Saturday, April 29, 2006

Australia's Costly Failure

Via John Lott, another repetition of the truth about gun-control schemes:

The scale of the 1997 gun buyback scheme that followed the 1996 National Agreement on Firearms was unprecedented. About 640,000 guns - 20 per cent of the total stock of firearms - were handed in at a cost of more than $300 million.

If the gun control lobby is correct, then the effect of such a large intervention should show up in Australia's crime statistics.

However, supporters have been unable to show that the buyback scheme altered long-run trends in Australia's crime rates in a way that supports their abolitionist rhetoric. Indeed, the lack of evidence regarding the effectiveness of buyback schemes is proportional to the amount of lobbying by the gun control lobby and the Prime Minister's acquiescence to them.
According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, firearm-related deaths in Australia have been declining for a some time. From 1991 to 2001, both the firearm-related suicide and homicide rates almost halved. The 1997 buyback scheme had no obvious influence on this trend.

If the buyback had the effect that its supporters claim it did, then firearms accidents should also have declined. They did not; in fact, the number of firearms-related accidental deaths reached a record high of 45 in 2000. There has not been any significant effect on violent crime as a whole. Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that neither the attempted murder rate nor the manslaughter rate have changed significantly since 1997, and the number of kidnapping and abductions reached record highs last year.


The Australian experience is consistent with international evidence (or lack thereof). There is no evidence that prohibitions and buybacks reduced violent crime in Britain after they were implemented in 1988 and 1997. Following the most recent British interventions, firearm homicides failed to fall and total homicides actually increased.

Milwaukee's Milk-Carton-Mayor has just concluded a nice trip to NYC; reports indicate that the assembled Poobahs of Politics issued the usual laundry-list of "recommendations" for curbing gun-violence. My bet is that it includes 'buyback' vapidities, cost be damned.

Just put it on the MasterCard, like the trackless/feckless trolley. Eventually you'll force the suburbs to pay for it anyway, right?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Australia? Costly failure? No way! Not Australia!