Firearms in Australia’s Black Market

When something is made illegal it is inevitable that a black market for that good will form. Cocaine, marijuana, heroin, meth, and many more illegal substances are not excessively difficult for someone to obtain if they put their mind to it. The US government learned this during prohibition and now is relearning it as the war on drugs comes to an end. Why then would anyone assume that banning guns would mean that no one could access them? Australia is learning this the hard way.

In 1994, Australia passed huge firearm legislation that banned huge numbers of semi-automatic firearms and created a buyback program that was intended to get them out of the hands of civilians. The buyback was not optional of course. If you refused to sell your firearm then you would be arrested and tried for possession of an illegal weapon. The intention of these laws was to reduce the crime rate within the country. Instead, the laws paved the way for an illegal gun trade to form in Australia that “Police admit they cannot eradicate…” as mentioned by the south Australian newspaper the Adelaide Advertiser. Many of the people that are being supplied these weapons are not even criminals. According to The Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia and Franz Csaszar—a professor at the University of Vienna—the buyback program saw a compliance level of around 19-20 percent. So people who are otherwise law-abiding citizens were made criminals by a law passed that was intended to target criminals.

Civilians now have a very hard time obtaining firearms in Australis, but the criminal market for these weapons has exploded. It is common for authorities to find that “Motorcycle gang members and convicted criminals barred from buying guns in South Australia have no difficulty obtaining illegal firearms – including fully automatic weapons”. Furthermore, The New Daily—an Australian newspaper—recently gained access to unpublished data on firearm offences which showed an increase in crime “Including a massive 83 per cent increase in firearms offences in NSW between 2005/06 and 2014/15, and an even bigger jump in Victoria over the same period”.

Australia is a generally peaceful country over all, so this data is not as frightening as it may seem. It is important to note however that Australia saw almost no decrease in its homicide rate after imposing these new laws. The average stayed at 1.8 per 100,000. Meanwhile, the US saw a massive decrease over the same time period from 9.3 per 100,000 in 1992 to 4.5 per 100,000 in 2014. The drop in the US homicide rate is largely due to falling violent crime and the end of the “War on Drugs” as it has been coined.

Based on this data it is difficult for me to understand why politicians support an Australian based firearm law when there is absolutely no evidence that It has any effect on homicide rates. Homicide rates in the US have plummeted over the last decade while Australia’s stay the same.



2 thoughts on “Firearms in Australia’s Black Market

  1. ezd5155

    My main point with this issue is always this; the second amendment states that the free people of the United States have the right to bear arms in the possible case that they may have to stand up to government tyranny. We have rights to guns not because guns are cool, but because we have the right rise up and defend ourselves. Democratic governments have become tyrannical in the past, and ours is no exception. I’m not saying this will happen in the next ten years, or even the next 100 years, but if ever it does happen, we must always have the right to stand up to it.

    Drugs and guns may not correlate in a literal sense, but the bones of his argument are correct; stopping legal gun sales will have no effect on the firearm black market.

    As for drugs not having detrimental effects outside the user, I beg to differ. Drugs tear apart families, communities, and can cause people to destroy themselves and others.

  2. Lauretta Kraemer

    Well first of all guns aren’t drugs, I would hope they don’t have the same addictive tendencies of the actual drugs you named yet they have much more detrimental outcomes. Also, doing drugs does not harm the people around you, they are not at risk, you and you alone are responsible for what happens. Guns have the ability to immediately end the lives of those near it when put in the wrong hands. Drugs on the other hand, when put in the wrong hands lead to self-destruction. I don’t see the comparison between harming those around you and only yourself as an argument for guns to be treated like drugs and allow the continued sale of them…because people are addicted to them (?). I don’t see it.

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