Surely, these laws have reduced violence, right? Not quite. During the 10 years of the Federal Assault Weapon Ban (1994-2004), homicide was reduced by ~30%, with gun-related homicide being reduced by ~34%, but in 2004, homicide was only ~3% lower than it was in 1984 (“FBI”). In general, the dramatically increased crime experienced in the late 80s to early 90s is attributed to the crack cocaine epidemic. During this time, murder rates in low-income areas, the primary location of production and consumption, more than doubled, due to the effects of the drug as well as the flow of illegal money through the community (Butterfield). As the nation adjusted to this issue, the crime returned to the levels present before the epidemic. Interestingly, despite the severe increase in homicide, and violent gun crime during that period, the percentage of violent gun crime that resulted in a death was still trending downward, down 25% from 1987-1992 (Koper).
In fact, it would be considered unreasonable to think that homicide, or crime in general, would decrease a significant amount under the AW ban, as less than 2% of firearm crimes prior to the ban even involved weapons covered in the ban. However, the LCM ban, which was part of the Federal AW Ban, may have had a slightly larger impact, as roughly 20% of gun crimes prior to the ban involved LCMs (Koper). The hope being that reduced ability to fire a large number of shots would reduce the number of victims and lethality of violent gun crime, turned out to also be false.
With the average number of shots fired in a violent gun crime being less than 4, and less than 3% of gun crime involving more than 10 rounds fired (unknown if using LCM or multiple smaller magazines) both pr...
... middle of paper ...
..., establishing a permit process for individuals to own other types of firearms, and established that ‘self defense’ would never be accepted as a good cause for firearm ownership. In the mandatory buyback that followed, the government spent USD $230 million to confiscate 643,000 firearms, a mere fourth of the total firearms in Australia (Krieg). The number of homicide victims remained steady through the ban and has reduced slightly since 2004, a good 8 years after the ban (“Homicide”). This follows an overall downward homicide trend since long before the ban. Firearm homicide rates have continued downward from a high in 1984 at a steady pace, and firearm suicides have continued downward since the same time, despite an overall rise in suicide from the late 1970s to the late 90s (Wright).
So, what did Australia buy with that $230 million, if not the lives of its people?
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