PRESS RELEASE:  Issued October 3rd 2006

Gun Crime Rate Not Affected By Gun Laws

National firearms activist group The Coalition of Law Abiding Sporting Shooters Inc. has praised the report into firearms and violent crime in NSW 1995-2005. Issued by NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR), Report No. 98 confirmed what firearms activists and the general community have been saying for many years - the crime rate in general and gun crime in particular is not influenced by so-called tough gun laws!

CLASS President, Peter Whelan explained, “The BOCSAR report shows that for all the tough gun laws, billion dollar gun buy backs and gun bans, crime with a firearm continued at about the same rate during the 11 years of the study period. The number of people murdered each year with a firearm had been declining steadily since the 1980s, and even following the 1996/97 gun buyback and the 2003 handgun buyback that did not change significantly. “The BOCSAR report even states that the number of people killed each year by guns is very small and year-to-year variations could be random fluctuations.  

 “Interestingly, while the BOCSAR report highlights the fact that knives were used in 36.7% of murders in NSW during 2005, there is no comparative historical trend data for knives or other weapons used in violent crimes. Therefore, it is difficult to assess whether method substitution occurred or any external factors influenced the fluctuations in firearms crime.  

 The Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported separately that while suicides involving firearms have declined, alternative methods have been used with no fall in the overall rate of suicides. Similarly, Australian Institute of Criminology reports have shown murders involving firearms to be in decline, but that murders from other methods had increased. (AIC National Homicide Monitoring Program, Report No 46) 

 “The BOCSAR report also shows that more people were murdered using no weapon at all, (i.e. brute force such as hands and feet) than were murdered by firearms!  This just confirms what licenced gun owners have always claimed - no matter what gun laws we may have, criminals will always be able to get a gun or a knife, or will commit crimes without any weapon at all.  

“Surprisingly, the report did not contain any data on whether the gun crimes of murder, robbery or shoot with intent to kill were carried out with registered firearms. Considering the vast amount of money and resources required to set up and operate the NSW Firearms Registry, it would have been helpful if the data could have revealed if the complex firearms registration system had been of any value.  It is widely known there are far more unregistered firearms in the community than are recorded in the Registry's database.”  

Whelan also pointed out that Canada has recently decided to disband the firearms registry set up in 1995, as it was shown to be of no assistance in stopping or solving any crimes.

For further supporting information please contact:

Peter Whelan   President, Coalition of Law Abiding Sporting Shooters Inc.