Independent online media outlet The Conversation has published a comprehensive analysis of research into the National Firearms Agreement (NFA).
It comes after SSAA NSW Chief Executive Officer Diana Melham went on ABC program Q and A questioning the panel about illegal use of firearms by criminals.
In asking her question, Diana highlighted the ineffectiveness of the NFA, which former Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer disputed. It was that disagreement which led The Conversation to conduct its Fact Check.
The lengthy Fact Check analyses the results of several research projects and reports on the findings from each. It contains graphs showing the declining rates of firearm-related homicide and suicide rates before and after the introduction of the NFA, also paying close attention to the 1996 and 2003 compulsory buy-backs.
Something many media outlets fail to do, The Conversation also analysed non firearm-related homicide and suicide rates both before and after the NFA was introduced. The results showed homicides and suicides reduced across the board during the same analysis period.
The Fact Check concluded that there was a clear reduction in firearm-related deaths following the gun buybacks in 1996 and 2003. However, it could not conclusively state the cause of the decreases.
“The difficulty is that there’s no alternative universe in which the buyback and restrictions didn’t take place,” the article said. “So it’s impossible to rule out the possibility that reductions in gun deaths were caused by factors unrelated to the buyback schemes and more restrictive firearm policies.
“Some peer reviewed studies have found that the gun buybacks and stricter regulations led to a decline in the number of gun related deaths – and suicides in particular. Some studies found the National Firearms Agreement overall had modest effects, while other studies were inconclusive.
“What is not in dispute is that in the 15 years prior to 1996, there had been 13 mass shootings in Australia, in which a total of 104 people were killed and 52 were injured.”
SSAA Victoria supports Wang-Sheng Lee and Sandy Suardi’s study, The Australian Firearms Buyback and Its Effect on Gun Deaths, which found little evidence to suggest that the buyback had any significant effects on firearm-related homicides and suicides in Australia.
The report states: “Although gun buybacks appear to be a logical and sensible policy that helps to placate the public’s fears, the evidence so far suggests that in the Australian context, the high expenditure incurred to fund the 1996 gun buyback has not translated into any tangible reductions in terms of firearm deaths.”
SSAA Victoria encourages members to read the analysis by The Conversation and familiarise themselves with the research. Read the article here.