Thursday, December 5, 2013
(Continued from page 1)
Australia's gun homicide rate, 0.13 per 100,000 people, according to GunPolicy.org, is a tiny fraction of that of the United States (3.6 per 100,000 people). It should be noted that our gun homicide rates were already in decline, but the gun laws accelerated that slide.
In a 2010 paper, economists Andrew Leigh and Christine Neill found that the law change had led to a 65 percent decline in the rate of firearm suicides. Firearm homicides fell by 59 percent.
Causality is, again, hotly contested. But what cannot be denied is that 17 years ago, after a brutal killing spree, Australia had a rare moment of national unity, with overwhelming public support and bipartisan agreement on a public health policy that has saved lives.
A nation founded by convicts gave back their guns.
People still get killed in Australia in random crimes. But you cannot blame us for wondering why, when one of our own -- a talented, determined young man -- is mindlessly shot dead in America one sunny day, more cannot be done to stop futile, horrendous moments like these.
Julia Baird is a journalist based in Sydney, Australia. This column was distributed by The Washington Post, where it first appeared.