Several studies have examined the effect of removing so many weapons from communities in such a short time, finding that the implementation of the NFA resulted in a reduction of more than 50 percent in the number of gunshot victims. Except for one severe mass shooting that occurred in 2018, since Port Arthur homicides, suicides, and mass killings became less common. While people are still privately owning firearms, interestingly, gun deaths have significantly gone down.
Is the US fit for the Australian approach to guns?
Many gun control advocates claim that the United States should institute tighter restrictions to curb gun violence like in Australia. But is that all that is needed? In the United States, the culture of gun ownership is deeply rooted in the Second Amendment of the Constitution, just like all the other values that make America a great nation.
The frequent mass shootings have stirred many debates over gun control in the United States but never led to drastic changes in the country's legal system. According to the Switzerland-based Small Arms survey, despite representing a small percentage of the world's population, civilian-owned guns represent 46% of the American country as of 2018, when the survey was carried out. Because of their painful experience in Port Arthur in 1996, Australians understand how Americans felt after the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting in Connecticut on December 14, 2012.
So could the "Australian way" work in the US? Probably not – and for a good reason. As of today, Australia has the tightest gun control policies in the Pacific, and although the 1996 laws were specifically designed to only reduce mass shootings, the rates of homicide and suicide have decreased as well. On the other hand, there are no laws in the US that ban military-style .50 caliber rifles, handguns, or semiautomatic assault weapons. While this may upset many gun control advocates, it is evident that weapons cannot be completely eradicated.
Gun deaths in the USA versus Australia; Since the introduction of strict gun legislation in the latter in 1996, deaths caused by guns have reduced significantly. [Source: Wikimedia]
The culture of America's Second Amendment right to bear arms does not exist in Australia, which may explain why gun deaths have so sharply decreased despite people still owning their weapons. The efficiency of government action should also be considered. In 1996, all six Australian states took only 12 days to agree to pass strict gun control legislation. As for the U.S., it is hard to imagine all 50 states ever agree in such a short period.
To conclude, while the United States and Australia have a similar political system, the way the two countries regulate the use of firearms is very different. In Australia, there is simply no correlation between the citizen and the gun, whereas in the US firearms are part of a citizen's right and freedom. For this reason, it is unlikely that the United States may replicate the Australian system. Nevertheless, the debate over gun ownership remains an open door, and it will be interesting to see if these two powerful countries will ever resemble one another in their battle against guns.
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