Judy Spady writes that the gun ban in Australia – called the 1996 National Firearms Agreement, or NFA – had no significant impact per Australia’s Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (Letters, Herald, Dec. 24). Apparently, that’s material picked out by gun advocates to mislead the American public in support of their assault weapons-loving cause.
Spady’s cited statistics for assault, sexual assault and violent crime are irrelevant as documented in a 2011 Harvard University report summarizing the research on the NFA: “There have not been any studies examining the effect of the buyback on crime other than homicide. Some scientists believed that the buyback might reduce firearm crime, but most saw no reason to expect that it would significantly affect non-firearm crime.”
Further, Harvard cites studies that state:
“The NFA seems to have been incredibly successful in terms of lives saved. While 13 gun massacres (the killing of four or more people at one time) occurred in Australia in the 18 years before the NFA, resulting in more than 100 deaths, in the following 14 years (and up to the present), there were no gun massacres.”
“The NFA also seems to have reduced firearm homicide outside of mass shootings, as well as firearm suicide.”
“Additional evidence strongly suggests that the buyback causally reduced firearm deaths. First, the drop in firearm deaths was largest among the type of firearms most affected by the buyback. Second, firearm deaths in states with higher buyback rates per capita fell proportionately more than in states with lower buyback rates.
“The rates of total firearm deaths, firearm homicides and firearm suicides all at least doubled their existing rates of decline after the gun laws; there is no evidence of substitution for suicides or homicides.”
Finally, Harvard writes that “two evaluations found little effect of the law, but their design made it almost impossible to find an effect.”
You may obtain the Harvard report at: www.hsph.harvard.edu/research/hicrc/files/bulletins_australia_spring_2011.pdf
Bruce E. Rodman