Anti-gunners love pointing to the Nation Down Under as a means to justify banning black rifles.
The most recent example comes from the Mercury News & East Bay Times Editorial Boards, who in caterwauling about Judge Benitez’s recent decision striking down California’s 30-year-old ban on so-called “assault weapons,” wrote the following (emphasis added):
Earlier this year Australia marked the 25th anniversary of worst mass shooting in which a gunman killed 35 people, causing conservative Prime Minister John Howard to push for a ban on all semi-automatic rifles and all semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns. Thousands of unlicensed firearms were surrendered by residents.
Australia has not had a mass shooting since 1996. In the United States, they occur at a rate of more than one every day, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Judge Benitez’s ruling should serve as the impetus for Californians to redouble their efforts to fight for reasonable gun control laws.
The problem with this claim is it’s not true. It’s a lie. Take a look for yourself:
Despite the ’96 ban (National Firearms Agreement), the shootings continued. The reason?
When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns. Just as banning drugs will not stop junkies from getting high, banning guns will not stop killers from killing. Fundamentally, that is the problem with the gun prohibition hypothesis. The notion that if the government restricts access to certain classes of firearms, it’ll eliminate the bloodshed.
It doesn’t work because apart from the fact that criminals don’t obey the law, violence — like addiction — is not inherently a supply problem, it’s a people problem. The widespread disarmament of law-abiding citizens does not render dangerous people harmless.
Look, even if Australia succeeded in seizing every single firearm in the nation, mass killings would not drop to zero. Because deranged people will find a way to take innocent lives regardless of whether or not they have access to guns. Case in point:
The best way to maximize public safety is to focus on people. That is, put violent people behind bars. Give troubled people the help that they need. Empower law-abiding people to take responsibility for their own safety. Do all this successfully, the frequency and intensity of mass killings will drop, precipitously.
We need to stop wasting time talking about ineffectual gun bans. The jury is in. They don’t work!