Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lets Talk Gun Control: Australia vs Switzerland

So with all the major shootings and firearm attacks happening in America the gun control debate is at the forefront of many online and offline discussions. I thought it would be apt to share some of my findings and some of the opinions I have come across on the issue of gun control.

The first thing I need to make clear. Is that no one is calling for all firearms to be banned. You need to understand this clearly before we can proceed. The Gun Lobby (people who sell firearms), have spent a heck of a lot of cash into convincing low information voters that their right to own firearms is being taken away.

This is not true at all. This is FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) that the Gun Lobby are sowing to muddy the waters. Its actually important for you to understand FUD and MTW tactics, but to stay on topic in this article I will just link to the relevant information).

What liberals do want to see is progressive gun reform. Meaning that should someone want to purchase a gun... that there is a paper trail. That the person who purchased the firearm has proved they are mentally and technically qualified to own a firearm

So let me make it clear. All you hunters, armed security guards and responsible citizens have NOTHING to worry about. If you are not bat shit crazy, you will still be able to purchase a firearm once you have shown that you are responsible enough to be in possession of such a dangerous object.

Right now you can walk into Walmart (state specific) and buy an Assault Rifle over the counter. You can have a criminal record (say rape or attempted murder) and purchase firearms at a gun show or online with absolutely NO background checks! You cant buy a Kinders Toy at Walmart but you can buy an assault rifle there!

To the South Africans reading this. I want you to imagine how it would be in South Africa, if criminals were able to purchase firearms at Checkers (with no background checks). How would it be in South Africa if I could buy assault rifles online (with no paper work or background checks)? We have a tough time here in SA. Will selling weapons like that make it better or worse for us?

So now that I have clearly dealt with some of the misinformation that the Gun Lobby is spreading  we can now get onto the empirical evidence and the comparison between Australia and Switzerland that I wanted to show you. I will also be throwing in some information from the United States of America.

Switzerland is often toted by the Gun Lobby as an IdealOrg Gun country. A country where everyone owns a gun and gun related crimes are pretty low. The Gun Lobby do kinda have a point. In so far that yes, Switzerland is a country with a very high percentage of firearms and yes, gun deaths are not as high in Switzerland as they are in America.

However, that's only part of the story. Yeah there are less gun related homicides. There are also less homicides over all. Switzerland does not suffer badly from the instability of social inequality that countries like the USA have. It makes sense that they would have less crime and ergo less gun homicides than most countries.

However, here is the kicker. Even with everyone and the kitchen sink owning a firearm. Mass murders with firearms still happen. In 2001 a mass murderer took his firearm and shot up the Swiss parliament (one of the most secure and gun protected places in Switzerland). He ended up killing 14 people and injuring another 14.

 So even in a country, where everyone has a firearm , mass murders with firearms still happen.

Now I hope you can see where I am going with this. The Gun Lobby tells us that the solution to end gun violence is more guns. It didn't help those massacred in Switzerland.

 Let me bring America into this quickly to reinforce the point I am trying to make. In 2009 a mass murderer with a gun went on a killing rampage in Fort Hood, Texas. Let that sink in. A guy with a rifle attacked an entire base of people with rifles. 13 people were killed and 30 injured.

So what I can (and I hope you can) deduct from this is that more guns does NOT mean less violent mass murder gun shootings. An entire army base of guys with rifles did not stop the Texas psychopath from going full crazy and shooting up people.

Now lets get back to the Switzerland vs Australia debate. In Australia, they were faced with similar problems that America is now facing. There were regular mass murders with firearms. I believe that there were 13 mass killings in 18 years. A massive amount!

So what did Australia do? Did they go the American way and give everyone a gun? No. The conservative government brought in some very very strict gun regulations. These regulations are so effective that since John Howard (a conservative) introduced them, there has not been a single mass killing in the whole of Australia.

So far as mass killings are going. Australia is doing better than Switzerland. The empirical evidence has spoken.

I think the person who made this point the best was John Oliver from The Daily Show (the most trusted name in new.... no really!) says it best:

Please watch the following video.

So what the conclusion to all of this? Well, I have given you some interesting and relevant information to work with. I have shown you how different countries with different gun laws handle this issue. 

I guess it comes down to what do YOU think is more important. A safer society (with progressive gun regulations) or a society where gun profits are more important (with no gun regulations). 


  1. Unfortunately, you are misinformed--as are many people.

    First, the mass killings at Fort Hood did not happen in an environment where soldiers were all carrying loaded firearms. Unlike places such as Israel, only the police on a typical U.S. Military base have loaded firearms at their disposal. Arms and/or ammunition are stored under lock an key outside of combat zones.

    Next, the mythical "gun show loophole" that is bandied about so often simply doesn't exist. Dealers at gun shows must call in background checks on any buyer to whom they sell. That doesn't, however, prohibit a would-be citizen gun seller from conducting a sale with a would-be buyer on or around the premises of a gun show ... but the same two parties could conduct the same sale, quite legally, at a wedding or a funeral, if they wished to do so. It has nothing to do with gun shows, but that sounds all "FUDdy" It works both ways.

    Next, in the U.S. guns are so pervasive that better than 40% of an estimated 300 million firearms are already out in the public with no paper trail (FBI stats). It is from this roughly 120 million firearms that nearly every gun used in the commission of a crime (excluding suicide) comes (more FBI stats). Attempts to disarm criminals before the commission of a crime, therefore, are pretty futile. There are already more than enough guns to go around. Also, if we can't control the illegal importation of tons of marijuana and harder drugs, or even illegal human beings, what makes us think that we can stop the illegal smuggling of firearms by criminals with more than enough money to pay a premium for them? To them, it's another cost of doing business ... with the expense coming out of the pockets of victims.

    Finally, the big issue about what arms will, or will not, be illegal has U.S. gun owners concerned. Already we have had attempts at defining "assault weapons" that could encompass everything from an AK47 to a Boy Scout Commemorative .22 rifle. That's what has gun owners in the U.S. concerned. Politicians are not in agreement on their objectives or methods. In the absence of clear information, U.S. gun owners are concerned. After all, our current Vice President seems to think that the only firearm necessary to have for sport or hunting is a shotgun.

  2. 1) For hood had armed MP`s like any military base. Since then there have been additional armed attacks on military bases.

    2) The gun show loophole is certainly not mythical and is well documented There is also the "bought online" loophole.

    3) The argument that you need to have guns because only criminals will have guns is ridiculous. Thats like arguing you should have crack cocaine because criminals have it. Thats what your argument boils down to. If the criminals are breaking the law there should be no law.

    America needs to wake up and mature. Until then you are going to be the country with the most firearms, having the most mass killings by random civilians with firearms.

    You can have firearms and be responsible about it. For Gods sake, you need a licence to drive a car, the same requirements should apply to a firearm. Be more responsible. Stop being so extreme.

    Please see the video shown here on Australia. Thanks.