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Could the US learn from Australia's gun-control laws?

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A paper for the American Law and Economics Review by Andrew Leigh of the Australian National University and Christine Neill of the Wilfrid Laurier University reports that the buyback led to a drop in the firearm suicide rates of almost 80 percent, "with no significant effect on non-firearm death rates. The effect on firearm homicides is of similar magnitude but is less precise.”

Perhaps the most convincing statistic for many, though, is that in the decade before the Port Arthur massacre, there were 11 mass shootings in the country. Since the new law, there hasn’t been one shooting spree.
 
In the wake of the shooting, polls indicated that up to 85 percent of Australians supported the measures taken by the government.

In the wake of the Newtown shooting, several Australian politicians are now suggesting that the US adopt Australia’s gun laws. “I implore you to look at our experience,” Labor Member of Parliament Kelvin Thomson wrote in an open letter to the US Congress that he also posted on his official website. “As the number of guns in Australia reduced, so too did gun violence. It is simply not true that owning a gun makes you safer.”

Mixed views

But the nation still has some steps to take before becoming the perfect example, cautions Queensland Member of Parliament Bob Katter.

“I think we are absolutely reprehensible, we have done nothing, not one single overt act, to separate the guns from the people who are mentally unhinged," he told reporters recently.
 
Although the laws imposed strict licensing rules, critics here point out that Australia has yet to actually ban semiautomatic handguns completely – they are still available for police and hunters – and that there are other loopholes. They also note that most of the guns used in violent crimes, both before and after the 1996 law, were unregistered. 

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