In the wake of the Newtown, Conn., massacre earlier this month, some Americans are pushing for stronger gun control, but the experiences of Britain and Australia show that doesn’t work, says Joyce Lee Malcolm, a law professor at George Mason University.
“Strict gun laws in Great Britain and Australia haven't made their people noticeably safer, nor have they prevented massacres,” she writes in The Wall Street Journal
. “The two major countries held up as models for the U.S. don’t provide much evidence that strict gun laws will solve our problems.”
In Britain, gun control laws were made much harsher after a mentally unstable man killed 16 youngsters and their teacher in Dunblane, Scotland, in 1996. The Firearms Act of 1998 implemented an almost total prohibition of handguns.
“The results have not been what proponents of the act wanted,” Malcolm writes. “Within a decade of the handgun ban and the confiscation of handguns from registered owners, crime with handguns had doubled according to British government crime reports.”
As for Australia, in 1996, a man with a violent history killed 35 tourists at a Port Arthur, Tasmania, prison site. In response, Australia’s parliament passed the National Firearms Agreement, which included stringent measures, such as a ban on all semi-automatic rifles.
“To what end?” Malcolm asks. “Peter Reuter and Jenny Mouzos, in a 2003 study published by the Brookings Institution, found . . . the impact of the National Firearms Agreement was ‘relatively small,’ with the daily rate of firearms homicides declining 3.2 percent.”
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