Monday, July 11, 2016

Regulating guns reduces mass shooting in Australia

While the US is shaken by the Orlando mass shooting case, Australia seems successful to abandon guns from the society.

In Australia, a major policy reform was conducted in 1996. The government established a new regulation of firearms, in which prohibited guns were subjected to mandatory buyback by the government. A total of 659,940 guns were purchased by the federal government from the owners at market price by 2001. The government retrieved firearms to destroy them.

The Guardian: Australia’s gun laws stopped mass shootings and reduced homicides, study finds

As a result, no mass shooting, defined as murder cases in which five or more people were victimized, has been reported since the regulation was enforced. Furthermore, homicides and suicides using firearms have been declining in a longitudinal trend, according to the authors.

JAMA: Association Between Gun Law Reforms and International Firearm Deaths in Australia, 1979-2013.

This study was conducted by Simon Chapman et al. JAMA is one of the most famous academic journals in the world. It means that the editor of JAMA considered that their study might have a great impact to the readers all over the world.

In this study, the number of suicide cases with firearms was reduced with statistical significance. But, the number of homicide was not. Homicide is rare compared to suicide in Australia. And people commit homicide may tend to gain firearms to ensure killing the target.

The author claims that there is no evidence suggesting people moved to alternative methods for suicides or homicides. It is not easy to prove that a person has canceled suicide or homicide because of the lack of a gun. He could seek another way of causing a fatality. In my impression, many people commit lethal cases based on very temporal rage or sense of despair. Therefore, extinction of firearms (and blades) can be possible to save your life.

The authors emphasized that scientific thought should be prioritized to ideology in policy making. On the other hand, they seem not believe this result will make a change on the US gun control policy because it will take a long time that evidence overcome fear and ideology in the US. In addition, National Rifle Association and relevant lobbyists have great power on policy makers in the US. If gun regulation is strengthened, many people working there will lose the job. I am not sure, but guess that there had been few domestic companies providing firearms in Australia.

In my opinion, there is a Nash’s equilibrium in the US regarding gun policy, as I wrote in the past. Thus, it is extremely difficult to ban firearms in a region many firearms have been spread. However, Australia achieved this tough task. I respect Australian politicians.

My past entry: Gun control and Nash equilibrium

By the way, in Japan, blades have been regulated since a decade ago. In addition to the previous regulation regarding samurai swords, people buying a knife with a long blade must present an ID to the shop. This amendment was conducted in accordance with some stabbing cases using a knife. I am not sure if this regulation has an impact on public safety. Furthermore, it is doubtful that someone is examining the effect of this policy making. Japanese also should learn about evidence.

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