Australia and Guns

Liberals, when asked to point to a country with successful gun control laws, they often point to Australia. Australia passed very strict gun laws after a massacre in the mid-1990s, and liberals believe we should take the same action as they did. But did Australia’s laws work?

Probably not. A study by Wang-Sheng Lee and Sandy Sauridi, one of the best studies on Australia’s gun laws, concluded that Australia’s”[National Firearms Agreement] did not have any large effects on reducing firearm homicide or suicide rates.”

Another study, using New Zealand as a control variable found Australia’s mass-shooting rate mirrored NZ’s mass shooting rate after Australia’s gun control laws were enacted. However, NZ passed no such laws. Therefore, other factors have reduced Australia’s mass-shooting rate, not stricter gun laws.

Liberals may also turn to domestic research that has found a correlation between higher gun magazine sales (magazine as in paper magazine, not gun magazine) and violent crime. But the research is flawed. The number of guns increases after crime increases, not before, because gun owners buy firearms to defend themselves from a perceived increase in crime. Subsequent research found no link between gun sales and homicide for this reason.

The newest research, using even better methodology (the past studies used one gun magazine as a proxy for firearm ownership–either Handgun magazine or Guns & Ammo–the newer research uses 3 magazines), finds that more firearm sales decrease gun crime.

So, no, Australia does not serve as an example of gun control working. Domestically, the evidence suggests gun control will have little effect on crime as well (and may have an adverse impact).