AIC firearm death report raises serious questions

The Sporting Shooters Association of Australian Inc believes that recently released Australian Institute of Criminology figures concerning firearm related deaths raise more questions than they answer. SSAA spokesman Gary Fleetwood said the report failed to acknowledge that the number of accidental firearm deaths in Australia was actually lower in the years before the implementation of the new gun laws. Death by accident involving firearms has been dropping before the gun buyback, so the report's indication of a drop since 1996 is of little consequence.

It has also failed to explain why:

Firearm related deaths increased in Victoria despite that State's strict application of the new laws and having one of the proportionally highest gun surrender rates.

Firearm related deaths in Queensland have fallen, despite that State's historically liberal gun laws. Queensland had a low firearms surrender rate, which was criticised by the recently transferred Officer in Charge of the Queensland Weapons Branch, Insp. John McCoomb.

Homicide using a firearm increased by 18 per cent in South Australia, a State which has had registration since 1929 and licencing since 1997 and a very "successful" rate of guns during the buyback.

The National Institute of Justice in the United States recently issued a report that clearly identifies that gun buy-back programs have no effect upon the crime rate. "It seems every-time figures are released that indicate an apparent drop in gun-related crime, it is because of the gun buy-back," says Mr. Fleetwood. "When the figures show an increase in crime involving firearms, the supporters of the buyback program say it will be a few years before it will show results. This Association is still of the opinion that the gun buyback will be shown to have little or no effect on gun related crime in this country." Mr. Fleetwood said.

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