Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What Other Countries Did to Stop Gun Violence


It makes sense for President Obama to study the models of other countries that have dealt with gun violence and stamped it out of their society.  It should give us all hope that there are places in the world where politicians have said "enough" and stood up quickly to the right wing gun lobbyists - in Australia it only took them 12 Days to get going!!!  It's got to happen here in the U.S. because the alternative is chaos and anarchy - and more death. It has to happen now - there's no turning back.

The Finland Approach
Finland's established culture of gun ownership (1.5 million firearms in a country of 5 million people) was called into question after two horrific shooting incidents at schools that took place within a year of each other.
On Nov. 7, 2007, a teenager in Tuusula killed eight people before killing himself at Jokela High School. Just a year later, on Sept. 23, a gunman shot 10 people on the campus of Kauhajoki city's School of Hospitality before turning the gun on himself, according to CNN.
In the wake of the shootings, Finland raised the minimum age for firearm licenses from 15 to 20 for short weapons and to 18 for hunting guns, according to Agence France Presse.
"No one in a country like Finland needs to have a gun at home," said Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja in August 2011, following the rampage by Anders Behring Breivik, in neighboring Norway.

NYT: Australia, Scotland, and Japan
Australia is an excellent example. In 1996, a “pathetic social misfit,” as a judge described the lone gunman, killed 35 people with a spray of bullets from semiautomatic weapons. Within weeks, the Australian government was working on gun reform laws that banned assault weapons and shotguns, tightened licensing and financed gun amnesty and buyback programs.

At the time, the prime minister, John Howard, said, “We do not want the American disease imported into Australia.” The laws have worked. The American Journal of Law and Economics reported in 2010 that firearm homicides in Australia dropped 59 percent between 1995 and 2006. In the 18 years before the 1996 laws, there were 13 gun massacres resulting in 102 deaths, according to Harvard researchers, with none in that category since.

Similarly, after 16 children and their teacher were killed by a gunman in Dunblane, Scotland, in 1996, the British government banned all private ownership of automatic weapons and virtually all handguns. Those changes gave Britain some of the toughest gun control laws in the developed world on top of already strict rules. Hours of exhaustive paperwork are required if anyone wants to own even a shotgun or rifle for hunting. The result has been a decline in murders involving firearms.

. . . In Japan, which has very strict laws, only 11 people killed with guns in 2008, compared with 12,000 deaths by firearms that year in the United States — a huge disparity even accounting for the difference in population.

Slate: The Australian Model after 1996 shooting
At the heart of the push was a massive buyback of more than 600,000 semi-automatic shotguns and rifles, or about one-fifth of all firearms in circulation in Australia. The country’s new gun laws prohibited private sales, required that all weapons be individually registered to their owners, and required that gun buyers present a “genuine reason” for needing each weapon at the time of the purchase. (Self-defense did not count.) In the wake of the tragedy, polls showed public support for these measures at upwards of 90 percent.
What happened next has been the subject of several academic studies. Violent crime and gun-related deaths did not come to an end in Australia, of course. But as the Washington Post’s Wonkblog pointed out in August, homicides by firearm plunged 59 percent between 1995 and 2006, with no corresponding increase in non-firearm-related homicides. The drop in suicides by gun was even steeper: 65 percent. Studies found a close correlation between the sharp declines and the gun buybacks. Robberies involving a firearm also dropped significantly. 

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