party is in power). The dysfunction (especially in the last 12 years) is creating layers of "solutions" that are hiding the actual problems. Do I think Australia's gun laws could work here in the US? Yeah. Do I think they should be applied here? No. Why? Because there are so many problems that we actually have to fix before getting to the gun problem? If anything, these problems contribute, if not exacerbate the gun problem. The dysfunction and distrust leads to overreaction of an unheard of scale. We can't pass immigration laws. We can't pass a background check law. We can't pass meaningful financial reform. We can't pass a good healthcare bill (individual mandate, ugh). We can't pass tax reform. We can't secure the border. We can't even agree that guns are a problem in a mass shooting done with guns.

 

God bless the United Continent of Australia. At least, you don't have to deal with half the nonsense the USA does.

Edited by Alpha_ProgDes
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What about freedom to do crack, or drive whatever kind of vehicle you like, or build pipebombs on your property for fun, or to own an RPG, or drink underage, or choose to be a hermit and not pay tax, or to build your own plane unregulated, or to practice medicine on your friends? Are any of them violations of liberty? Personally, I always find it very strange that the US is so rediculously tough on drug users, but then clings to other things like guns as a matter of liberty, our pours all your tax into the military, but then pouring any into health is again an attack on liberty. In many ways, it seems US citizens have a lot less liberty than Europeans.

It's funny, because when i was in highschool, one of my history/economics teacher had us watch a video about knowing our rights, the video was pretty much 3 kids doing drugs on the way to a concert, and a cop pulls them over. and the video goes through all the things a cop can/can't do, and so long as you know what they arn't allowed to do, you'll be fine(such as searching your bags without permission).  It always made me chuckle that the video is basically a long "It's only illegal if you get caught".

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What about freedom to do crack

Crack should be illegal more because it's production isn't regulated and it's producers aren't legally accountable if what you buy is not actually crack.

or build pipebombs on your property for fun, or to own an RPG

Bombs and rockets are ordinance not arms. There is an important difference when it comes to what you have rights to in the US.

or to build your own plane unregulated

There aren't many regulations to building your own experimental aircraft. Most of the restrictions are to do with allowing passengers in said aircraft, which is mostly to do with the fact that passengers are likely not aeronautics engineers and wouldn't know that the plane they are flying in is a deathtrap.

or to practice medicine on your friends?

This again isn't so much about the person practicing. It's about protecting laypeople from being dangerously misled by people in positions of authority (like above).

I think a lot of people would think that your other points are either on similar grounds to guns.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

I think there are major differences both historically and currently between the US and Australia. America was born out of an oppressive government that would not recognize our independence, which we had to gain by going to war against them as a collective group of individuals rather than an assembled army. It's easy to see why we would value a citizenry's ability to defend themselves from a government because that is the very engine of our independence.

In a similar note, Australia's government seems much more representative of the beliefs of the nation as a whole. We're stuck, essentially, with a congress that carries an approval rating of around 30%. Likewise having only 2 parties really doesn't cover the wide array of beliefs in the country. It's hard to trust a party you mostly disagree with because you disagree with them slightly less than the other party; knowing that generally everybody disagrees with most of what both parties believe makes it that much harder.
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What about freedom to do crack, or drive whatever kind of vehicle you like, or build pipebombs on your property for fun, or to own an RPG, or drink underage, or choose to be a hermit and not pay tax, or to build your own plane unregulated, or to practice medicine on your friends? Are any of them violations of liberty?

I don't tell other people what to do with their own bodies - not in any legislative sense anyway. If a person wants to manufacture a weapon then more power to them. People can drive whatever they want provided they're not causing undue hazard - driver's licenses are not a bad idea. Age-related substance use laws exist to protect people who have not yet established the ability to take responsibility for their decisions: I'd be open to discussing changes, but abolition would be harmful. I have no problem with people opting out of a nation. I have no problem with people building planes. If consenting adults want to practice medicine on one another then let them.

There are an abundance of violations of liberty in America and the rate at which violations are being generated is increasing. That's why we need MANY MANY MORE guns.
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I think the thing that people don't get is the equation of "guns" with "liberty".  That's quite an odd concept to anyone outside of the US, for whom it seems perfectly possible (and indeed often desirable) to have liberty without guns.

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I'm not so worried about the feds, but some of the sherrifs and city-lords are tyrant enough to justify arms. If no laws are passed after something like Newtown, even with democrats in power, then I think it is safe to say there there will never be Euro/Aus-style gun-control here. There is simply not enough support for it in the moderate middle.

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I always find it strange how "protecting our families" so often comes up in the US gun debates as pro argument while over here (Switzerland) gun related "family tragedies" are one of the primary arguments in anti-gun discussions/political initiatives.

Edited by japro
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There are an abundance of violations of liberty in America and the rate at which violations are being generated is increasing. That's why we need MANY MANY MORE guns.

 

The guns don't create or maintain the liberty. They allow a new liberty to be built when the old one spoils.

 

Frankly, it's this type of thinking that makes me wish sometimes that voting and military service were mandatory.

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good grief, I didn't realize there were people in this world who actually think Americas will rise up against their government and attack them with guns in their life time.

 

Yeah... that will end well.

 

 I think some people have been playing too much Deus Ex. 

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good grief, I didn't realize there were people in this world who actually think Americas will rise up against their government and attack them with guns in their life time.

You sound like somebody from the early 1700s.
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The biggest issue with passing a law that bans citizens from owning guns (something which I as an American would wholeheartedly support) is that people like Khattharr here believe that liberty is protected and created by guns. This leads us to a very deeply ingrained gun culture. Many people here love their guns. Taking them away is tantamount to tyranny.

 

One question I would like to pose to people is that if liberty is equal to guns, then isn't that liberty already infringed in many ways? I don't believe that people can buy warplanes, tanks, warships, etc. So is the right to bear armaments not already violated? Why are people not allowed to own these weapons? Think closely....it's a bad idea. Same goes for owning guns, it's a bad idea to let the average person own them.

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I'm still having difficulty with the liberty == guns thing.  Surely if you're going to rise up against your government, the presence or absence of gun laws is kinda irrelevant?  You're by definition already an insurrectionist so why should possession of guns previous to that even matter?  You get them through other channels; raiding the local police station, etc.  Being able to carry guns on a daily basis aside from that possibility seems a bit "wild west" to me; this European need a little more than what has been said so far.

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