: : Actually, you don't have the Constitutional right to bear arms. No Federal court has ever upheld this as a right. Look it up.
: : Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you. Of course, it doesn't mean that they are either.
: : Sheesh. You crazy Americans...
: We had a debate on this board which went on to guns if your in the mood for a perusal. it even included a lengthy dissection of the wording of the second Amendment!
: By the way, I understand guns were banned in Australia a year ago and have read reports, based on a full 12 months of data: Australia-wide, homicides up 3.2 percent. Australia-wide, assaults up 8.6 percent. Australia-wide, armed-robberies up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent.) In the state of Victoria, homicides-with-firearms are up 300 percent. (Up until tthis point, figures for the previous 25 years had shown a steady decrease in homicides with firearms, as well as armed robberies)
*I don't think I'm well versed enough with the relevant statistics to really weigh into this debate at present. Most of my research time is concerned with imminent exams. I will make a couple of points however.
*The new gun restrictions, far from "banning guns", were only concerned with eliminating 'military style' assault weapons. It is still possible for Mr. Goodcitizen to own and, I assume, use a hand-gun or a shot-gun or any number of the other more friendly varieties of fire arms - never-the-less, effective at stopping an armed intruder.
*Statistics are pointless when debating this issue. I'm sure that with a little effort on my part I could find some very convincing statistics proving that gus are in fact evil. I would be interested in looking at the percentage of fire arms offences committed with the newly illegal weapons for example.
Also, percentages are a little dodgy if you're talking about Australia. The population is quite small and we have a fairly low crime rate to begin with. I don't know the exact figures for Victoria but it is not inconceivable that a handfull of men going crazy and killing their families could bump up the murder rate by 300%. It could just as easily drop by 90% the next year.
*The episode which sparked off the new round of gun laws - when 35 people were killed at Port Arthur one day (you may have heard of it in spite of living in the US;) ) - was actually using a legally purchased weapon. I find this unacceptable. For any member of the community to have the power of life and death over so many others, on what was really a whim, is disgusting. Nobody needs a machine gun to defend themselves from a burglar. If somebody is really intent on breaking into you're house and killing you in you're sleep then you are simply never going to wake up.
: : Although at the time of the "victim disarmament" order, the Aussie prime minister decreed "Self-defense is not a reason for owning a firearm," there has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the elderly, now left with no means to protect themselves. (One wonders whether the prime minister's personal bodyguards gave up their military-style weapons.) The report says: "Australian politicians are on the spot and at a loss to explain how no improvement in 'safety' has been observed after such monumental effort and expense to successfully 'rid society of guns.'"
*I tend to be a little cynical when anyone talks about increased break ins and assaults on the elderly - especially when they have an agenda to push. Politicians do it every election. And what the hell were you thinking, getting gun info from the NRA? That's like getting info on smoking related deaths from Camel.
*Just a note, we don't have the same fear of government which seems to exist in the US. Our army is fully stretched doing peacekeeping stuff in East Timor. Asking them to repress every person in a country the size of Australia (7 million square kilometers) would be simply ridiculous.
: What do you reckon? Bad luck?
*Partly. I would say, however, that we have to look far beyond the simple availability of weapons to find the answers to the problem. Switzerland has one of the highest gun ownership rates in the world but has nothing like the related deaths you see in the US. The culture which says that guns are actually a good thing mixed with an every man for himself mindset seems to make for dangerous times.
I am not scared of the government.
I don't think that my private property is worth killing for.
If somebody wants to kill me, I think they would be able to find a way to do it whether I have a gun or not.
Guns in the community will eventually fall into the hands of the psychotic or the very angry.
I believe that it is better that the guns not be there in the first place.
: (I was told about this and got a link, the report is available as "Surprise, Surprise" in the "Archive News" section of the web sight http://www.nralive.com)
*I had trouble with this because I'm using an ancient version of netscape in an underfunded university. Damn this economic rationalist government. However, I'm sure it's very interesting.
p.s Our prime minister is a tosser. Take anything he says with a grain of salt.