Remember when Hillary Clinton and President Obama said that Australia served as a good model for gun control. The land down under already had low homicide rates. It wasn’t the landscape depicted in the post-apocalyptic classic Mad Max, where biker gangs exploited society’s decline by taking over the highways; pillaging, murdering, and raping their way through a desolate wasteland. Yet, ironically, given that Australia’s gun control policy included gun buybacks, bans, and confiscation, not only have biker gangs exploited the dangerous black market created by this policy, which includes access to automatic weapons, but compliance with the buyback program was horrifically low (via Reason):
In Australia, part of the supply of banned firearms comes from defiance of the original prohibition. The Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia estimates compliance with the “buyback” at 19 percent.
Other researchers agree. In a white paper on the results of gun control efforts around the world, Franz Csaszar, a professor of criminology at the University of Vienna, Austria, gives examples of large-scale non-compliance with the ban. He points out, “In Australia it is estimated that only about 20% of all banned self-loading rifles have been given up to the authorities.”
But that defiance was mostly on the part of peaceful civilians who just didn’t want to bend their knees to politicians, and it was 20 years ago. What about the bad actors supposedly targeted for disarmament by the government?
Just days ago, Australia’s Peter Dutton, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, and Michael Keenan, Minister for Justice, held a joint press conference to announce “We don’t tolerate gun smuggling in Australia and we know Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs are engaged in it. We have been keen to send the strongest possible message from Canberra that we’re not going to tolerate people smuggling in guns or smuggling in gun parts. You’d appreciate that even one smuggled gun can do an enormous amount of damage.”
When politicians announce that they don’t tolerate something, it’s a fair bet that the something is completely out of hand.
“Police admit they cannot eradicate a black market that is peddling illegal guns to criminals,” the Adelaide Advertiser conceded a few years ago. “Motorcycle gang members and convicted criminals barred from buying guns in South Australia have no difficulty obtaining illegal firearms – including fully automatic weapons.”
More recently, the country’s The New Daily gained access to “previously unpublished data for firearms offences” and reported a surge in crime “including a massive 83 per cent increase in firearms offences in NSW between 2005/06 and 2014/15, and an even bigger jump in Victoria over the same period.”
“Australians may be more at risk from gun crime than ever before with the country’s underground market for firearms ballooning in the past decade,” the report added. “[T]he national ban on semi-automatic weapons following the Port Arthur massacre had spawned criminal demand for handguns.”
Much as the Mafia and other organized criminal outfits rose to power, wealth, and prominence by supplying illegal liquor during Prohibition in the United States, outlaw motorcycle gangs in Australia appear to be building international connections and making money by supplying guns to willing buyers.
Make no mistake about it; Australia is a generally peaceful country with a 2014 murder rate of 1.0 victims per 100,000 persons and an overall homicide rate, including manslaughter, of 1.8. In 2000 the Australian Institute of Criminology reported, “The homicide rate for Australia has stayed remarkably constant. The highest rate recorded over the last 11 years was 2 per 100,000 and the lowest rate was 1.7 per 100,000.” So in the intervening years, they’ve basically seen a continuation of the “modest decline” referred to in the academic assessment cited above.
By contrast, without Australia’s confiscation policy, the United States has seen its murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter) rate drop from 9.3 homicides per 100,000 U.S. residents in 1992 to 4.7 in 2011 and decline further, to 4.5 per 100,000 in 2014, the last year for which full data is available. During this time, the number of firearms in civilian hands increased by roughly 50 percent, to an estimated 300 million.
An unstoppable network of illegal firearms smuggling; another breeding ground for organized crime–and other nefarious elements–to build up financial empires across the country; and increased danger to the general public. Is this what Obama and Clinton want for America concerning their gun control policy? Given how the Democratic Party is virulently anti-Second Amendment, it wouldn’t shock me if–in this tragic and wholly un-American hypothetical–the increased body count would prompt anti-gun liberals to enact confiscatory policies, or a discussion about eliminating our oldest civil right altogether. Ironically, they would be missing the point that the overwhelming majority of gun owners are law-abiding, and they would serve as a deterrent against rising crime, but they’ve been ignoring such statistics for years. The facts don’t fit into their warped narrative, so they ignore it.
Regardless, it’s clear that Australian-style gun control is a total disaster, and it’s placing the innocent at risk. Luckily, we have a written Constitution that prevents the anti-gun left from enacting Orwellian policies attacking our gun rights for now. There won’t be any federally mandated gun buybacks or confiscation if America’s Second Amendment right supporters continue to be vigilant, politically active, and most important of all–vote.
Editor’s Note: This is a crosspost from Townhall.