Can Gun Control Reduce Crime?
by Vin Suprynowicz
Special to TLE
One year ago, Australian gun owners were forced to surrender for
destruction 640,381 personal firearms (including semi-automatic .22
rifles and shotguns.) This program cost the Aussie government more
than $500 million, and produced heart-stopping photos as veritable
boneyards full of Browning A-5 shotguns and other beloved collectors'
items were surrendered up to be crushed by steamshovels in a kind of
steel-and-walnut charnel field. Now, Keith Tidswell of Australia's
Sporting Shooters Association reports the results are in.
(The entire interview with Mr. Tidswell, conducted by Ginny Simone,
is available as "Surprise, Surprise" in the "Archive News" section of
the web sight http://www.nralive.com)
Drum roll, please. Mr. Tidswell reports, based on a full 12 months of
data: Australia-wide, homicides up 3.2 percent.
Australia-wide, assaults up 8.6 percent.
Australia-wide, armed-robberies up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent.)
In the state of Victoria, homicides-with-firearms are up 300 percent.
(Up until the government gun grab, figures for the previous 25
years had shown a steady decrease in homicides with firearms, as well
as armed robberies, Mr. Tidswell notes.)
Although at the time of the victim disarmament order, the Aussie
prime minister decreed "Self-defense is not a reason for owning a
firearm," there has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and
assaults of the elderly, now left with no means to protect
themselves. (One wonders whether the prime minister's personal
bodyguards gave up their military-style weapons.)
Mr. Tidswell reports: "Australian politicians are on the spot and at
a loss to explain how no improvement in 'safety' has been observed
after such monumental effort and expense to successfully 'rid society
# # #
Meantime, efforts to systematically remove such weapons from the
hands of the unruly, untrustworthy commoners of England have been
underway at least as far back as the end of World War II. (By 1946,
most of the valuable private rifles donated by American NRA members
in response to an emergency call after the 1940 military disaster at
Dunkirk had been rounded up from the British "home defense"
auxiliaries and either dumped at sea or else poured into new concrete
foundations, where - Londoners confided to me on my last visit, in
1998 - their steel outlines still occasionally surface out of
well-traveled concrete walkways.)
Thus, the recent effective outlawing of handguns for civilian Britons
after some nut shot some schoolchildren in Dunblane, Scotland (the
government teacher charged with their safety was, needless to say,
unarmed and thus useless), was only the last straw.
Given that the English peasant populace has thus been unarmed
somewhat longer, are there any trends developing there, to which the
Australians can themselves now look forward?
In an article by Helen Searls, titled "Trial by Fury" and scheduled
for release in the October issue of Reason magazine, we learn:
"In recent months the British government has unveiled an array of
measures that promise to change the legal system profoundly. This
spring, British citizens learned that Tack Straw, the home secretary
(the rough equivalent of the American attorney general, though with
more political power), plans to abolish trial by jury for all but the
most serious crimes. He is also considering lifting the rule against
double jeopardy, which prevents a defendant from being tried more
than once for the same crime, and is thinking of criminalizing
offensive language even when it is spoken in the privacy of one's
"These days, defendants' rights are under attack. The right to
silence is now severely qualified, trial by jury is under review,
legal aid is being wiped out, defendants now have to disclose their
defense strategy to the prosecution well in advance of trial, and in
rape cases the cross-examination rights of defendants have been
drastically restricted. ..."
But here in America, we're assured that those who would cling to the
right to bear arms are nothing but psychiatrically disturbed
Neanderthal throwbacks, clutching at the last talisman of 19th
century male privilege and power, a kind of combination surrogate
penis and security blanket which they hope will magically protect
them from the stresses of a changing world.
Yeah, that must be it. There's no practical reason to cling to
such an outmoded, violent, and dangerous technology. It's not as
though, were we to give up our guns, armed criminals would take
advantage of the situation to commit more violent crimes
against us, or the ever-beneficent government that brought us Ruby
Ridge and Waco would take the opportunity to start eroding any of our
Unless you're some kind of paranoid, black helicopter conspiracy nut,
where on earth would you get ideas like those?
Vin Suprynowicz is the assistant editorial page editor of the Las
Vegas Review-Journal. His new book,
"Send in the Waco Killers" is
available at $21.95 plus $3 shipping through Mountain Media, P.O. Box
271122, Las Vegas, Nev. 89127 or via 1-800-244-2224.
Well, He's Certainly No Authority On Guns ...
Clinton, Gore blame easy gun availability for massacres
By LAWRENCE L. KNUTSON
WASHINGTON (September 19, 1999 8:18 a.m. EDT
(A HREF="http://www.nandotimes.com">http://www.nandotimes.com) -
Saying that the repeated mass murders of innocent Americans has been
the most painful thing he has had to face in office, President
Clinton on Saturday blamed the easy availability of guns more than
human evil for the spate of killings.