The British Journal of Criminology has just published a report stating that "HALF a billion dollars spent buying back hundreds of thousands of guns (more than 600,000 mainly semi-automatic rifles and pump-action shotguns) had no effect on the homicide rate" in Australia.
"...Homicide patterns (firearm and non-firearm) were not influenced by the NFA, the conclusion being that the gun buyback and restrictive legislative changes had no influence on firearm homicide in Australia," the study says.
In his first year in office, the Prime Minister, John Howard, forced through some of the world's toughest gun laws, including the national buyback scheme, after Martin Bryant used semi-automatic rifles to shoot dead 35 people at Port Arthur.
Although furious licensed gun-owners said the laws would have no impact because criminals would not hand in their guns, Mr Howard and others predicted the removal of so many guns from the community, and new laws making it harder to buy and keep guns, would lead to a reduction in all types of gun-related deaths.
One of the authors of the study, Jeanine Baker, said she knew in 1996 it would be impossible for years to know whether the Prime Minister or the shooters were right.
"I have been collecting data since 1996 … The decision was we would wait for a decade and then evaluate," she said.
The findings were clear, she said: "The policy has made no difference. There was a trend of declining deaths that has continued." (source)
Now, I'm no right-wing gun nut... I don't like them, don't want one in my house and for the life of me can't figure out why anyone would ever need a automatic gun that can't be used for hunting anyway --But I'm also intelligent enough to know that the Constitution guarantees citizens the "right to BEAR arms" and to know that criminals are not obtaining guns through legal channels and aren't registering them. I do believe that tougher gun laws and restrictions would have absolutely no effect on the hoodlums that want a gun or on lowering crime rates... It seems from this extensive study that is indeed the case. Even criminals that partake of the buy-back program are most likely using the money to buy a bigger gun...
This seems even more poignant today as I just heard Philadelphia's police chief Sylvester Johnson is at Capital Hill discussing gun control to "fix" the astronomical homicide rate here...