Guns, or why the American right wing are STILL wrong

In December 2014, following two violent incidents in Australia, I wrote this post. A gunman had taken hostage several people in a Sydney café – leading to several deaths – and a woman had killed 8 children in Cairns, Queensland.

In my blog, I invited people to look at some facts.  For ease, I’m just going to copy that section over:

Australia

In 1996 after a gun massacre in Tasmania the Australian government introduced tightened gun control rules.  Since then there have been NO mass shootings in Australia.

John Howard, the conservative Prime Minister who brought in the legislation thinks that the gun laws are a success. ‘“The gun laws that were brought in after Port Arthur massacre made Australia a safer place,” Howard said.’

In 2012 (hang on, when I come onto America I will post 2012s figures)  there were 297 homicides in Australia, with 1.3 victims per 100,000 population.

And in Queensland, before someone stupidly calls for “knife control” – there is.

America

In America, gun laws are a mess.

In America, there have been frequent mass shootings since 1996 – to cite just one, the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut a couple of years ago.

In America we know that there are a gazillion guns, no-one knows the precise figure since no records are kept.

In 2012 in America there were 14 173 homicides, a rate of 4.8 homicides per hundred thousand head of population.

Before I move on to the events of today, in Paris, I’d like to look at what happened in America since those events in Australia something like a month ago.  Since there are believed to be more guns than humans in America there has got to have been only a very few homicides, right?  After all, if we believe the propaganda of 2nd Amendment advocates there is always going to be a good guy with a gun to stop any nastiness – especially over Christmas?

2nd January 2015 – 6 year old child dead, and two injured in Montfort.

2nd January 2015 – 3 dead in Modesto.

4th January 2015 – 2 dead and 4 injured in Roanoke.

7th January 2015 – 2 dead in El Paso.

You get the idea…

So, today, in France there was a mass shooting where as I write this 12 people are dead.  And if one were to head over to Facebook then one would find exactly the same arguments laid out by the American right.  That there shouldn’t have been a gun ban in France (there wasn’t) and that guns are good.

Let’s look at some French statistics:

Here we go, I’m prepared to accept Sporting Shooter Magazine as a valid source, and according to that esteemed publication there is no gun ban in France:

“In September of 2013, the French adopted a four-category weapon classification model recommended by the EU, that is a great simplification of the previous eight-category model. This simplification has in itself been a matter for celebration by Frenchmen.

Category A covers military weapons such as tanks, bazookas and machine guns that are not available to the public.

As a system of ministerial permit/‘end-user certificate’, would cover military equipment purchases in transit, and if, god forbid, Germany or France’s oldest enemy England were ever to attempt another invasion, I doubt if the invaders would seek to register its guns in France first! So I can only assume this has been included to cover equipment that still may be lurking for 70 or so years in garages, basements and barns across France.

Category B is for Military Style Semi Automatics (MSSA) such as the Kalashnikov, M-16, handguns, etc. These items are heavily regulated and available only by special permit.

Category C covers sporting shotguns and rifles, including semi-automatics with a 3-5 shot capacity. These are quite easy to get for anyone obtaining a hunting or target shooting licence.

Category D is divided into two categories. Category 1 is for single-shot or double-barrelled shotguns, and black powder firearms. Again, one needs a hunting or target permit for this. Category 2 relates to pepper spray weapons, stun guns, air guns generating energy of 2-20 Joules and decommissioned firearms. One does not need a licence for these weapons, although one must be over 18 years of age. Air soft paintball markers are not regulated, as they fall below the 2-Joule energy category.”

I’ve copied the above over from their website, but feel free to take a look for yourself here.

And now let’s look at homicides, in a country that according to a typical American gun-nut needs more guns to keep crime under control:

In 2012 there were 665 homicides reported, according to this article. That makes slightly over 1 homicide per hundred thousand head of population.

So the 3 countries figures compared look like this:

Australia – 1.3 homicides per hundred thousand head of population

France – 1.0 homicides per hundred thousand head of population

America – 4.8 homicides per hundred thousand head of population.

Conclusion

In spite of today’s rhetoric by Americas gun loving commentators there is no evidence that more guns = fewer homicides.  Quite the reverse: America is the only country on the globe with more guns than people, and the only “western” country with an obscenely high homicide rate.

Terrorist attacks

Some information regarding the number of terrorist attacks in America, France and the UK can be found here.

This is the little snippet that I would like to highlight:

Between 2004-2013, the UK suffered 400 terrorist attacks, mostly in Northern Ireland, and almost all of them were non-lethal. The US suffered 131 attacks, fewer than 20 of which were lethal. France suffered 47 attacks.

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