Australia sees spike in gun crime despite outright ban

Experts said that the country’s 1996 ban on most semi-automatic firearms has actually driven criminals to those guns. “The ban on semi-automatics created demand by criminals for other types of guns,” professor Philip Alpers of the University of Sydney told The New Daily. “The criminal’s gun of choice today is the semi-automatic pistol.”

Gun control advocates in the country insist that the problem is too little regulation. They said, while most modern firearms are illegal and all legal firearms owners must obtain licenses from the government, ammunition is not controlled tightly enough.

“There is very little regulation of ammunition purchase,” Samantha Lee, a spokesperson for Gun Control Australia, told the publication. “In most jurisdictions you can purchase ammunition because you have a firearm licence and there is no restriction on the type you can purchase – so if you own a rifle you can still purchase ammunition for a handgun.”

“Gun enthusiasts are quite right when they say guns don’t kill–it’s the bullets that kill,” Professor Alpers added. “For many years we just focused on the guns and ignored the ammunition that was lying around–now people are starting to realise that ammunition control is just as important.”