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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Gun Control in Australia

Q: Did gun control in Australia lead to more murders there last year?

A: This ‘Gun History Lesson’ is recycled bunk from a decade ago. Murders in Australia actually are down to record lows.


Is this true??

A little Gun History Lesson

In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated

China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million  political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and  exterminated.

Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000  Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and  exterminated.

Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000  Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated..

Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one  million ‘educated’ people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up  and exterminated.

Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century  because of gun control: 56 million.

It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by their own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars. The first year results are now in:

Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent.

Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent.

Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent)!

In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up
300 percent. Note that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in,
the criminals did not, and criminals still possess their guns!

It will never happen here? I bet the Aussies said that too!

While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months, since criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is  unarmed.

There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the ELDERLY. Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort and expense was expended in successfully ridding Australian society of guns. The Australian experience and the other historical facts above prove it.

You won’t see this data on the US evening news, or hear politicians disseminating this information.

Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws adversely affect only the law-abiding citizens..

Take note my fellow Americans, before it’s too late!

The next time someone talks in favor of gun control, please remind him of this history lesson.

With Guns…………We Are ‘Citizens’.

Without Them……..We Are ‘Subjects’..

During W.W…II the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED!

Note: Admiral Yamamoto who crafted the attack on Pearl Harbor had attended Harvard U 1919-1921 & was Naval Attaché to the U. S… 1925-28. Most of our Navy was destroyed at Pearl Harbor & our Army had been deprived of funding & was ill prepared to defend the country.

It was reported that when asked why Japan did not follow up the Pearl Harbor attack with an invasion of the U. S. Mainland, his reply was that he had lived in the U. S. & knew that almost all households had guns.

If you value your freedom, spread this anti-gun control message to your friends!


Update, Oct. 4, 2017: For more recent information on this topic, please see “Gun Control in Australia, Updated,” an item we published on Oct. 4, 2017.

The e-mail says that “[i]t has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms.” Actually, it’s been 13 years since Australian gun law was originally changed. In 1996, the government banned some types of guns, instituted a buyback program and imposed stricter licensing and registration requirements. Gun ownership rates in Australia declined from 7 percent to 5 percent. Another law in 2002 tightened restrictions a bit more, restricting caliber, barrel length and capacity for sport shooting handguns.

Have murders increased since the gun law change, as claimed? Actually, Australian crime statistics show a marked decrease in homicides since the gun law change. According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, a government agency, the number of homicides in Australia did increase slightly in 1997 and peaked in 1999, but has since declined to the lowest number on record in 2007, the most recent year for which official figures are available.

Homicides in Australia

Furthermore, murders using firearms have declined even more sharply than murders in general since the 1996 gun law. In the seven years prior to 1997, firearms were used in 24 percent of all Australian homicides. But most recently, firearms were used in only 11 percent of Australian homicides, according to figures for the 12 months ending July 1, 2007. That’s a decline of more than half since enactment of the gun law to which this message refers.

Some scholars even credit the 1996 gun law with causing the decrease in deaths from firearms, though they are still debating that point. A 2003 study from AIC, which looked at rates between 1991 and 2001, found that some of the decline in firearm-related homicides (and suicides as well) began before the reform was enacted. On the other hand, a 2006 analysis by scholars at the University of Sydney concluded that gun fatalities decreased more quickly after the reform. Yet another analysis, from 2008, from the University of Melbourne, concluded that the buyback had no significant effect on firearm suicide or homicide rates.

So there’s no consensus about whether the changes decreased gun violence or had little to no effect. But the only argument we’ve seen arguing that it caused an increase in murder comes from our anonymous e-mail author.

The claims about Australian gun control were circulating as far back as 2001, when Snopes.com went over them and concluded that they were a “small, mixed grab bag of short-term statistics” signifying little.

Historical Humbug

The e-mail’s historical information is not much better. One of the more fanciful claims in the message is that during World War II “the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED!” In fact, according to the U.S. Army’s Center for Military History, Japan in World War II had set its sights mainly on Asia; its attacks on U.S. military targets were intended to clear the way for Asian conquests.

American Military History, p. 165: Japan entered World War II with limited aims and with every intention of fighting a limited war. Its principal objectives were to secure the resources of Southeast Asia and much of China and to establish a “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere” under Japanese hegemony. Japan believed it necessary to destroy or neutralize American striking power in the Pacific (the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor and the U.S. Far East Air Force in the Philippines) to secure its otherwise open strategic flank before moving southward and eastward to occupy Malaya, the Netherlands Indies, the Philippines, Wake Island, Guam, the Gilbert Islands, Thailand, and Burma.

Japan had no thought of invading the U.S. mainland, and the idea it was deterred from such an invasion by fear of homeowners with guns in their closets is historically absurd.

(Note: The author alludes to a belief, widely held by supporters of gun rights, that Japan’s WW II Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto advised his country’s leaders against invading the U.S., supposedly saying “You cannot invade mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.” This alleged quote appears literally thousands of times in various Internet postings. So far we have seen none that cite any source, or even give a specific time, date or place where Yamamoto is supposed to have said or written this. We invite any of our readers who can validate this remark to send us a citation that we can check out. Until then we must classify this alleged quote as unverified and probably a fabrication.)

Update, May 11: We contacted Donald M. Goldstein, sometimes called “the dean of Pearl Harbor historians.” Among his many books are “The Pearl Harbor Papers: Inside the Japanese Plans (1993)” and the best-selling “At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor (1981).” He is a professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. He told us the supposed Yamamoto quote is “bogus.”

In an exchange of e-mails he said:

Prof. Goldstein: I have never seen it in writing. It has been attributed to the Prange files [the files of the late Gordon W. Prange, chief historian on the staff of Gen. Douglas MacArthur] but no one had ever seen it or cited it from where they got it. Some people say that it came from our work but I never said it. … As of today it is bogus until someone can cite when and where.

As for the other claims, we talked to Dr. Robert Spitzer, a political science professor and the author of “The Politics of Gun Control” and two other books on gun control legislation. Spitzer called the e-mail “a cartoonish view of the complex events” regarding the rise of Nazi Germany, the Cambodian mass killings and the other events that the anonymous author attributes to gun laws. “The people who write these things don’t know comparative politics, they don’t know international relations, they haven’t studied war,” Spitzer told us.

We have no doubt that Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot tried to keep guns out of the hands of ordinary citizens. But that doesn’t mean that gun control necessarily leads to totalitarian dictatorships. This reasoning is a classic example of the fallacy known as “post hoc, ergo propter hoc” – “after this, therefore because of this.” The fact that one thing happens after another does not mean that there’s any causation involved. And that rule would apply to anyone making an argument completely counter to that of our e-mail author, as well. Simply saying “Australian law reform reduced gun fatalities,” if all you know is that deaths dropped after 1996, would be post hoc ergo propter hoc, too.

In summary, this author’s claims are simplistic, fallacious and unsupported by historical or current evidence.

– Jess Henig


Chapman, S. et al. “Australia’s 1996 gun law reforms: faster falls in firearm deaths, firearm suicides, and a decade without mass shootings.” Injury Prevention. 6 Nov. 2006.

Mouzos, Jenny and Catherine Rushforth. “Firearm related deaths in Australia, 1991-2001.” Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice. Nov. 2003.

Lee, Wang-Sheng and Sandy Suardi. “The Australian Firearms Buyback and Its Effect on Gun Deaths.” Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research. Aug 2008.

Williams, Daniel. “Australia’s Gun Laws: Little Effect.” Time. 1 May 2008.

Dearden, Jack and Warwick Jones. “Homicide in Australia: 2006–07 National Homicide Monitoring Program annual report.” Australian Institute of Criminology. 2008.

Australian Institute of Criminology. “Australian Crime: Facts and Figures.” 2009.

United States Army Center for Military History. American Military History, Volume II. 2005.