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Australia a Model for Successful Gun Control Laws

Original post made by Sam on Dec 19, 2012

Someone started a thread earlier claiming that Australia's gun control laws were a failure. Not so, according to this ABC News article. The article states that in the past 16 years the risk of dying by guns has dropped by more than 50% in Australia as a result of gun control laws which were enacted after a 1996 gun massacre that killed 35 people there. The national rate of gun homicide in Australia is 1/30th that of the U.S.. That's right: 30 Americans die by gun homicide for every Australian that dies by gun homicide. (Web Link)

Comments (53)

Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of Val Vista
on Dec 19, 2012 at 10:01 am

Parent of Two is a registered user.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

The 49ers haven't won the Super Bowl since Australia passed Gun Control, therefore the Gun Control law is keeping the 49ers from winning the Super Bowl.

What happened in CT isn't a gun control issue. It's a mental health issue with a mentally-unbalanced person who was angry that his mom spent more time with schoolchildren than she did with him. Period.

Trying to make a tragedy like this into a political football is beyond contempt.


Posted by Realist, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2012 at 10:23 am

Writing more laws for the 'law abiding' is naive, but feels good for a moment. Adding more laws for 'law breakers' to ignore wastes time and money. If Thou Shalt Not Kill isn't enough, or our many, many state and national shooting, killing, gun, ammo laws that are already IGNORED by law BREAKERS, adding more isn't going to change life in the ghetto, or change smugglers, and most of all, will have zero impact on mental illness.
Being logically consistent we need to remove cars from our roads, under the false assumption that cars kill people. wrong ! People, like drunk drivers kill people. Guns don't kill people. Law breakers and mentally ill kill people. Cars and guns are mere tools in the hands of dangerous people. Where are the Mothers Against Mental Illness? It's a difficult problem. But a bad solution is no solution. Stroking ourselves with more laws to add to the exising laws are meaningless to law breakers or mentally ill.
Sort of like the drug wars growing drug use. More gun laws create a whole new underground, smuggling, and we could use this administration's gun-running program for more smuggling.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 19, 2012 at 10:26 am

"Parent of Two" wrote: "Post hoc ergo propter hoc..."

I'm sorry, "Parent", but I just don't get your application of "Post hoc ergo propter hoc" here. Are you suggesting that Australia's 50% decline in gun deaths was not linked to their enactment of tougher gun control laws?


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 19, 2012 at 10:34 am

Realist wrote: "Writing more laws for the 'law abiding' is naive, but feels good for a moment. Adding more laws for 'law breakers' to ignore wastes time and money..."

??? But I just provided an article that refutes everything that you said about more gun controls being "naive" or being time- or money-wasters. Instead of trying to read and understand the article, you're just parroting your same old tired talking points that we've heard so many times before.


Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of Val Vista
on Dec 19, 2012 at 10:59 am

Parent of Two is a registered user.

Sam, I'm just pointing out that you are drawing a definitive correlation where one is merely implied. Don't be so quick to apply direct causation simply because it corresponds to your own beliefs.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 19, 2012 at 12:17 pm

"Parent of Two" wrote: "Sam, I'm just pointing out that you are drawing a definitive correlation where one is merely implied. Don't be so quick to apply direct causation simply because it corresponds to your own beliefs."

Well, a 50% drop in national gun deaths is pretty big and significant one, isn't it? If you can suggest another possible cause for such a large drop over a relatively short period of 16 years other than the introduction of stricter gun laws, let's hear it. Hopefully, you'll give a fair and balanced look at this case and won't reject the most apparent explanation simply because it doesn't correspond to your own beliefs.


Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Parent of Two,

I believe the article shows evidence of causation as well as correlation. Of course, some of the cause came from a large number of citizens getting rid of their guns.


Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of Val Vista
on Dec 19, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Parent of Two is a registered user.

Even if one assumes some causality in Australia, assuming similar results in the US is baseless and even if such a law passed, it would be significantly harder to enact and enforce. IT'S A DIFFERENT FREAKIN' PLACE! That's even one of the points that the writer makes.

And my own beliefs are that laws shouldn't be passed to prevent things that have already happened. Reactionary politically-based laws are a bad idea in general, whether right-wing or left-wing.

And I repeat, this isn't a political issue (gun control). If this unstable person had driven his car onto the playground and mowed down the kids, would you be seeking to ban cars?


Posted by Realist, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Good point Two. Plug one hole comes out elsewhere. A suicidal, mentally ill person, might instead mow down a playground of children, and choose a grenade for the theatre. The 'tool' is
irrelevant... it's the 'reason', a 'sick mind' carries out the crime. Laws will not deter their action.
We need more, better, and more competent mental health 'counselors'.
Instead the word police just look for 'softer' descriptions, not how to recognize, or help.
A 'person' activates the idle gun or car....both 'turned into' weapons, that would otherwise be silent. I think I'll get hysterical and DEMAND something be done to cars to PREVENT deadly accidents with a LAW LIMITING all cars speed to a safe 50 MPH. Who can tolerate this MOST deadly form of death on our freeways. STOP these deadly cars ! ! ! ! ! now ! ! It's not the fault of the drunk, it's that awful deadly car the drunk drives !!!


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Jeesh, "Parent of Two", the facts presented in the article I presented are staring it you right in the face, but instead of simple accepting them you're twisting and turning every which way to avoid them. And you were presuming to lecture me about not letting pre-conceived beliefs affect my thinking?

As for the silliness of passing laws to prevent things that have already happened, I agree with you. Nothing is going to change what just happened in Connecticut. But something like this will happen again. This isn't the first time innocents have been mowed down with rapid-fire guns with high-capacity magazines in this country, and it won't be the last time either. I guarantee it.

Finally, I think that your last point is a weak one. First, cars are not designed to kill. If a car manufacturer ever comes up with a car specifically designed to kill people, I assure you our government and society will never allow it to operate on public highways. Cars are a practical, everyday necessity for most people, and - with proper controls (e.g., licensing, road tests, traffic laws, etc.) - we as a society accept the risks as reasonable.

Your rapid-fire guns with high-capacity magazines are not like cars. First, unlike cars, your rapid-fire guns with high-capacity magazines were expressly designed for the purpose of killing people. Secondly, they are not a necessity: You can hunt and sport-shoot just as well with a bolt-action rifle. Rapid-fire guns with high-capacity magazines were designed for battlefield use against enemy soldiers, not for sport use or home defense. Finally, note that in contrast to the controls we place on car use, the NRA and rabid gun supporters have constantly battled against nearly every control placed on the acquisition of assault-type guns. In many other countries, a young disturbed man could never walk into a classroom filled with children while holding a semi-automatic assault rifle with a high-capacity magazine. These other countries would deem such weapons as too dangerous for casual public use.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 19, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Realist wrote: "Laws will not deter their action."

STILL parroting the same old line? Again, I presented an article that shows your claim to be totally untrue.

Read "Parent of Two"'s caution where he says "Don't be so quick to apply direct causation simply because it corresponds to your own beliefs."


Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of Val Vista
on Dec 19, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Parent of Two is a registered user.

Sam, the point that you're missing is that BANNING guns does nothing about the millions already in circulation. Nor does it address the likelihood of an increase in the black market for trafficking weapons. Hell, we can't even stop PEOPLE from crossing the border illegally... how the hell are you going to stop itty-bitty guns?

Personally, I don't own a gun, nor do I plan to. I'm also not a big 2nd amendment advocate. I just think that knee-jerk lawmaking is dumb, and this frenzied hand-wringing about ONE mentally-handicapped nutjob shouldn't be the catalyst for new laws.


Posted by Arroyo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2012 at 5:34 pm

I'm moving to Mexico where private citizens are not allowed to own guns. Because, as we all know, there aren't any gun related crimes in Mexico.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 19, 2012 at 6:56 pm

"Parent of Two" wrote: "Sam, the point that you're missing is that BANNING guns does nothing about the millions already in circulation. Nor does it address the likelihood of an increase in the black market for trafficking weapons. Hell, we can't even stop PEOPLE from crossing the border illegally... how the hell are you going to stop itty-bitty guns?"

Have you been paying any attention at all to any of the FACTS that have been presented here? I started this thread with a link to an article describing how gun restrictions in Australia have dropped the rate of gun deaths there by over 50%! Remember? Instead of acknowledging the FACTS presented in the article, you go off on some tangent trying to argue about guns in circulation and black markets. Huh? If your argument about guns in circulation or black markets being insurmountable problems had any validity, then the Australian effort would have failed, wouldn't it? But, no, they reduced their gun deaths by over 50%. FACT. Talk about missing the point.

By saying that gun control is nothing but "knee jerk" lawmaking, the only thing that you're showing is that you probably didn't even read the ABC News article that I linked or, even worse, you read it but erased it from your mind because it didn't "correspond to your own beliefs".


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 19, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Arroyo wrote: "I'm moving to Mexico where private citizens are not allowed to own guns. Because, as we all know, there aren't any gun related crimes in Mexico."

Actually, Arroyo, private citizens in Mexico are allowed to own guns and, in fact, it's written into their Constitution.

I know these facts don't support your beliefs, so feel free to ignore them. It's a lot easier to do that than to change your beliefs. Isn't that right, "Parent of Two"?


Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Sam,

Your arguments sound pretty reasonable to me. Arroyo's statement makes about as much sense as saying "well if you're in favor of paying taxes, tell you what, you can pay my taxes!". No, it makes even less sense.


Posted by liberalism is a disease, a resident of Birdland
on Dec 20, 2012 at 9:29 am

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

Interesting comparison, john. Especially now with all the discussion about further tax increases on the successful, essentially paying taxes on behalf of the 47% who don't.


Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School
on Dec 20, 2012 at 9:40 am

We think it is poor form for a politician or a special interest group to try to push a legislative agenda on the back of any tragedy."
-- NRA, after 2008 Northern Illinois shootings

"Now is not the time to debate politics or discuss policy."
-- NRA, after 2009 Binghampton massacre

"At this time, anything other than prayers for the victims and their families would be inappropriate."
-- NRA, after 2011 shooting spree that wounded Gabrielle Giffords

"There will be an appropriate time down the road to engage in political and policy discussions."
-- NRA, after 2012 Aurora massacre

"NRA will not have any comment."
-- NRA, after 2012 Newtown massacre


Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School
on Dec 20, 2012 at 9:47 am

In 2009, a Major in the US Army went on a shooting rampage at the Fort Hood base in Texas. Before he was stopped, this soldier killed 13 soldiers and wounded 30 more.

All of the soldiers at Fort Hood are trained in combat, and most of them had already done at least one or two tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. They were armed, trained, experienced, and ready--and this man still managed to shoot 43 before they stopped him.

This shows that more guns in the hands of people will NOT deter violence, UNLESS you buy into the fantasy that civilian amateurs with pistols would do a better job taking down a lone gunman than the highly-trained military professionals with combat rifles did at Fort Hood.

I am also tired of the gun nuts telling everybody who doesn't like violence that they MUST buy a bunch of guns and learn to use them. A lot of us don't want to join in this cycle of violence; we don't want to own guns that are only used to kill our fellow human beings. We want to stop the cycle of violence and join the civilized world by stopping, once and for all, this utterly insane proliferation of military-grade killing machines in our society. I'm beyond tired of seeing people say they will "pray" for people but not do anything that would actually prevent those people from being killed or from losing their children to these massacres.

A recent poll shows that 52% of Americans want to restrict the spread of guns in our society. If not now, when? If not us, who? It's time to change things, and that change starts now.


Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School
on Dec 20, 2012 at 9:52 am

The gun nuts are spreading more lies about the laws in Mexico. Here's the facts:

Firearm activity authorized by law
There are generally five ways private citizens may lawfully purchase, register, own and keep firearms in the home:

1. For home defense (seguridad y legítima defensa)
2. For hunting (cacería)
3. For target practice (tiro)
4. For shooting sport competition (competencia)
5. For collection (colección)

For home defense, the government will authorize the sale and registration of one handgun of the types and calibers permitted by law. For hunting, target practice or competition, the government will authorize the sale and registration of up to nine long guns (rifles or shotguns) and one handgun of the types and calibers permitted by law (must belong to a hunting and shooting club for these permits to be issued). For collection, the government may authorize the sale and registration of an unlimited amount of firearms of any type and caliber in accordance to law and regulation.

Procedures to own a firearm

Private citizens wishing to acquire a firearm and ammunition must do the following:

1. Apply for a firearm acquisition permit from the General Directorate of the Federal Firearms Registry and Explosives Control (DGRFAFyCE) in the Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA) either by mail or in person by submitting the following:
(for Mexican citizens, males under 40) Copy of liberated National Military Service card; (for females or males over 40) certified birth certificate. Foreigners must provide documentation establishing legal presence (FM2 card),
2. Proof of honest living by submitting original employment letter stating position, time of employment and salary,
3. Criminal background check showing no convictions, issued by the state's Attorney General where applicant resides (dated no older than six months),
4. Copy of proof of address (any utility bill in name of applicant; if different, head of household must signed a letter authorizing firearms and ammunition in the home)
5. Copy of government-issued photo identification,
6. If weapons are requested for shooting or hunting, must submit copy of hunting or shooting club membership card, indicating day, month and year of the beginning and end of validation,
7. Copy of birth certificate. Name(s) and last names must match all other documents, and
8. Copy of the Unique Key of Population Registry (Clave Única de Registro de Población) Analogous to US social security card and number.
9. Upon being granted the firearm acquisition permit, fill out form and make payment of MX$95.00 (USD$7.60) for Permit to Purchase firearm, Accessories and/or Ammunition,
Fill out form and make payment of MX$39.OO (USD$3.12) for Registration of Firearm (one form and payment per gun)
10. Contact the Directorate of Commercialization of Arms and Munitions (DCAM) by internet or in person to make payment of firearm.
11. With all receipts and documentation, along with photo ID, appear in person at DCAM to pick up firearm. A temporary transportation permit (valid for 24 to 72hrs)is granted which permits the owner to transport the firearm from DCAM to his or home.

With those procedures and regulations in place, now you can understand why the Mexican drug cartels run guns in from the USA. It's the only place they can easily get caches of ammunition and MILITARY GRADE WEAPONS.


Posted by Ta Smythe, a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Dec 20, 2012 at 10:50 am

It used to be a long, long time ago that if someone was mentally ill they could be committed to an insane asylum or mental hospital to keep them away from hurting other people. At that time there also were no "assault" rifles available - no one needs a weapon like that for their "own" protection.


Posted by D W, a resident of Livermore
on Dec 20, 2012 at 10:55 am

Before adding more laws, enforce the current ones.

And the most important thing - love your child before you love a gun.
Love humanity before loving a gun. And love your faith before loving a gun. It's more simple than you think. Loving life before loving guns. Everybody should try that. That way, the Second Amendment won't be so frequently abused by both sides.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Dec 20, 2012 at 11:28 am

is Steve the paranoid cookie that i suspect he is?

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...just asking

i rest my case...


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Dec 20, 2012 at 11:29 am

in other words, is Steve the mental?


Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School
on Dec 20, 2012 at 12:20 pm

How about we just adopt the same regulations as the "primitive" Mexicans for starters? Or those "barbaric" Australians?

We have come to a fork in the road in this country: down one road, more gun violence and more dead kids. Down another road, less gun violence and lives saved.

Life involves choices. If we choose our guns over our kids, do me a favor and save your phony prayers and crocodile tears the next time there's a massacre. We will all be responsible for those deaths if we don't do *everything* in our power to prevent it.

People who want to live in a country that's ruled by the Law of the Gun can move to Afghanistan and leave the USA for us peace-loving folks.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Dec 20, 2012 at 12:37 pm

I'll set everyone off... a couple of quotes from around the world...
"Nowhere else in the world are so many weapons in circulation as in the US. In no other country are citizens as well armed. But this martial approach to liberty is also a relic of the past and one that is out of step with the times. Every 20 minutes, a US citizen is murdered by a firearm. American schoolchildren are killed by bullets 10 times more ofter than in comparable industrialized countries. Such numbers speak for themselves."
"America's sheer difficulty in conducting any kind of rational collective conversation about gun control...In any other country a shooting spress of the sort that tool place in Newtown would set off a serious public debate. That's what happened in Dunblane in the UK, after Port Arthur in Australia, and after Ander's Breiviks killings in Norway. Nothing like this is now possible in the polarized gun culture of America, where law and politics have been unable to respond to such events for at least 20 years."

Comments:
--"Driving kills people so ban cars". Getting a license to drive also requires mandatory training and testing. Purchasing a gun does not.
--Banning gun ownership for people who have family members with mental illness (for the safety of society at large)
--"Open carry so they could step in and stop the massacre". Why not, provided those who open-carry undergo intensive and on-going training -a bit like the police or the military (who miss their targets most of the time)- and can demonstrate the ability to fire one round, hit the correct target in a crowded, darkened room with absolute pandimonium going on around you.
--Leadership of the NRA -hijacked by the fringe element -every gun law is a bad gun law, "cold-dead hands"...you get the picture
--2nd amendment... when written, every weapon was a single shot pistol or musket. There was one multi-shot weapon in use (British Navy). Times have changed, even according to Justice Scalia, who thinks the current Constition is "dead, dead, dead" -maybe time for an updated approach instead of hiding behind a 200+ year old document that is, at least in this area, sorely out-of-date..."applicable in the 1780's when land and liberty were based on violent contests. Bearing arms then might have made sense -doing so today is swallowing the nonsense posed as liberty by commercial lobbies".
Have at it folks...


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Dec 20, 2012 at 1:21 pm

You forgot to mention the toxic veggies from across the world. No more salads...if you want to eat a toxic salad from a local eatery, be my guest.

i rest my case...


Posted by Eric, a resident of Val Vista
on Dec 20, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Did the ABC article say anything about the drastic increase in home invasion robberies that started right after these laws were put into affect no of course not. Open your eyes guns don't kill people,people kill people and that is both the truth and a fact that gun control nuts refuse to agree with. when are we going to ban cars,trains,airplanes,baseball bats ect these all are used to kill people every day but these aren't banned


Posted by Steve, a resident of Parkside
on Dec 20, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Thank you Eric. That's the most rational thing I've read since all the gun control nuts started posting here. Let's ban air too! How can people be so dumb? Think people!


Posted by Mike, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Dec 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Banning guns would certainly reduce the number of casualties; but we also need to address the root causes of violence, the reasons people reach for whatever they reach for when they lose it.

Mike


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Dec 20, 2012 at 6:05 pm

I agree. Aussie looses it!

Web Link

duh...


Posted by Realist, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Joe, your history lesson is selective and incomplete, twisting the meaning of the second amendment. selective and incomplete on judge scalia as well.
The intent of the second amendment was & is to ALWAYS provide protection to the governed...FROM any future government gone bad....for ALL time. It's our guarantee to keep our PEOPLE free. That 'idea for the future' 'speaks TO the future'.
Originally, we had muskets, BOTH the governED and the government equally matched. That EQUAL PROTECTION is for both to progress through the decades and centuries equally...equal tools of the day. It is a miracle that has stood and will stand for all time. There will be war in the streets to keep it forever. Sorry, the only updating needed is for you to access a YouTube called "Innocents Betrayed".... Dozens of times, in our lifetimes, that protection 'from' governments has saved lives.
Some very smart German voters learned that the hard way.
US is now a melting pot of world opinions...many not educated to the core concept OF America. That second amendment providing equal protection FROM a government gone bad is all we have.
Sorry you don't value what we have.
Any newcomers who don't understand the protection in their guts, does have the right of freedom to move on as well.


Posted by Surprised . . . Not!, a resident of Livermore
on Dec 20, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Who is surprised that when guns are eliminated gun violence decreases? That's kind of like saying that "global warming" eliminates ice. Duh! But the pertinent question is not whether gun control laws will decrease gun violence; the question is what more restrictive gun legislation does to constitutionally guaranteed liberties.

Who is surprised that members of our government want tougher gun laws? Who is surprised that members of our government believe the constitution is outdated? Of course they'd like to see it go away! It is the very document which guarantees the American people the right to defend themselves against THAT VERY SAME GOVERNMENT, and which impedes the government's devolution into tyranny. It is the one document that defines who we are as a nation and stymies the overreaching power-lust of those who already have too much. And it has worked very well for a very long time, and will continue to as long as the US Supreme Court Justices do what they were appointed to do instead of "legislating from the bench."

To adopt Australia's pattern is to say that Australia is a preferable place to live and raise one's family. For all who feel that way, I invite you to do that very thing. Oh, wait, you can't because of their immigration laws. Maybe we should model those too! But that's another debate entirely, isn't it? Australians are not Americans. Regardless of what Australians are willing to endure from their government, Americans have a cherished heritage of FREEDOM, which was bought with the contemporary military technology of the day.

Some will object that firearms in the hands of the citizenry are no match for a technologically superior, government-backed military force. On the surface that seems true; but in fact it is both a short-sighted and ignorant position. It is short-sighted in that it ignores the defeatism which surrenders one's liberties in favor of personal safety. As I recall, the signers of the Declaration of Independence pledged to one another, "our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor." Seems that they believed freedom was worth dying for. That same spirit has ensured our freedoms for the last 236 years and now is no time to abandon it.

The attitude described above is ignorant in that it ignores the plain facts of history. The ancient Greeks held off a far superior Persian force at Thermopoly and Salamis because they believed in their cause and they were defending their freedom. In more contemporary times, the Afghanis handed the Russians their tickets home when Russia underestimated their tenacity. I'm old enough to remember first-hand the inability of these United States to defeat a far inferior fighting force in Vietnam. And let's go back to the issue at hand and remember the American Revolution where those motivated to defend their freedoms, underdogs, sent the British packing.

The government may not support it, the NRA may not support it, but a historically contextual reading of the Constitution guarantees the PEOPLE, not the government, the "right" to possess and to "bear" such arms as are consistent with the current state of military technology - the very arms those elected to represent US are now seeking to deny us. The Constitution guarantees this freedom for the specific purpose of keeping the government in check -- preventing them from running roughshod over the people simply because they can. Our founders had seen that kind of despotism first-hand and wrote these freedoms into the very fabric of our government to ensure that it NEVER happened again. But "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." So it is not surprising that we who love freedom must continually beat back the short-sighted foolishness of those who would rather live as subjects of a tyrant.


Posted by Sensible Citizen, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Why is it that no one has commented on the example of Switzerland, where the citizens have military weapons, are provided ammunition and are expected to practice annually, yet gun crime is not a serious problem? It demonstrates that the fact that the presence of many guns in the hands of the citizens doesn't fuel gun crime. It actually does the opposite. Who wants to take on someone who is equipped with military weapons and knows how to use them?

No one has mentioned that after the Australian's experiment began crimes against the elderly increased sharply. (With a gun even grandma can take down the hulk.)


Posted by Bart, a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Dec 20, 2012 at 9:37 pm

- Australia's population is 1/15th the size of the USA (22M vs 313M), so no surprise they have a much lower number of gun homicides per year! Any number is still too high, but our rate is twice theirs (per capita), not 30x.
-The Ft. Hood shootings occurred in a medical building where nobody was armed (except the shooter), until armed MPs arrived--so it was not the case that armed, trained soldiers could not defend themselves against a shooter.
- After several shooting tragedies, the UK enacted some the the toughest gun laws in the world. After the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings, ABC's John Stossel noted that gun crimes in Britain had doubled since their gun ban was enacted in 1997.
- Just saying it's a complex problem, we need to have our facts straight in the discussion. I think firearms need to be controlled and regulated just like any potentially lethal technology (cars, explosives, etc., etc.), and we should have that discussion, including to consider letting more sane, trained, law-abiding citizens carry legal firearms to protect themselves. It is too simplistic to think that simply more restrictions on certain types of guns will stop the insanity.
- Recall that the worst school mass-murder in US history happened in 1927, and no guns were involved.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 20, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Bart wrote: "Australia's population is 1/15th the size of the USA (22M vs 313M), so no surprise they have a much lower number of gun homicides per year! Any number is still too high, but our rate is twice theirs (per capita), not 30x."

Well, that would indeed be giving a very distorted view of the situation if the article and the people quoted in the article just used a direction comparison of the total gun homicides in each country without taking into account the population differences, wouldn't it? In fact, that would be an act of supreme stupidity! But, uh oh, Bart. Bad news. The article makes it pretty clear that the 1/30 ratio statistic takes population differences into account (e.g., "..your chances of being shot are 1/30th the chance in the USA.." or "The national rate of gun homicide is one-thirtieth that of the United States.").

I don't have much regard for John Stossel and wouldn't believe anything that comes out of his mouth without double-checking it. Therefore, I double-checked! Here's what I found: The total firearm-related death rate in the UK is about 0.25 per 100,000. The total firearm death rate in the US is 10.2 per 100,000. (Wikipedia link: Web Link). So that puts the US firearm-related death rate at OVER 40 TIMES that of the UK. Now in my quick search I wasn't able to find a graph of how the firearm-related death rate changed around 1997, but I think that it is clear that (1) the UK has a much, much smaller problem than we do and (2) by neglecting to mention the fact that the UK has a 40 times lower firearm-related death rate than the US, John Stossel was sweeping under the rug some very pertinent statistics, most probably because it didn't support his case. Did I mention that I don't have much regard for John Stossel?


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 20, 2012 at 10:54 pm

"Sensible Citizen" wrote: "Why is it that no one has commented on the example of Switzerland, where the citizens have military weapons, are provided ammunition and are expected to practice annually, yet gun crime is not a serious problem? It demonstrates that the fact that the presence of many guns in the hands of the citizens doesn't fuel gun crime. It actually does the opposite. Who wants to take on someone who is equipped with military weapons and knows how to use them?"

It seems that you have some utopian image of Switzerland but didn't bother to check the facts. OK, let me bring you back to reality. Here again is a list of countries by firearm-related death rate: (Wikipedia: Web Link).

Switzerland has a total firearm death rate of 3.5 (per 100,000 people). Now it is true that that is less than the US firearm death rate of 10.2, but if you scan through the data you'll see that Switzerland is not quite the utopia you imagine. Among the European countries, only Finland has a higher firearm death rate - and Finland appears to be only higher because it has more gun suicides not more gun homicides.

So why do you say "gun crime is not a serious problem" in Switzerland? Did you bother to check the facts? Did you know that the gun-related homicide rate in Switzerland is higher than that in France? Did you know that the gun-related homicide rate in Finland is higher than that in the UK by OVER A FACTOR OF 10 ? (0.52 per 100,000 versus 0.04 per 100,000. Hey, I wonder if John Stossel bothered to mention that in his report?).

The gun-related homicide rate in Switzerland (0.52) is also higher than that in Italy (0.36), Spain (0.15), Sweden (0.19), Denmark (0.22), Norway (0.04), Germany (0.06), Poland (0.02), Hungary (0.13), Ireland (0.36), Portugal (0.48 - ooh, too bad. close though!), Belgium (0.29), and Austria (0.18).

So let's see... You were making some point that the example of Switzerland shows that "the presence of many guns in the hands of the citizens doesn't fuel gun crime. It actually does the opposite."? Is that what you were saying?


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 20, 2012 at 10:59 pm

"Did you know that the gun-related homicide rate in Finland is higher than that in the UK by OVER A FACTOR OF 10 ?"

P.S.: Correction: That should read "...gun-related homicide rate in SWITZERLAND is higher than...."


Posted by Surprised . . . Not!, a resident of Livermore
on Dec 20, 2012 at 11:56 pm

Interesting logic we have here.

If we get rid of guns, then gun related death rates will be lower. Seems kind of obvious.

If we get rid of cars, car related deaths will be lower.

If we get rid of football players, football player related deaths will be lower.

If we get rid of fast food restaurants, fast food related deaths will be lower.

Really? Come on, really? This is like defining a term with the same term. "What does 'run' mean?" "It means to run." True, but not helpful.

In those areas where guns were outlawed or even just more heavily regulated, what has happened to the OVERALL crime rate? And not just violent crimes either because a well armed society eliminates a lot of non-violent crime that would otherwise be perpetrated upon the defenseless. Stop talking about how much it reduces firearm violence to eliminate firearms; that's self-evident. Instead of hiding behind these sham statistics, let's start looking at what it does to the SECURITY of the citizens of those areas who are being touted as the gun-violence Utopias.

All the "pro" arguments thus far have sacrificed liberty and security for the imagined benefit of "less gun violence." But to get to the root of the matter, what we need in our society is MORE SECURITY. That's what we're all after here, is the ability to live our lives unmolested and without fear. Of course gun violence will be diminished if there are no guns, but more restrictive gun laws won't keep guns out of the hands of those who have already demonstrated contempt for laws, they will only rob the law-abiding of the most effective means of ensuring their own security against those same people. It makes no sense to pursue greater security by making the people less secure.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 21, 2012 at 7:20 am

"Surprised" wrote: "Interesting logic we have here. If we get rid of guns, then gun related death rates will be lower. Seems kind of obvious."

One would think so but, no, it appears that all of the "pro-gun" posters here with the exception of you take the position that gun control INCREASES gun-related deaths because then "only criminals will have guns".


Posted by Bob, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 21, 2012 at 7:58 am

It seems that this thread is primarily just an argument between two people. Well, here's how I feel about it.

The current uproar is the natural result of an untenable reality. People have been killed. A reason has not been given. Children have died. The 'Why' will never be known. As human beings, this is an emotional reality that is rejected by the mind. For we Must know Why. And we must have Someone (or something) to Blame. But more importantly we must have someone to Punish. This is a natural human mental necessity for a situation like this.

In past events, we have captured the person or persons responsible. We have subjected them to our questioning. We have sent in our experts. We have demanded to be told the 'Why' of the incident. And then, upon receiving our answers (satisfied with the answers or not) we proceeded with the punishment process (trial, lock-up, maybe the death penalty).

In some cases we extract punishment at the time. The authorities kill the person or persons. But this action, even though it is the ultimate result we secretly desire, is not satisfactory. We feel cheated if they are killed on site. We feel cheated because we don't get to ask the "Why" question. And this is most important to us, more so perhaps than anything else.

In the current situation, the person killed themselves. This could not be more unsettling to us. It makes the whole situation more traumatic than it already is. We didn't get to capture. We didn't get to question. We didn't get to ask the question "Why". And we didn't even get to extract the Punishment. We are outraged at this situation because we want these things. We need these things. This is what brings closure to an unthinkable situation that has suddenly sprung up among us.

So how does one bring national closure to this event. We can't ask our questions. We can't extract our punishment. Or can we? The only thing left that we can direct our outrage against is the gun. And that is what we are doing now. The gun was bad. The gun killed. The gun was captured. We asked our questions of 'Why' the gun. Now, the gun must be punished.

And so the healing process of Punishment begins.

However I think this punishment will be ineffective. I am not a gun control extremist. Nor am I a gun advocate extremist.

It is clear to me, when setting my emotions aside, that the responsibility for this terrible action was, a human being. Not an inanimate object, but a deranged human being. The weapon this mentally disturbed person used in this tragedy, while not being dismissed, is not the primary concern. The primary concern is the deteriorating and misfiring mental state of others like this person. The primary concern is how do we address these people in society in a fair but firm way to protect ourselves and the things we value?

I don't believe that the current steps being taken to ban guns, while emotionally satisfying to fulfill our need to Punish, will actually achieve the desired result of prevention. This time a gun. If guns are banned then a car crashing onto the playground. If not a car then a Bomb. If not a bomb then a Machete hacking people apart. It will just go on and on as ban after ban is proposed to address each 'New' problem. But that approach is self defeating and simply punishes society as a whole without providing a true benefit. The real issue of mental illness will not be addressed.

A question for us all: Have we become so overly "Politically Correct" that we just can't deal directly with mental illness? Are we really that embarrassed about this? Are we so afraid of hurting their 'Feelings' that we instead will simply look the other way and direct the discussion towards something else, while leaving ourselves at risk? I know this is difficult to face, but we must.

Saying it another way. If a Fox got into the hen house and with sharp teeth killed the Chickens, what should the discussion be about? Is it keeping the Fox out of the hen house, or banning sharp teeth?

OK look, lets change the subject for the moment. Lets talks about banning guns instead. Now there's something we can sink our teeth into.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 21, 2012 at 9:18 am

Bob wrote: "I don't believe that the current steps being taken to ban guns, while emotionally satisfying to fulfill our need to Punish, will actually achieve the desired result of prevention. This time a gun. If guns are banned then a car crashing onto the playground. If not a car then a Bomb...."

(*SIGH*,rolls eyes...)

Read the article linked at the top of the page about Australia's gun control efforts, Bob. While I give an article with actual FACTS, you and the other "pro-gun" people here counter with not facts, but just with your own random, non-factual fantasy musings and speculations.

Show me some hard facts. With increased gun control in Australia, is there now an epidemic of criminals crashing their cars into childrens' playgrounds or running around and setting off bombs everywhere in Australia? No? How inconvenient for your argument.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 21, 2012 at 9:53 am

Well, it has been very interesting seeing all of the many responses from the anti-gun control side to the article I linked on the success of the Australian gun control program. Unfortunately, based on the responses it appears that many here didn't even read the article. Here's a summary of the counter-points, all of which I refuted (or ignored because I felt the point was so weak it wasn't worth my time):

- "Post hoc ergo propter hoc"
-Australia is a "different freakin' place!"
- Criminals will "instead mow down a playground of children" with a car.
- It won't work here because "banning guns does nothing about the millions already in circulation"
- It won't work here because it will cause an "increase in the black market for trafficking weapons"
- It doesn't make sense because private citizens in Mexico "not allowed to own guns" and Mexico has high gun crime.
- It won't work because it will cause more home invasion robberies.
- It won't work because "Australians are not Americans" and Americans need "contemporary military technology".
- It doesn't make sense because everyone in Switzerland has military weapons and look how low their gun crime is!
- The statistics in the article are wrong because they didn't scale the numbers according to the population differences between Australia and the US.
- But John Stossel told me that gun crimes increased in the UK!
- If we ban guns then criminals will start crashing their cars into playgrounds and running around setting off bombs - just like those crazy Australians!


Posted by Bob, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2012 at 8:37 am

Well Sam, sorry to say this, actually sorry to see this, but you are nothing but a zealot. In this case a myopic gun fearing zealot, and that's all. And that's unfortunate.

It's unfortunate that you are so locked into your emotionally charged single-minded desire to ban guns that you seem unable to actually reason beyond this. Unable to recognize than many times it takes a multi-prong approach to bring about a desired result.

You sir, have your head stuck in the Australian sand. And if you think this is the 'Silver Bullet' to fix the problem, then perhaps that is the best place for you to be.

Intelligent people will come together and hopefully develop complete solutions to address this problem.

All while you continue to shout to yourself, Guns! Their Bad! Let's kill them all… I mean Ban, Ban them all!

Next time at least make an attempt to comprehend the entire point being made, instead of selectively distorting a sentence or two that you then point to and say, 'See!' According to the article, the Australians also recognized that they needed multiple solutions put into place. But you seemed to have missed that as your emotions raged and you jumped on the gun bandwagon. Missed it because, well, perhaps it's just best to refer back to paragraph three and end this conversation.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 22, 2012 at 10:20 am

Bob wrote: "Well Sam, sorry to say this, actually sorry to see this, but you are nothing but a zealot. In this case a myopic gun fearing zealot, and that's all. And that's unfortunate."

No, Bob, I think that I've held up my end of the debate very well using reason, logic, and factual evidence and that anyone visiting this thread can see that for themselves. As a scientist, I'm readily capable of quickly changing my mind if presented with new facts which show that I'm wrong. Unfortunately, none of you on the anti-gun control side were able to present any good, convincing facts.

BTW, I never said that I thought that gun control was a "silver bullet" solution. That's your interpretation of my position because you didn't bother to carefully read my posts and understand my position. I think that a multi-facted comprehensive approach is needed and gun control is one important element of that.


Posted by CCW, a resident of another community
on Dec 24, 2012 at 3:08 am

I must say it is quite interesting reading all this and seeing closed mindedness of "open minded" people
Bob, I believe that you sir have presented an open minded opinion very well, taking into account that the situation is not so cut-and-dry. There are multiple angles to this situation and covering what seems to be the "obvious" one may do no good
One person mentioned this in a roundabout way, but theres something legislation activists seem to be missing...
To the normal person, it seems logical to say "well, there's a law against this, so now i cant do it." But have we gforgotten that 1. Bringing a firearm onto a school is illegal (that law did nothing) 2. murder is illegal (that law did nothing) 3. Discharging a firearm within city limits is illegal (that law did nothing)
enacting more legislation will only keep the sound minded person from committing these types of haenous (sp?) crimes. But than again, a person of sound mind usually doesnt want to kill a bunch of kids.

Sam, please get yourself off of the ABC article. you keep referring to this article, when obviously this has become a debate of logic, and not one of legitemacy of a news article (because the press is always 100% accurate. FACT! and no, i didnt read the article. but i got the synopsis reading these posts.

I guess what im ultimately getting at here, is that banning guns only takes away from the law abiding citizen, one that already wants to lead a peaceful life. however, if someone tries to rob me of my safety, property, or well being, i will happily blast them with the 12 gauge. and if a gang banger knows that ill match bullet for bullet (illegally purchased gun to legal gun) i bet you that he'll skip my house and go straight to yours
while you call the police, ill sit and watch and laugh and laugh. robber makes off with all your goods, and maybe, maybe the police will show up in time to catch him a few blocks away..
though these anicdotes try to prove my points, i know they will do little for sam. because they are not based in COLD HARD FACT. (im on my phone and copying and pasting links would take forever and a day..)


Posted by Civil Minded, a resident of Birdland
on Dec 24, 2012 at 9:48 am

It's no wonder we have violence given the tone of our conversations - on the news, in the papers and on anonymous posts. Perhaps if we all strive for civility we can have a more civil society. That's my pledge as your neighbor - to respect your views and engage in a civil conversation about important issues. As for Australia, sadly 77% of gun deaths were self inflicted from 1991 to 2001, the period of the gun violence decline. There are data which indicate a decline in their extremely high suicide rate, but those data are disputed. It may well be that the decrease in Australian gun deaths are largely individuals who chose to end their lives another way. I support our Second Amendment rights, but also believe that only if we unite in a civil dialogue we can solve our common problems. Those solutions may well involve reforming our laws, but must also include each of us doing our part in making our community and nation a more civil place.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 24, 2012 at 3:15 pm

CCW wrote: "though these anicdotes try to prove my points, i know they will do little for sam. because they are not based in COLD HARD FACT."

Wow, it's like you can read my mind!

:-)


Posted by Steve, a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Dec 24, 2012 at 4:35 pm

I'm moving to the safety of the Alps. That's all I'm sayin'.


Posted by William Tell, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 25, 2012 at 9:41 pm

The most authoratative history of Nazi takeover of guns is Caza Blanca where the SS Storming Troopers took all the guns away from people in African salons.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Dec 26, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Thousands upon thousands upon thousands of aboriginal people in Australia were killed by GUNS.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jan 9, 2013 at 11:31 am

Have you packed your bags yet stevie...the sooner the better!


Posted by Will Waters, a resident of another community
on Aug 3, 2013 at 9:35 pm

I ran across this thread, all very good points. And in a perfect
world, gun control would work. If you will take notice, most of
the horrific news involving gun violence, the truth about the
incidents are oft times, quickly brushed under the rug, the
"Official Press Releases," take centre stage. Only, what is
reported, is what is publicly known. Propaganda has been
around for ever, even nazi-germany told their people they,
But that didn't make it the truth. Just because you love your
Children, your faith, your friends all more than a gun, doesn't
Mean an invading force, whether criminal, police or military,
will love your child more than their guns. Practice Love, Faith
and Brotherly compassion, but don't deceive yourselves, there
Are very bad people out there, and when they know you
cannot protect yourself and your families, they will take
advantage of the situation. It is possible, and that makes it
Probable.


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