David Leyonhjelm has love-in with NRA nut jobs


By Leith van Onselen

Liberal Democratic Senator, David Leyonhjelm, has truly ‘jumped the shark’, appealing to the National Rifle Association (NRA) in America not to follow Australia’s lead and implement greater gun control.

In the interview (above), Leyonhjelm says the following about Australia’s gun laws:

“I dont think Australia is a model for the United States on gun control at all…

[Gun control after the Port Arthur Massacre] made no difference to firearms violence – violence overall. In fact we had a tick up in general violence after the gun ban…

We are a nation of victims – you cannot own a gun for self defence. It doesn’t matter what the circumstance, it doesn’t matter how big the threat, you cannot defend yourself. The criminals still have plenty of guns. There’s no shortage of guns. There’s a vigorous black market for guns. So it’s really not made the slightest bit of difference. If you want a gun, you can get one.

Look at what Australia did. It’s a defenseless country these days. I’m absolutely in awe of the success of the NRA at holding back the tide. And it never gives an inch. We love the NRA here in Australia amongst us owners. And in fact we rely on you guys to also help hold the line in Australia.

[Gun control]…is not something that any country should contemplate. It is completely disarming the population…”

Leyonhjelm’s claim that Australia’s tightening of gun ownership laws in the wake of the Port Arthur Massacre “made no difference to firearms violence” is highly dubious.

An Australian National University study found that the firearm homicide rate fell by 59%, and the firearm suicide rate fell by 65%, in the decade after the National Firearms Agreement law was introduced, without a parallel increase in non-firearm homicides and suicides.

And earlier this year, Business Insider published the below chart showing the overall drop in gun-related deaths in Australia after the law was introduced:

ScreenHunter_10391 Nov. 18 09.16

By contrast, the United States has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world, along with a high homicide rate. As shown below, the US has 88 firearms per 100 people (15 in Australia); 60% of homicides in the US are by firearm (11.5% in Australia); and the homicide by firearm rate per 100,000 population is 2.97 in the US (0.14 in Australia):

ScreenHunter_10395 Nov. 18 09.22

The last word on this issue must go to The Idiot Tax, who today published the following:

The argument regularly raises its head in relation to US mass shootings. “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” It’s the default line from the NRA and the argument is used to ward off any talk of gun control. If you’re in another country and there’s a gun massacre, the gun advocates use a similar line, “well if only the citizens only had more access to weapons, so they could defend themselves…”
For your enjoyment, here’s a timeline of some of the deadliest US mass shootings in the past 30 odd years and how they ended. Also included are known incidences where a gunman or gunmen were somehow stopped by an armed citizen (bolded).

October 2015, Roseburg, Oregon – 9 dead, 9 injured. Gunman Christopher Harper-Mercer shoots himself after exchanging fire with law enforcement.

June 2015, Charleston, South.Carolina – 9 dead. Gunman Dylann Roof escapes before being arrested in North Carolina.

April 2015, Chicago, Illinois – 0 dead, 0 injured. Gunman Everardo Custodio begins randomly firing at a group of people with a handgun, an Uber driver in the area shot and wounded Custodio with a shotgun.

March 2015, West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 0 dead, 0 injured. Gunman Warren Edwards pulls weapon after argument in barber shop, fires multiple shots before passerby enters the shop killing Edwards with his gun.

July 2014, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 1 dead, 1 injured. Gunman Richard Plotts killed his caseworker and shot his psychiatrist before the psychiatrist returned fire, wounding Plotts before he was overpowered by staff.

May 2014, Isla Vista, California – 6 dead, 7 injured. Gunman Elliot Rodger shoots himself.

April 2014, Fort Hood, Texas – 3 dead, 16 injured. Gunman Ivan Lopez shoots himself after being confronted by Military Police.

January 2014, Portland, Oregon – 0 dead, 3 injured. Gunman Thomas Hjelmeland was refused entry to a strip club. He returned with a gun, shooting a bouncer, patron and waitress. As Hjelmeland exited the club a second bouncer shot him dead.

October 2013, Clackamas, Oregon – 2 dead, 1 injured. Gunman Jacob Roberts may or may not have seen an armed citizen point a weapon towards him. The armed citizen didn’t fire as a fleeing person crossed his path, opportunity gone the citizen took cover, Roberts then shot himself.

September 2013, Washington, DC – 12 dead, 3 injured. Gunman Aaron Alexis shot dead by law enforcement. Alexis shot two officers during multiple firefights – one in the legs, the other in a tactical vest.

June 2013, Santa Monica, California – 5 dead. Gunman John Zawahri shot dead by law enforcement.

December 2012, Newtown, Connecticut – 27 dead, 1 injured. Gunman Adam Lanza shoots himself at the scene.

October 2012, Brookfield, Wisconsin – 3 dead, 4 injured. Gunman Radcliffe Haughton shoots himself.

September 2012, Minneapolis, Minnesota – 6 dead, 2 injured. Gunman Andrew Engeldinger shoots himself.

September 2012, Plymouth, Pennsylvania – 1 dead, 1 injured. Gunman William Allabaugh started shooting inside a bar after being asked to leave. Outside Allabaugh shot another man dead before a bar patron shot and seriously wounded Allabaugh.

August 5 2012, Oak Creek, Wisconsin – 6 dead, 3 injured. Gunman Michael Page shoots himself after being shot by responding law enforcement.

July 2012, Aurora, Colorado – 12 dead, 58 injured. Gunman James Holmes surrendered to law enforcement without incident.

April 2012, Oakland, California – 7 dead, 3 injured. Gunman One L. Goh surrendered away from the scene to law enforcement.

March 2012, Spartanburg, South Carolina – 0 dead, 0 injured. Gunman Jesse Gates burst into a church with a shotgun. From another building the pastor’s grandson saw Gates approach and confronted him inside with a weapon, Gates was then disarmed by parishioners.

October 2011, Seal Beach, California – 8 dead, 1 injured. Gunman Scott Dekraai arrested without incident.

January 2011, Tucson, Arizona – 6 dead, 11 injured. Gunman Jared Loughner tackled by bystanders while attempting to reload.

August 2010, Blountville, Tennessee – 0 dead, 0 injured. Gunman Thomas Cowan pulled a handgun while talking to the school principal, a student resource officer (law enforcement) pulled her weapon and allowed the principal to escape. Local police then arrived on the scene, shooting Cowan dead when he pointed his gun toward them.

August 2010, Manchester, Connecticut – 8 dead, 2 injured. Gunman Omar Thornton shoots himself.

May 2010, New York Mills, New York – 0 dead, 1 injured. Gunman Abraham Dickan entered an AT&T store intending to kill employees, after hitting one employee an armed off duty police officer also in the store shot Dickan dead.

February 2010, Huntsville, Alabama – 3 dead, 3 injured. Gunlady Amy Bishop surrendered to law enforcement.

November 2009, Fort Hood, Texas – 13 dead, 32 injured. Gunman Nidal Hasan captured by military police after being wounded in firefight.

May 2009, Atlanta, Georgia – 0 dead, 1 injured. Gunmen Calvin Lavant and Jamal Hill broke into an apartment where a party was being held. They announced their intention to rape and kill party goers. A marine at the party managed to get to his gun, shooting Hill, who fled, before engaging fire with Lavant who was wounded and fled before dying of his injuries. A party goer was wounded in the gunfire.

May 2008, Winnemucca, Nevada – 2 dead, 2 injured. Gunman Ernesto Villagomez entered a bar filled with 300 people, killing 2 brothers as part of an ongoing feud between several families. An armed bar patron killed Villagomez.

April 2009, Binghamton, New York – 13 dead, 4 injured. Gunman Jiverly Voong shoots himself.

February 2009, Dekalb, Illinois – 5 dead, 16 injured. Gunman Steven Kazmierczak shoots himself.

December 2007, Omaha, Nebraska – 8 dead, 4 injured. Gunman Robert Hawkins shoots himself.

December 2007, Colorado Springs, Colorado – 4 dead, 0 injured. Gunman Matthew Murray entered a church killing 4 people before a volunteer church security guard and former police officer (armed citizen?) shot and badly wounded Murray. Murray then shoots himself.

April 2007, Virginia Tech – 32 dead, 17 injured. Gunman Seung-hui Cho shoots himself.

February 2007, Salt Lake City, Utah – 5 dead, 4 injured. Gunman Sulejman Talovic exchanges fire with an off-duty police officer before reinforcements arrive and Talovic is fatally wounded.

October 2006, Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania – 5 dead, 5 injured. Gunman Charles Roberts kills himself as police approach.

March 2005, Red Lake Indian Reservation, Minnesota – 9 dead, 7 injured. Gunman Jeffrey Weise shoots himself.

July 2003, Meridian, Mississippi – 5 dead, 9 injured. Gunman Doug Williams kills himself.

October 2002, Tucson, Arizona – 3 dead. Gunman Robert Flores shoots himself.

January 2002, Grundy, Virginia – 3 dead, 3 injured. Gunman Peter Odighizuwa either ran out of bullets and was subdued by two unarmed students, or two other armed students confronted Odighizuwa, who still had ammunition, and called on him to drop his weapon. Witnesses at the scene suggest Odighizuwa was subdued by the unarmed students before the armed students arrived.

March 2001, Santee, California – 2 dead, 13 injured. Gunman Charles Williams apprehended by law enforcement.

December 2000, Wakefield, Massachusetts – 7 dead. Gunman Michael McDermott surrendered without incident.

November 1999, Honolulu, Hawaii – 7 dead. Gunman Byran Uyesugi surrendered to police after 5 hour stand off.

September 1999, Fort Worth, Texas – 7 dead, 7 injured. Gunman Larry Ashbrook shoots himself.

July 1999, Atlanta, Georgia – 9 dead, 12 injured. Gunman Mark Barton remains on the run for six hours before shooting himself.

April 1999, Columbine, Colorado – 13 dead, 24 injured. Gunmen Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris shoot themselves.

April 1998, Edinboro, Pennsylvania – 1 dead, 3 injured. Gunman Andrew Wurst killed a teacher, shooting another and 2 students at a school dance. Leaving the hall Wurst was confronted by the hall owner who had a shotgun, he held Wurst at bay until police arrived.

March 1998, Jonesboro, Arkansas – 5 dead, 10 injured. Gunkids Mitchell Johnson 13 and Andrew Golden 11 are captured by police.

October 1997, Pearl Mississippi – 2 dead, 7 injured. Gunman Luke Woodham killed 2 classmates and wounded 7 others, before being confronted by the school’s armed assistant principal (an army reservist and national guard member) who demanded Woodham surrender. He did.

December 1993, Garden City, New York – 6 dead, 19 injured. Gunman Colin Ferguson is eventually overpowered by other commuters on the train he was shooting up.

July 1993, San Francisco, California – 8 dead, 6 injured. Gunman Gian Ferri is confronted by police and kills himself.

May 1992, Olivehurst, California – 4 dead, 10 wounded. Gunman Eric Houston holds 85 people hostage for 8 hours before surrendering to police.

November 1991, Iowa City, Iowa – 4 dead, 2 injured. Gunman Gang Lu shoots himself.

October 1991, Killeen, Texas – 22 dead, 22 wounded. Gunman George Hennard kills himself in a restaurant toilet after killing 22 patrons.

June 1990, Jacksonville, Florida – 10 dead, 4 injured. Gunman James Pough shoots himself.

January 1989, Stockton, California – 5 dead, 29 injured. Gunman Patrick Purdy shoots himself.

August 1986, Edmond, Oklahoma – 14 dead, 6 wounded. Gunman Patrick Sherrill shoots himself.

July 1984, San Ysidro, California – 21 dead, 19 wounded. Gunman James Huberty shot by police sniper.

If you made it through that list, congratulations. If you have some PTSD after reading it, pity me – I was stupid enough to compile it…

Going by the list, despite a gun apparently in circulation for every US citizen, help from a good guy appears to be slim pickings. Crucially, the times a good guy with a gun was available, they weren’t available during a mass shooting situation.

Perhaps if Senator Leyonhjelm is such a fan of US laws he should seek to migrate there?

[email protected]

Leith van Onselen

Comments

    • The contradictions of so-called libertarans abound.

      The freedom I wish for myself and my country is freedom FROM guns, not the freedom to carry the dreadful things. I even resent the police carrying firearms. (don’t get me started about their paramilitary uniforms – they are public servants charged with administering the law in a civil society)

      Australia’s murder rate ~200 per year are almost entirely domestics. The murder rate in the USA per million people is staggeringly higher than here. The only positive thing I recall that wretch Howard doing as PM was gun control.

    • Strange Economics

      There’s no conflict. He’s still Libertrarian , except now for cigarette companies and arms dealers – an inexhaustible supply of campaign funds that no other party can accept. When money versus principles libertrarianism says you are free to choose….

  1. I remember Kohler lauding this guy… and posted his maiden speech on parliament.

    I remember next thinking, How easily impressed we all are. That those nice words… and we don’t think about consequences. free will to all, relativism here and there, utilitarian calculations… and we miss the whole point. A bit like Waleed Aly’s comments yesterday – how desperate we wanted to believe him… and miss how misinformed (intentionally?) he was.

    Lets hope MT meets your expectations, my opinion is so low – I assume he will exceed mine.

    Next big announcement, entrepreneurship in schools – lemonade stands for all (or coffee barista’s for the rest of us).

    Everyone is looking for a messiah… they just don’t know it.

  2. David Leyonh-whatsis, a libertardian, is also full retard on climate:

    “Whether or not the world is getting warmer, and whether humans are contributing, there is no justification for government intervention in the economy.”

    … and also opposes Medicare, the pharmaceutical benefits scheme, public schools and many other central progressive projects.

    • FiftiesFibroShack

      So true.

      I never would have picked Ricky Muir as being the most conscientious and considered of the micro senators. Lesson learned!

      DL always looked like a dud, and seems intent on confirming it at every opportunity.

  3. And BAM, the libertarian candidate has made themselves utterly irrelevant again, because they’re always unable to keep their bloody mouth shut, focus on the low-hanging fruit, and compromise. Instead it’s always “guns mean freedom and business owners should be able to avoid hiring people even if they’re black/gay/whatever because freedom”. This is the space-cadet who asked a job candidate if he was married, gay, or had ever voted for the greens in a JOB INTERVIEW; try that in the US and you’ll get sued so fast your head will spin if the person doesn’t get the job.

    Libertarians like him frequently go on about things that nobody will accept and won’t happen anyway… basically no-one wants Australia to go down the US road for guns. By doing so, they make themselves appear as the crazies they are, which means they never get any of the more reasonable part of their agenda implemented.

    I have noticed this commitment to ideological purity over pragmatism in every libertarian I’ve met. The result is as much as a dead-end as hard-core communism, but less effective as communists took over actual countries. I swear, most libertarians seem to inhabit some part of the autism spectrum, where they simply don’t realise that stating all their beliefs to journalists will get them flagged as a complete nutter.

    • Oh, and I just checked on the job interview front. Literally all 3 of the questions I listed that he asked will get you successfully sued in California ON THEIR OWN. We’re required to train on this stuff for work because we interview people, and I can confidently state that if one was interviewed by a wealthy corporation and was asked these 3 questions, the payout would be very large. If the judge could find a pattern of such within the company, the payout would make you independently wealthy for life.

      Leyonhelm is a typical nutter white guy who’s unable to understand simple concepts such as why there are protected classes in employment.

      • Not that we want to go down that litigious route, I don’t care if people ask anything. Better examples IMHO…

      • Ahhh, the words of a white man who wouldn’t know what discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, or marital status looks like.

        I’ll say it again: Leyonhelm is a nut. Who the hell asks about sexual orientation in a job interview? A nut, that’s who.

      • You miss my point – they are definitely not questions I would ask. yes I agree, nutty questions. But as far as I am concerned they can ask anything in an interview, and I reserve the right not to answer. Nor work for them if offered…

        That is free will – I don’t want to sue them because I don’t get a job and use something odd in the interview to avenge my hurt feelings.

        People insult on this website all the time – I also reserve the right not to respond in kind. I am not going to impinge their rights because I have hurt feelings. You have to toughen up my friend.

      • It’s not about me at all, RT. I’m a white guy. I get offered most jobs I apply to.

        I strongly suspect that based on your background, you’re simply unable to comprehend this issue. Let me put it to you this way; imagine you’re a black woman going for a low paying job. You get asked if, say, you’re pregnant. Sure, you can refuse to answer, but it will guarantee you won’t get the job. If you lie, and are found out, you’ll be fired UNLESS there are legal protections in place.

        These laws didn’t come about in the US by accident. They came about because white men are really really good at discriminating against other groups; so good at it that many of them don’t even realise they’re doing it…

        Oh, and don’t call me your friend. I’m definitely not. I don’t like you. I think you’re 3D1K’s slightly less obnoxious, but equally wrong-about-everything little brother.

      • RT, when you’re talking about discrimination in the labour market, I think it’s fair to say the stakes are a little higher than ‘hurt feelings’.

      • What’s with the white guilt?

        I’ll think you’ll find virtually every class of person us good at discrimination. White men dint have a monopoly on it.

        Ever dealt with a Chinese commerce group?

        Heard of Bumniputra in Malaysia?

        Caste system in India?

      • That makes sense – 3D is my alter ego.

        Ease up on the insecurity buddy. As for my part, I don’t dislike you, don’t even know you! that is such a silly thing to say. Clearly you are older than I – and clearly we see the world differently. Life is good my friend, take time and smell the flowers. its not personal.

        PS – unlike you, I never get selected at interviews. I make no claims about my skills, experience, expertise, anything… you wouldn’t believe me anyway.

  4. He also believes that chickens prefer living in confined spaces in barns, and don’t really like going outside. I read one of his articles on it and it astounded me. He not only speaks for all Australians on wanting guns, he speaks for our chickens as well? Or he is a rural vet who probably made a lot of money certifying battery farms, and getting votes from gun toting farm owners who needed defending against the PETA hippy terrorists…

    Disclaimer: I own chickens. They spend the entire day outside only going in at night. Must be left wing, big government chickens…
    Disclaimer: I think I just launched a conspiracy theory….

    • Interesting fact: modern battery hens actually like living in densely populated cages because they have been bred that way. Not saying they prefer it to outdoors, or that it is acceptable practice, or that Leyonhjelm isn’t a raging simpleton. Just something I remembered from reading about group selection theory.

      • I think you’ll find it’s more conditioning that breeding. Given the choice, a young chicken would wander the woods with their flock, and climb trees to roost at night…..unless there’s a libertarian with an itchy trigger finger about! Simpleton’s indeed.

      • You’ll have trouble convincing any chicken owner of the truth of this. My neighbour had some ex-battery hens. They absolutely loved going for a scratch in the ground outside.

      • No it was definitely selective breeding I was thinking of, ie- try and put regular chickens in those conditions and see how long they last (to make it very plain: if chickens are unhappy they do not lay). They have been bred to live happily in dense populations. Note where I said “not saying they prefer it to outdoors”.

      • I get that they would be selectively bred to handle it, but “happily” is something that I would think a stretch. Eg, moved to a new place, chook freaked out a bit, and went AWOL and spent the first night stuck in a ditch, pinned under a fence. Was limping heavily for a week, but kept laying. If anything I would suggest they are bred to ignore pain.

      • From what I remember it was mostly about stress from overcrowding – typically they would have problems with pecking and cannibalism etc.

  5. What point are you trying to make here?

    Gun homicide rate fell after port arthur but overall murder rate was completely unchanged
    People were getting killed with knives etc

    The fact that it made suicide more difficult is one that I find abhorrent

    Additionally, the idiot tax extract seems to suggest that armed bystanders actually have a good effect

    The US states with the freest gun laws have the lowest rates of violent crime. (Texas)
    The US states with the harshest gun laws have some of the highest rates (Illinois esp Chicago)

    Of course you choose the US to compare with Australia, rather than Switzerland, because it suits a social and political agenda

    The fact is that there is no convincing evidence that gun bans do anything useful at all

    And that is not to mention the benefits in population reduction

    • The fact is that there is no convincing evidence that gun bans do anything useful at all

      Actually controlling handguns seems to matter a lot. That’s the big difference between the USA and other countries with high per-capita gun ownership countries like Switzerland (or Canada).

      Handguns in Switzerland are uncommon and strictly controlled.

      Note also that even for the high NUMBER of guns in Switzerland, the overall situation is completely different (eg: guns must be securely stored separate from ammunition – you wouldn’t find a Swiss citizen with a loaded shotgun behind the bed and a loaded pistol in the nightstand, like several of my American friends have). The Swiss have a lot of guns because they have a conscript army and nearly every household must have a gun by law.

      “Lots of guns” and “easy access to guns” are NOT the same thing.

      • I like the Swiss situation. A long gun in a gun safe, separate from ammunition is a good option.

        Here in Australia that is common, but you also have to pay annual subscription fees to gun clubs and annual license fees, which all add up. I suspect all the ticket clipping is part of the plan to stop people owning guns, and if so it hasn’t worked.

      • Right

        the point is that guns are not banned

        and that comparing the murder rate in the US to Australia, and using the gun ban to explain the difference is lazy and false

      • Here in Australia that is common, but you also have to pay annual subscription fees to gun clubs and annual license fees, which all add up. I suspect all the ticket clipping is part of the plan to stop people owning guns, and if so it hasn’t worked.

        I do actually think we went just a bit too far in Australia with this sort of stuff – having to belong to a gun club, handguns being nearly impossible (rather than just difficult) to own, etc.

      • R2M: you do not have to join a club/SSAA to have a long arm.
        If you are a PP or perform animal welfare you can have a free license.

        Once you want an RHVC (needed for Cat B on smaller holdings, or, to make it easier to help neighbours out) you pay.

        I would argue the $200/5 year cost is VERY reasonable. Compare that to $335/year for a fricking Cycling Australia license (+race fees naturally).

        PTAs are $30/firearm, also very reasonable if you consider you pay once and only need 2-4..

      • If home defence is the aim, I sometimes think a good spear is a better option. Silent, invisible in the dark if painted black, and will kill an intruder from 2 metres away. AFAIK also legal. They are devastating weapons in Africa. The Masai use them to hunt lions.

      • They’re also contingent on wielding them with some physical prowess.

        A trained person may exercise some degree of lethality, but in the hands of most elderly or females, they would be ineffective to the point of comical.

      • If you are a PP or perform animal welfare you can have a free license

        Not many qualify for that, not even me I suspect (less than 10 acres in a rural residential zone)

      • A trained person may exercise some degree of lethality, but in the hands of most elderly or females, they would be ineffective to the point of comical

        Um, you can be pretty deadly without training, with a spear, if you have enough arm strength. I would not recommend them to frail people, be they old or female (although some females have good arm strength).

      • “you can be pretty deadly without training, with a spear, if you have enough arm strength.”

        “Without training”…

        “Arm strength”….

        I remember when people bought nun-chukus because Bruce Lee looked hard ass with them. They end up hurting themselves more often than not. This is the same here.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        Yes Spears are a good idea.

        A number of them can be effectively employed to defend ones house against Cavalry charges also.

        A very sharp samurai sword can also be effective on intruders, just dont let that home invader disarm you and always rember to tell the kids not to run with it, even when its delivery to you is urgently required to subdue the baddie.

      • @tmarsh – its not $200 for 5 years. Its safety course cost + license cost + valid reason cost [SSAA membership for example] + storage & security cost. On top of the cost of the actual sport. You also surrender a right to privacy because of unscheduled inspections to ensure that storage details are accurate and compliant.

        If cyclists were forced to constantly re-certify, prove they store their bike properly, maintain club memberships etc then there’d be some uproar for sure. But guns are special so here we are. Doesn’t change the reality that there is a cost imposed to discourage ownership.

      • “You laugh at spears, but I recently read a story, cannot find it now, about a African man whose house was invaded by 3 firearm-armed assailants. In the pitch dark, he killed all three”

        I don’t laugh at spears, they’re a very effective weapon in close quarters. But I would assert the factor that made this demonstration so effective is this is a young man, who in likelihood has training in some shafted device, such as an agrarian tool like a pitchfork or hoe.

        It may work for him, but the efficiency diminishes greatly when you remove the physical prowess and tactile familiarity.

        Espousing is the everyperson’s self defence weapon is silly, and bordering on dangerous.

      • Rusty, most men could easy wield a spear to great effect. Most households contain men. Young boys kill lions with spears. I could show you how to use one in 10 minutes 🙄

      • You think that wielding a spear is about arm strength.

        Your training would do more harm than good.

      • Have it your way, Rusty. Actually everyone having a spear would be a bad idea … take away the element of surprise for those who do have them 😉


    • The fact that it made suicide more difficult is one that I find abhorrent

      Quite a few people – I would go so far as by far the overwhelming majority – would think that making suicide more difficult is a very good thing.

      • Except of course the suicidal

        Who are forced to drive their cars into trees
        or force police to shoot them
        or hang or drown themselves

        all horrific ways of dying

      • In practice any additional level of difficulty reduces the probability that they will succeed or, indeed, follow through on their attempt.

        Many, many suicides are highly impulsive – if a means is not readily available, they are not followed through on.

      • FiftiesFibroShack

        @Coming

        A lot of suicides are “in the moment” acts. Taking away an easy option saves lives.

        If we’re talking about people with a terminal illness then there are far better options available than shooting yourself. What a horrible scene to leave for the family. Yeesh!

      • If we’re talking about people with a terminal illness then there are far better options available

        Such as?

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        I would not use a gun to kill myself.
        Id be to concerned about doing it wrong and blowing my face off and still being alive,…yuck!
        No , Id build a guillotine in the garage, no chance of fucking up then, and also its fun to build stuff.

      • “fun to build stuff”

        ‘Geez, look at the quality of the lathing I did there. Sh*t I can turn a good piece of work. I’m so proud of this…aw well”. *Chop*

        😀

      • A large does of an anesthetic is the way to go. Easily obtainable.

        No it is not. How will you get a dose of propofol? Not easy to obtain AT ALL. 😯

        I suggest a canister of Nitrogen and a suicide bag. Quick, painless, clean, efficient.

      • Yes, quite right Coming, guns are a great way to end your life, except for the SWAT Police who roll up in the middle of the night when a 18 yr old calls them to say they need to send an ambo out as he’s about to end his life with a gun, said kid’s family when they’re woken at 1.00am by flashing lights and loud hailer asking all occupants to leave the house with their hands on head. The police office unable to look the mother in the eye when ask if her son is okay, blood and brains splattered over a shed and the deputy who cries and said he’s resigning as he’s had enough.

        I’d have thought the best defence against suicide is to tackle its causes, not a gun!

    • Terror Australis

      As someone who has actually LOST a relative to a depression induced gunshot suicide, let me say how ignorant your comment is.

      • as someone who has lost a relative to a botched hanging attempt that dragged out in an ICU for several days, let me tell you that it is not ignorant at all

      • My sympathies. But I also think you’ve taken away the wrong message from that life experience.

      • Some people are better off dead

        Sometimes for their own benefit
        Sometimes for their loved ones

        And the proper way to address that is with euthanasia laws, not allowing anyone to walk into K-Mart and walk out with a shotgun, so their family can find them in the bathroom with their skull evenly distributed throughout (or, even worse, still alive without a face).

      • Terror Australis

        Given the prevalence of depression and other mental illness in this country, thats a dangerous point of view.

        I’d agree that in certain very limited circumstances you could make a strong argument for euthasasia.
        But spray painting your brains across a wall doesn’t meet anyones definition of “death with dignity”.

    • @ Coming — well said & I agree with you as a gun owner. Howard went right over the top with what were banned. Owning a gun doesn’t make you a crazy !

  6. If anything The Idiot Tax’s lists quite a number of occasions where the public being able to carry a gun has been helpful in stopping someone randomly shooting people…

    I am not really pro guns. I do think people should have the reasonable ability to defend themselves against an attacker. In my opinion it’s draconian to ban weapons that could be reasonably viewed as items designed to disable rather than kill an attacker e.g. extendable batons, mace, stun gun.

    • Oz has gone overboard on this issue. Here is evidence of Nanny State if you like. Restrictions on absolutely everything that can be used for defence, including pepper sprays. Silly stuff, and makes women more vulnerable than they otherwise would be.

      BTW, you can make home made pepper sprays, recipes on the ‘net.

      • Until the Feds kick down your door to give you a comparison with the real stuff!
        Lovin’ these data retention laws!

      • Pepper Spray — legal to buy & own in WA . Try mail order from a Gun Shop. Great to have close to front door.

    • “In my opinion it’s draconian to ban weapons that could be reasonably viewed as items designed to disable rather than kill an attacker e.g. extendable batons, mace, stun gun.”

      Absolutely agree on that. I don’t mind our gun laws (possibly a little stricter than I’d like but that’s the side I’d err on) but banning things like mace and stun guns is nanny state bullshit.

  7. Looks like the trend was down before the gun law was introduced.

    I’m not saying the law is bad per se, or that DL isn’t a bit wacky, but, the trend looks down before the law changed anyway.

    • I also noticed the trend was already downwards. It would be interesting to see the data going back another decade or two.

    • Yes I noticed that.

      But also noticed that those are raw deaths not taking into account population change, which they ought to do.

      Also, the reality of the gun control situation was that most states – Victoria stands out – had brought in strict gun laws prior to Port Arthur. For example, in Victoria’s case it was in response to the string of shootings that included Hoddle Street and Queen Street, and came with buy backs. Howard’s part was to make the laws uniform and bring laggards into the fold – obviously Tasmania was in this category.

      Not diminishing Howard’s role, but the graph needs to be interpreted in the light of a ten year process of gun control tightening around the country rather than a one off event.
      And yes, it also needs to start several years before at least the Hoddle Street Massacre if not the Milperra Massacre, both events which had a massive effect on public opinion around fireams.

      NOTE: A result of the non-uniform gun laws that existed between the mid eighties and 1996 is that you can compare Australian states (where the culture is far more similar than in comparison to the US or Switzerland) and get a much better idea of the effect of gun laws alone and also see the before and after effect at the state level a number of times, getting much closer to seeing the pure effect of gun control laws than comparing to other countries.

      • PlanetraderMEMBER

        I also wondered in addition to this point whether there was or would be any correlation to an economy’s performance – i.e. if things are going well in general, less reason to think about shooting someone whereas when things get tough, more crime is likely. That is the potentially worrying aspect about what Oz has coming in my view.

      • Hill Billy 55MEMBER

        You are pot on, Planetrader, and my understanding is that there is some evidence already of suicides increasing in rural areas as a result of the drought conditions underway and the adverse impact of the fracking industry in Queensland.

        Why I am reticent to applaude the housing crashniks view as it will also bring significant suffering to a place near all of us.

      • I also wondered in addition to this point whether there was or would be any correlation to an economy’s performance – i.e. if things are going well in general, less reason to think about shooting someone whereas when things get tough, more crime is likely.

        I have long argued that the biggest reason for America’s “gun violence” problem is not about guns, but about wealth gaps, lack of opportunity and their unforgiving culture.

        Guns just exacerbate the issue.

      • Coming, you are attacking the wrong person.

        I merely made an observation of the trend pre law change.

        I also clearly stated I was ambivalent about the law change itself.

        You are pointlessly snarking the wrong person.

      • What, so because homicides only decreased a bit it’s not effective now?

        Why would there be an expectation of any decrease more than a few years after the event? Once the law is in place, and associated buybacks complete, it’s done. Realistically any impact gun control laws did or didn’t have would be finished by about 2000, unless there has been further tightening.

      • That statement seems at odds with either
        “Over the past 18 years (1 July 1989 to 30 June 2007), the rate* of homicide incidents decreased from 1.9 in 1990-91 and 1992-93 to the second-lowest recorded rate, of 1.3, in 2006-07.”
        or
        “The figure shows that although there have been fluctuations from year to year, the number of homicide incidents has shown a steady decline since the inception of the NHMP in 1989. “

      • Did you not just say the benefit should have been seen by the year 2000?

        seems to me decline only really started after 2002

      • No, I don’t see it that way – I see a decline over the period of interest, and fluctuations in the sample data. I don’t agree that the decline only started after 2002.

        Given the noisy data, I don’t see the issue of whether declines were seen until 1998 or 2000 or 2002 to be material – once the decline had occurred, several years of data would naturally be needed to know that a floor had been reached.

        But at the same time, I wouldn’t expect to see continued drops for ten or twenty years afterwards, which is what I assumed you meant by ‘decades after Port Arthur’.

        Having re-read the charts I think that the key metric is probably missing – the number of murder victims per 10 000 population. I think that this is the key metric because a lot of the rationale for the Port Arthur laws was to make violent incidents when they did occur less deadly, and that is the logical yardstick.

      • Ok, then you have to acknowledge that the rate was declining well before the port arthur massacre as well

        and presuming the rate of population change was constant, this gradually falling rate was not accelerated by the ban

  8. I counted 15 incidents where an armed bystander stopped a gun massacre, so its hardly fair to describe it as ‘slim pickings’.

    I think some other comparisons are in order.
    New Zealand never introduced Australian-style gun restrictions and also enjoyed a falling gun homicide/violence rate.

    Seeing as comparisons with the U.S are so popular, and not other countries with a heavily armed populace like Israel or Switzerland – why not compare the gun murder rates between states that have tough gun laws (Illnois, New York) and those that have loose gun restrictions.

    Another more general point to make is that banning something does not abolish it from existence, it only criminalizes it.

    I bet many of the socially progressive commenters here don’t think that the war on drugs is a success.

    • Seeing as comparisons with the U.S are so popular, and not other countries with a heavily armed populace like Israel or Switzerland – why not compare the gun murder rates between states that have tough gun laws (Illnois, New York) and those that have loose gun restrictions.

      Because it’s trivial to drive to another state with lax (or basically nonexistant – eg: AZ) gun laws and come back with an arsenal.

      Less easy to do that between countries.

      Another more general point to make is that banning something does not abolish it from existence, it only criminalizes it.

      Most people don’t want guns banned, they just think things like having to be licensed, having to store your guns securely, and not being able to wander into a gun show and walk out ten minutes later with a bootload of weaponry are sensible constraints to apply.

    • “Seeing as comparisons with the U.S are so popular, and not other countries with a heavily armed populace like Israel or Switzerland…”

      Mandatory military service is a major reason given for the lower rate of gun deaths in Israel and Switzerland despite the high gun ownership rates. The US doesn’t have conscription and neither do we – why wouldn’t we use the US as a comparison?

      • NZ left out for some reason? Oz doesn’t have the proliferation of pistols the US has – except for our criminal element mail ordering them in of course. We haven’t had a Port Arthur since, well Port Arthur – I think that tragic event, & the lead up shootings sobered us up at that time, which of course is a good thing.

        Many a farmer who handed in their semi auto’s while being vilified were quite hurt to think they were being put in the same basket as these nutters, & rightly so – they weren’t the nutters. But you talk to them now, & as much as they could possibly still use them sometimes, they now think that it was for the best as they think the world’s lost it’s head.

        But still our laws & situation, which seem to be working relatively well, are being conflated with the US to give the righteous something to hyperventilate about.

        Oh, & DL does the many genuine types a disservice when he steps over the mark, I’ve never met anyone who want’s it like America. But is he for real or just pushing back?

    • One may consider that irresponsible gun owners.

      If a person left an unopened container of round up in the back yeard / al fresco, their kid drank it and died, do we ban herbicides?

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      Guns dont kill people, people kill people.

      Clearly if more people were armed, members of the citizenry could prevent these wild, ratbag, out of controll toddlers by shooting them before they accidentally kill their Moms and Dads.


    • One may consider that irresponsible gun owners.

      I guess the phrase ‘give pause on the efficacy of US gun laws’ ought to be taken as saying that current US gun laws insufficiently ensure that only responsible people are able to own guns,

      At the same time, I note that about half of the states of the USA have adopted legislation requiring firearms to be fitted with child safety locks in some way equivalent to the child proof lid mandated on containers of poison in Australia in order to reduce the incidence of children accidentally consuming said poison. That sort of legislation would have the effect of reducing the burden of responsibility on gun owners

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      Yes we really need to reach out to the malcontented nerds and geeks angry at their lack of female attention.
      If we could only get the young ladies to root them occasionally, imagine the number of lives we could save.

  9. A politician who represents his constituents – SHOCK HORROR!

    I honestly cannot believe Yank’s access to pistols and full-bore military gear. But if I lived in the bush I’d certainly have rifles. Just as I do fishing rods at the beach.

    • Lleyonjelms “constituents” thinking it’d be a good idea if any random person could walk into KMart and walk out again five minutes later with half a dozen guns and a crate full of ammo seems something of a stretch.

  10. I enjoy hunting with my mates. The reality is it is relatively easy to end up owning a gun in Australia.it just takes time and patience to go through the necessary legal hoops.
    most people in this site would class themselves as libertarians of some sort. Until it’s something they themselves don’t like of course. Then they want to ban it.

  11. Macrobusiness blog has truly ‘jumped the shark’. I figure the author of this article is a paid up member of the greens drinking a certain specific brand of the crazy cool-aide.

    Firearms are sporting equipment and/or tools depending on their use. Australia has some of the toughest and enforced firearm laws in the world.

    I question the efficiency of our current firearm registry system when compared to say NZ. Criminals are still sourcing illegal firearms in Australia without much difficulty.

    Modern manufacturing techniques and equipment like 3D printers improve each year (also 5 axis CNC machines etc) the need for changes to licensing/registry systems will need to be made or we can expect to be spending significant effort/resources trying to enforce laws that are ineffective at preventing criminals from obtaining firearms. Further laws at this stage seem to only impact law abiding citizens further while doing nothing to prevent further criminality.

    How effective have the millions spent tracking every firearm in this country been when compared to say spending that money on additional police officers actually going out into the community and attending domestic violence at risk homes? Or policing against gang related criminality? The recent crimes involving firearms in this country were all undertaken with illegal firearms. The registry was useless in preventing these crimes and only added additional layers of bureaucracy and finger pointing.

    NZ have similar laws to Australia but with a different firearm registry model that saves significant gov expenditure and yet hasn’t resulted in mass slaughter on the streets of Auckland.

    Mention firearms in this country and you can guarantee extreme views are held on both sides (but more commonly on the left IMO). It would be nice if a sensible debate could be had without Gun Control Australia jumping in with a crying widow claiming a firearm killed their husband. Actually, no a crazy person who could have used some mental support services did the killing. A firearm was just the tool used. But sorry about that, we can’t afford the required medical services that might have either prevented a sick person from killing or getting the help they needed before a tragedy occurred.

    * Firearm owner who has voted greens.
    * Firearm owner sick of being labelled or implied to be a criminal for owning sporting equipment.

    • NZ have similar laws to Australia but with a different firearm registry model that saves significant gov expenditure and yet hasn’t resulted in mass slaughter on the streets of Auckland

      Excuse my ignorance, but how is it different? Genuinely curious

    • Is there a type of weapon that people should be banned from owning in your opinion? If I can own a gun, why not a grenade? Or a rocket launcher? I have no clue, but the level of debate is pathetic.

      I’m all for some gun ownership, for sport or whatever you call it, farm management etc, but I think the population that don’t want guns in our community have just as much right to argue this as those that do. Maybe we could all agree on the weapons we don’t want our neighbours to own first:

      1: nuclear missiles – tick
      2: surface to air missiles (under flight paths at least) – Tick
      3: machine guns for killing pigs – ??

      • Ah the reductio ad absurdum fallacy

        Let’s play in the opposite direction shall we?

        knives? Shall we ban them?
        R2M seems to be pretty dangerous with a spear: ban?

        Rocks?
        Sticks?
        Shall we outlaw the formation of a fist?

      • Machine guns have never been legal in this country! Nor have the others you mention……….. The line drawn in this country is perhaps a little on the onerous side, but better to be where it is than where it was – & where we looked to be heading at the time of introduction – there’s been a good balance here since then – but some just can’t be satisfied.

      • Seriously folks, where is your line? I’m sure you have one. I’m not advocating a knife or spear ban, they’re your words. I’m quite satisfied with our current laws. Some clearly aren’t, and they bleat about freedom but usually only as far as the things they want. Which is my point. If you’re arguing more freedom, I simply ask (with some absurdism, fair cop, sue me) what is your line? And what things are good to ban or control? I’m genuinely interested in your opinion.

      • As I said, I’m satisfied with our current laws. They seem to strike a balance in that weapons that could kill many people, very quickly, are restricted. You seem less satisfied, I don’t know? That’s why I ask you. Or are you just here to be annoying?

    • A sensible debate would be nice. But usually when this issue gets press is because some moron is promoting US style gun laws. So of course there is a strong push back because we really don’t want large percentages or ordinary Australians with handguns for self defence.
      Rifles for sport or work make sense even if I’m personally not a fan of shooting for sport. And laws about storage help reduce accidental deaths (also scarily common in the USA).
      I don’t think we need to be more strict than we are and there are probably sensible reforms that could be made to relax some conditions. But “lets all go full NRA stupidity” sells more newspapers.

      • The cost of owning a gun here is Australia is considerable. In Africa, I owned about 20 guns, and apart from the initial purchase cost and initial licensing cost, the annual cost was $0. Here it is another affair, with the annual license and gun club memberships adding up to the hundreds. After a few years of this, you start to think about the cost-benefit, and many people I know have ditched the firearms and the sport.

      • R2M So thats a good example of something we could improve (i.e. reduce compliance costs) without decreasing safety so we should probably do that.

    • Macrobusiness blog has truly ‘jumped the shark’. I figure the author of this article is a paid up member of the greens drinking a certain specific brand of the crazy cool-aide.

      So… You agree with Lleyonjelm that we should have gun laws more like the NRA’s ideal of “none” ?

      Because there’s no argument being made that I can see in favour of any stricter gun control laws in Australia, merely an argument against making them extremely lax.

      You seem to be personifying the kneejerk reaction you are complaining about:

      “Mention firearms in this country and you can guarantee extreme views are held on both sides (but more commonly on the left IMO). It would be nice if a sensible debate could be had without Gun Control Australia jumping in with a crying widow claiming a firearm killed their husband. “

      • ‘Because there’s no argument being made that I can see in favour of any stricter gun control laws in Australia, merely an argument against making them extremely lax’

        Pushing for electronic locks on safe’s? Heavier safes? Club armouries? Central armouries? Controlling ammo as well as the firearm………..

        Increasing difficulty for getting parts or getting quality work done because of overreaching regulation thinning out ‘smiths………… (Another skill set that was a delicate job gone now too).

        I think there’s a push for mission creep……………. I would like to see what NZ has done as comparison, but that’s about it……….

      • Pushing for electronic locks on safe’s? Heavier safes? Club armouries? Central armouries? Controlling ammo as well as the firearm………..

        I can’t see any arguments for such things in the article. Can you quote the relevant parts you’re referring to ?

      • I’m sorry if I got you out of context? But on the ground there seems to be a never ending tightening push – which is the opposite of your sentence I picked up on.

    • @Paul
      Well said — NZ is a perfect example to compare with Australia. Here in WA the cops make it VERY difficult to apply for and own a gun. There is no need for that.
      The opposite in NZ where anyone over 18 can own an air -rifle without even registration AND with no obvious side effects. No way here in OZ!

    • For all his nonsense claiming to be principled, he is just another cranky old rich white guy.

      Like most libertardians

  12. Every potential armed defender of the public is also a potential armed idiot with mental problems.

  13. Oh goodie, the hippies have taken over the commune again…
    Yes DL is a complete cock but sod off on the gun laws please. The laws are more than tight enough these days and enforced quite well such that the number of offences committed by registered firearms owners is pretty modest.
    The issue should really come back to the illegal guns and how little can be/is being done to stop the flow of these. I don’t think that we should be able to carry weapons in defence however – the UK proved that in the early days that criminals arm themselves relative to the threat they are likely to face – more people with guns equals more guns needed to perpetrate a crime.

    • “Yes DL is a complete cock but sod off on the gun laws please. The laws are more than tight enough these days and enforced quite well such that the number of offences committed by registered firearms owners is pretty modest.”

      Who was arguing for tighter gun laws again?

      • David Collyer (second comment in) wants to ban them entirely! We should fit corks to the ends of all of our knives too whilst we’re at it – just to be sure…

  14. It’s hard to argue that a good guy with a gun can’t stop a bad guy with a gun if required. The trouble is sorting the good guys from the bad guys before handing out the guns…..

    • Terror Australis

      AND “good guys” sometimes become “bad guys” in certain contexts:
      – alcohol
      -drugs
      – emotional rage
      – depression
      – plain dumb mistakes
      Even the police suffer the “red mist” syndrome. Plenty of harmless civilians have been killed by trigger happy cops in the states in “hot pursuit” scenarios.

      Everyone is a potential murderer in the wrong set of circumstances. Believe it.

      • No doubt. But the gun lobby and loon pond skimmers don’t deal in nuance and complexity – it makes their heads hurt.

  15. I like the LDP it’s just a shame that their stance on gun ownership is borderline gun advertisement.

    Guns are relatively easy to acquire, for what good reason would anyone wish to escalate violence by way of firepower?

    Its offensive to suggest defence as a reason Whilst neglecting what you may need to defend yourself from.

    Tighten the laws, I myself am a victim of legal gun ownership, the laws are weak.

    • The LDP’s stance on gun ownership is perfectly consistent with their stance on everything else.

      “Me want, fuck you.”

  16. Free men own guys – slaves don’t.

    The worst shooting in America all happen in places which are “gun free” zones. How ironic – they are free of people who can defend themselves!

  17. Talk about some bullshit reasons for guns!

    Port Arthur: How many would be dead if the weapon was a knife?
    Hoddle St; same

    Self Defence or the armed passerby: You’re in a busy restaurant, not open plan with limited viewing and you hear yelling…. “He’s got a gun” You see him pulling out the weapon and starting to aim, you already have yours out as this is what you’ve been waiting for all your life, the HERO moment. You hear shots and fire off a couple, then a third. The first two miss and hit a 10 yr old, killing her instantly, the third hits her father who (your mark) was pulling out his weapon in response to a fight breaking out and hearing “gun.”

    You’re in a reasonable open spaced sports area, but heavily occupied, people are/have been drinking and suddenly yelling, screaming and shots fired within 20m of you and a number of armed people visible to you. Who do you shoot?

    I think these arguments are the dumbest I’ve ever heard, they’ve been running this campaign in the US with bs stats to support them. What training are they going to have to assess how to respond, how are you going to determine what action to take, what experience do you have to make those decisions? If the police see little choice but for their officers to draw and shoot to kill, what are some dumbarse cilvilians going to be able to do? What is the colateral damage going to be? Everyone seems to have a clear cut situation of the baddie, in black, out in the open and obvious to all. I doubt it, more like the last shoot-out at the OK Corral.

    From what distance do you think you could ACCURATELY hit a person, WITHOUT killing someone else, while under intense emotional stress?