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February 16, 2018

Deconstructing the Australian Gun Confiscation Debate

Most prevalent in social media forums are calls echoing the Leftist solution: Enact the Australian gun confiscation model.

“The ultimate authority … resides in the people alone. … [T]he advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation … forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any…” —James Madison (1788)

In the wake of the mass murder by a sociopath in Las Vegas, comes tragic news of another mass murder on a school campus of a Parkland, Florida high school by another sociopathic assailant using a firearm, it is clear that the abject failure of federal, state and local agencies which had full knowledge of the risk posed by this individual failed to intervene.

But it is the response from Donald Trump versus that from Barack Obama which demonstrates the great divide between Republicans and Democrats on the causation for such violent acts, most notably the cultural entropy and social devolution across our nation, the direct result of failed government policies.

Despite all the Democrat rhetoric about “common sense” gun control legislation, when Obama took office in 2009, Democrats had full legislative control of the 111th Congress. In the Senate there were 57 Democrats and two Independents who caucused with Democrats. In the House there were 257 Democrats and 178 Republicans.

Democrats could have enacted every gun control measure they wanted between 2009 and 2011, much as they could have enacted their immigration policies, but didn’t.

Perhaps their understanding of “common sense” is not so common.

Regarding the most recent tragedy, predictably Democrats and their MSM propagandists have re-warmed their latest batch of lies about the murder of children in order to peddle their political agenda.

The BIG lie this week, in order to bolster the Left’s calls for “gun control,” is that there have already been “18 school shootings” this year. Even The Washington Post has called foul on that claim, noting it’s “a horrifying statistic. And it is wrong.” Indeed, it is wrong, but most of the Demo/MSM colluders don’t allow facts to impede their political agendas.

However, this is an indisputable fact. There are three things the Leftmedia’s saturation coverage always communicates to future mass murder assailants: 1. We will make sure you are famous by devoting all our air time, 24/7, to you! 2. As targets go, a school is best because that will get you the most attention, and nobody will shoot back! 3. Use an AR-15 – they are the most popular gun for the job and we can call it an “assault weapon”!

There are many media myths about gun control being propagated by the Left this week, and by extension, all their lemmings who regurgitate those “facts.”

Most prevalent myths in social media forums are calls echoing the MSM’s solution: Until the Left can achieve the outright repeal of the Second Amendment, enact the Australian gun confiscation model. By way of addressing this “solution,” allow me to repost here a debate with my friend Neville, who is a deeply entrenched liberal from the UK now living in the US, and who has taken it upon himself to reform our nation. Here is an abridged summary of that debate…

Neville:

The time is now to talk about Gun Control! The maiming and death of these children is so pointless, unnecessary and PREVENTABLE. Get rid of the guns. No mass shootings in Australia for over 20 years and counting after a government gun ban.

MA:

The tragic murders in Florida were, indeed, senseless — as are the emotive “solutions” that, predictably, follow such tragic events. I share your grief for these victims and their families, but not your prescription to resolve the culture of violence.

As for your solution … as I am sure you are aware, the culture in Australia has not been conducive to violence in decades. In fact, at one time the culture in America was not conducive to violence either. Not long ago, there were plenty of guns on high school campuses, but no mass shootings.

Yes, Neville, there have not been mass murders in Australia since the confiscation by way of “forced buyback” of all semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, among other types of firearms. But there were few before then.

In fact, there are few murders in Australia, period. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 1996, before enactment of the gun ban, Australia had had 311 murders, 98 by assailants with guns (including the 35 people killed in one mass shooting that prompted the confiscation). In the latest year of record, there were 227 people murdered, 32 by assailants using guns. (Update: as of 2019, there have now been two mass murders since the gun ban.)

But, after Australian confiscation, what was the impact on deaths associated with firearms?

The results are not as clear as Leftist and Leftmedia advocates for confiscation would have you believe – in fact they are significantly exaggerated. In the years after those firearms were confiscated, homicide deaths had already been declining for a decade, as was crime overall. So the appropriate question would be, did the gun confiscation accelerate that decline. The answer is…no.

Further more, private ownership of non-banned guns increased after the ban, almost doubling, but as in the United States, crime continued to decline.

In fact, crime in the U.S. has actually declined more than in Australia over the last two decades. Concurrently, gun ownership in America has increased significantly while homicides by assailants with guns have also declined. Almost one-third of Americans are gun owners, and two-thirds of gun owners possess more than one firearm.

Apparently, more guns, less crime.

The population of Australia is only 7% that of the United States, but when adjusting for population size, the total number of murders in Australia is still only 20% of the US annual total, of which about 70% were assailant using firearms.

So what accounts for the difference in murder rates?

Australia is not plagued with urban poverty plantations created by five decades of failed Democrat social policies, and the resulting epidemic of violent crime. For the record, the top urban crime centers have the most restrictive firearm regulations in the nation. Using Demo-logic, shouldn’t these “gun-free zones” be the safest places in America?

As for the “gun problem,” if you don’t have a violent criminal record, or have ties to drugs or gangs (and Neville, I think you are clear on both counts), the probability of your being murdered in the U.S. falls in line with the probability of your being murdered in your beloved native UK homeland — where most types of guns have been banned for years.

To that point, according to research regarding murders in the nation’s second deadliest city, Baltimore, MD, a Democrat stronghold, “The average homicide victim in Baltimore in 2017 had 11 previous arrests on his record. About 73 percent had drug arrests, and nearly 50 percent had been arrested for a violent crime. About 30 percent were on parole or probation at the time they were killed, and more than 6 percent were on parole or probation for a gun crime.”

Similarly, “The average homicide suspect, meanwhile, had 9 previous arrests on his record. About 70 percent had drug arrests, and nearly half had been arrested for a violent crime. Nearly 36 percent were on parole or probation, and 6 percent were on parole or probation for a gun crime.”

And if it is a “gun problem” not a culture problem, then Switzerland should be a slaughterhouse. There are more assault weapons per capita in Switzerland than any other western nation, and yet the Swiss have one of the lowest crime rates in the west.

Notably, however, American children are at much greater risk of being killed by a drunk driver than an assailant with a gun. Thus, while I know you favor the finer labels of liquid libation and use it responsibly, by your logic, the government should confiscate it because there are far more deaths associated with alcohol use than firearms — in fact, in many cases assailants using a firearm are alcohol impaired…

As for your sentiments about guns, I would be pleased to provide you with some “Gun-Free Household” stickers so you can broadcast the fact that your home is the best neighborhood option for uncontested intrusion!

Oh, and to put tragic deaths into perspective, there were 6x the number of drug overdose deaths last year, than there were deaths by assailants with a gun, yet I have not seen a single post from you about that…

PS: Your Redcoats tried to seize guns in Concord in April of 1775, and look how the British empire contracted in the years that followed!

Neville:

The preventable death of just ONE child is too high a price to pay for a law, and an ideology, that is long past its sell by date in the modern world. When the right to bear arms was enacted in the 18th century even a well trained soldier could not fire his musket more than twice in a minute. A modern assault rifle can fire 600 times in one minute, which is the equivalent of being fired at by a rank of 300 redcoats. That sort of fire-power has no place in civil society.

I think the best solution, until the Second Amendment is repealed, would be to amend it so that the arms mentioned are limited to those from when the amendment was written. Then anyone who wanted could have a musket or a flintlock, nothing more.“

The checks and balances that stop the awful atrocities of the 20th century from ever happening again are the normal ingredients of civilization, primarily the rule of law and civil rights.

MA:

We are too far apart on what ensures "preventable deaths” for reconciliation in this forum, but suffice it to say, the issue is much more complex than your solution. Understand however, that my views on this matter are not shaped by sentimental affiliations, but on having defended the lives of others at risk of my own. Thus, I am quite sure you place no greater value on the lives of innocents than do I.

Using your “logic,” the First Amendment’s freedom of speech affirmation would apply to the town crier, and freedom of the press would apply to tabloid sheets printed by hand one at a time. And I might add, this debate would have to take place by letters written with a quill pen and delivered on horseback. Brilliant, Neville.

As for what you call “the normal ingredients of civilization,” these are not the norm at all, not now or throughout history. The fruits of the “great experiment,” of which you are now a beneficiary, have been earned and sustained at great cost.

On the subject of “preventable deaths,” what is your position on killing babies before birth?

As for your aspersions about “ideology,” there is one side of the ideological spectrum that is accountable for the slaughter of millions of innocents in the last century — but in every case only after that ideology had disarmed its citizens. And that is the side you are on. You must be a liberal if you are so insecure in your worldview as to believe that history never repeats itself. Recall the words of George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Or Aldous Huxley: “That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.”

It is for this reason that there is no “sell by” expiration date on the Liberty enumerated in our Bill of Rights, most notably, the Second Amendment, which, in the words of the esteemed jurist Joseph Story, is “the palladium of the Liberties of the Republic.”

I know that Liberty is a difficult concept for you to grasp, having been inculcated for your lifetime with a statist worldview. Suffice it to say that I do not differentiate between fascist statism or communist statism. They are two sides of the same coin and the irrevocable terminus of statism in either case is tyranny.

Too many young Democrat idealists, led astray by their parent(s), are embracing statism (“Feel the Burn”), and can’t even distinguish between the communist manifesto and the Democrat platform. But fortunately, some of them mature. Unfortunately, there are a lot of Leftist ideologues who don’t.

Finally, I find that your “solutions,” as with those of other likeminded suburban liberals, have an arrogant and undeniable classist undertone that reflects your disdain for common folks.

Tucker Carlson aptly summarized it as follows: “This vital conversation [about culture] has been drowned out and made impossible by mindless screeching about gun control, led by blustery charlatans in the media … and in Congress, whose only real agenda is moral preening. They aren’t trying to solve the problem. The calls you’re hearing today for gun control have nothing to do with protecting Americans from violence. What you’re witnessing is a kind of class war. The left hates rural America, gun-owning America, the America that elected Donald Trump. They call it ‘gun control.’ It’s not. It’s people control. For the left, voters who can’t be controlled can’t be trusted.”

Or as Obama put it in his infamous description about those who Hillary Clinton called “deplorables,” those who are “bitter and cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.”

When debating the Second Amendment, there are three points that are often neglected. First, possession of firearms is a deterrent against countless millions of crimes, as made clear in studies of convicted felons, who tell researchers that they choose victims who are least likely to be able to defend themselves. Second, there are more than a million crimes thwarted every year by those who defend themselves with a firearm.

And finally, the Second Amendment is, first and foremost, about protection of our Constitution and the Liberty it enshrines. As I have oft noted, handguns are for personal and home defense. But semi-automatic rifles, mislabeled by Democrats and their Leftmedia propagandists as “assault rifles,” are for protection of those who would infringe on the “right of the people to keep and bear arms.” If you find that notion unsettling, then you need to learn more about the history the constant assault of statist tyranny on Liberty.

And for the record, despite claims to the contrary, banning the sale of those guns has had dubious results in terms of reducing the rare but sensational use of such firearms by mass murderers.

“The ultimate authority … resides in the people alone. [T]he advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation … forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any…” –James Madison (1788)

BOTTOM LINE: The First Civil Right is To Keep and Bear Arms. It is the “the palladium of the liberties of the republic,” as it is the ultimate assurance of all other rights.

FOOTNOTE: Regarding so-called “gun violence” and “mass shootings”: For the record, murders of multiple people, particularly mass murders, are very rare in our nation of 330 million people. There were approximately 25,000 homicides in the U.S. in the latest year of record, which you can view state by state, and fortunately there are indications that homicides may be declining after the surge in violence unleashed by Joe Biden and his Democrat agitators in 2020.

The Demos ubiquitously and falsely label the generational murderous contagion they have seeded, “gun violence,” and focus exclusively on the infrequent high-profile “mass shootings,” which account for only a tiny fraction of all homicides. More than 99% of murders in the U.S. are not the result of mass attacks. (Notably, guns don’t commit violence, thugs and sociopaths commit violence.) The oft-cited Gun Violence Archive defines a “mass shooting” as any incident that involves a “minimum of four victims shot, either injured or killed.” The vast majority of those violent attacks are the result of drug and gang violence committed on Democrat-controlled urban centers.

In a country and culture that ignores the rising generation of sociopathic murderers – thugs in violent urban centers who are saturated with cultural violence to the point of glorifying it, it is fortunate that the incidence of mass murder is not ten times higher. Arguably, the only thing keeping that number from being higher is that 125 million Americans are legal and responsible gun owners.

Democrats don’t focus on the vast majority of murders, particularly the epidemic of black-on-black murders on their degraded urban poverty plantations because they want to avoid at all cost, the “inconvenient truth” about race and violence, which is the direct result of failed Democrat social programs. Those murders aren’t useful for the gun control narrative they invoke to evoke emotional reaction from mostly wealthy white suburban women, whom form the Demos’ largest voter constituency.

As for actual mass murders, that is detailed in the FBI’s data on “active shooter incidents” – which it defines as “one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area” – in 2022 the FBI reported 50 incidents resulting in 313 casualties (100 killed and 213 wounded). That number was up significantly from 2020, when the FBI reported 40 incidents resulting in 164 casualties (38 killed and 126 wounded). A more relevant record of “mass shooting” data is maintained by the Associated Press and Northeastern University, which uses the Department of Justice definition of mass public shooting: “A multiple homicide incident in which four or more victims are murdered with firearms.” These numbers fluctuate significantly year over year, and range between 20 and 40 incidents.

FOOTNOTE 2: Regarding why Democrats only focus on less than 1% of murders nationwide – they are intentionally using these rare high-profile tragedies to foment fear – most notably their oft-repeated but erroneous claim that “gun violence is the leading cause of death for children.” If by “children” they mean gang and drug associated murders of those primarily between the ages of 16 and 21, then yes. Democrats are experts at fomenting fear and division.

The fear and angst Demos are intentionally propagating is taking a toll on Americans’ mental health. Psychological researcher Dr. Riana Elyse Anderson observes: “Watching it time and time again on your phone or on the headlines can really impact you in ways that I don’t think we knew before to be as impactful. It’s so ‘in our face’ all the time and we have access to so much footage, so many pictures, so many videos, so many accounts that we’re ingesting it in ways that’s really unhealthy for us.” The result for many mothers is an irrational fear that their children will be shot. That is precisely the fear that Democrats want to perpetuate, especially among their female constituents, in order to advance their gun control agenda.

FOOTNOTE 3: Regarding those so-called “assault weapons,” for much the same reason Democrats focus only on the rare high-profile attacks to generate fear and angst, some of those attacks involve semi-automatic rifles versus pistols, thus the calls to ban them. However, rifles and shotguns of combined are used in less than 3% of all homicides, but Democrats never let facts get in the way of their political agenda.

FOOTNOTE 4: Regarding firearms and violent crime, researcher John Lott reports, “Over 92% of violent crimes in America do not involve firearms.” Again, the only thing keeping that number from being much higher is that 125 million Americans are legal and responsible gun owners.

FOOTNOTE 5: Regarding firearms and suicide, 54% of all deaths involving firearms are suicide, most also involving drugs or alcohol abuse, but the big numbers in “gun violence” reports often do not distinguish between murder and suicide. It would seem that the Demos’ support for assisted suicide is in conflict with their support for gun control.

FOOTNOTE 6: Regarding alcohol v firearm deaths, Demos should ban alcohol because alcohol abuse is far more deadly than firearm abuse. More than 140,000 people died from alcohol abuse last year – that’s SEVEN times the number homicides associate with fire arms. Drunk drivers are responsible for 28 deaths per day. And notably, it is estimated that alcohol is also a key factor in at least 30% of homicides involving a firearm. (Include illegal drug use and that number jumps to about 60%.)

If Democrats are serious about homicides, they should outlaw alcohol. Problem is, the vast majority of alcohol users possess and use it legally and responsibly. Likewise, the vast majority of firearm owners possess and use them legally and responsibly. Enacting a prohibition on firearms is tantamount to enacting a prohibition on alcohol. In both cases, only law-abiding users obey the laws, while lawless users don’t.

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