Australia’s Slippery Slippery Slope – They’re Back For More!
The 1996 Australian gun confiscation program took 600,000 guns away from the citizens of Australia. Seems that wasn’t enough as they’re back for more beginning in July of this year.
According to the Second Amendment Foundation, The gun ban started when Martin Bryant killed 35 people with semi-automatic weapons in Port Arthur, Australia. Prime minister John Howard immediately pushed through strict national gun laws. In less than a year gun licenses were restricted, a weapons buy-back was in place and an amnesty program was created for those still possessing illegal firearms.
In 1996, Australia passed some of the most restrictive gun laws in the western world. They included bans on self-loading rifles and self-loading and pump-action shotguns, universal gun registration and a taxpayer funded gun confiscation program costing over half a billion dollars. The ongoing costs of running the firearms registration systems are unknown but have been estimated at around $28 million per year, or $75,000 per day. That’s more than what the average Australian earns in a year.”
Australian officials are now planning another firearms amnesty program beginning in July and lasting through September, 2017. There will be no compensation for the surrendered firearms, but officials hope to net 260,000 of the estimated 600,000 illegally possessed guns.
The NRA-ILA reports:
In 1996, following a high-profile shooting in Port Arthur, Tasmania, Australia’s states and territories adopted the federal NFA. The agreement set up stringent licensing requirements to possess firearms, requiring license applicants provide a “genuine reason” for owning a firearm; the agreement made clear that personal protection was not a genuine reason. The measure also targeted several types of commonly-owned firearms, and included a near total ban on civilian ownership of semi-automatic rifles and semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns.
To coincide with the new restrictions, the government provided a firearms amnesty and compensation program. Through a massive public education campaign, gun owners were warned that they were required to turn their newly-prohibited firearms over to the government for a set price. Incorrectly called a “buy-back” by some U.S. politicians, as the NFA did not grandfather the possession of firearms owned prior to the new restrictions, the ban and amnesty amounted to gun confiscation.
In announcing the new federal amnesty program, Justice Minister Michael Keenan told the Sunday Mail, “This is the first Australia wide gun amnesty since 1996, when the Howard government took action following the devastation of the Port Arthur Massacre,” but acknowledged, “there have been state-based amnesties over that time.”
In fact, according to research conducted by University of Sydney Professor Philip Alpers, from 1987 to 2015, there were 41 (38 state and 3 federal) firearm amnesties of various durations in Australia. Alpers calculated the total number of firearms turned in to various authorities over this period at roughly 1.1 million.
Implementation of yet another amnesty is a broad acknowledgement of the futility of Australia’s gun control regime and amnesty programs. Further, more sophisticated analyses have also revealed the ineffectiveness of the country’s previous turn-in efforts.
In 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice reviewed the available research on Australia’s NFA firearm confiscation program and issued a memorandum that concluded that the effort had no effect on crime generally. In coming to this determination, the memorandum cited work from University of Maryland Professor Peter Reuter and Jenny Mouzos, aptly titled, “Australia: A Massive Buyback of Low-Risk Guns.” The NIJ memo made clear that the researchers “found no effect on crime.”