: : 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.
Don: All semi-auto long arms are banned, as are pump action shotguns. Handguns have been heavily restricted for years.
: *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.
Don: Statistics can be misused, but they are hardly "pointless".
: 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.
Don: The homicide rate down under had been dropping for years before the law was enacted, then it jumped. The population is large enough for statistical purposes.
: *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.
Don: And there is NOTHING you can do about this. You do not need a gun to kill lots of people (at one time mass homicide was comitted with swords with great effect), and you can't prevent people from obtaining guns (they are simple technology and they will always exist on the black market). What you will do by passing restrictive laws is: 1) disarm the GOOD citizens 2)Create a profitable black market for criminals.
:Nobody needs a machine gun to defend themselves from a burglar.
Don: My rights are NOT defined by what YOU think I need. Further, burglars are NOT the ONLY thing I may need to defend myself from.
: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.
Don: If someone tries that they are real stupid. We might as well label their death a suicide, 'cause they don't have a chance. They can not get anywhere near me without waking me up. I will wait for them and kill them. I am not bragging: it is easy for someone who is armed and prepared to ensure their security in these circumstances. If someone wishes to kill me, there are other ways where they would have a chance.
: *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.
Don: Gun control does seem to increase home invasion type crimes, and crimes against the week: woman, the old, the young . . .
: *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.
Don: You don't have the same concept of freedom, either.
: : 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.
Don: Likewise, countries like Taiwan and Russia and Mexico have strict gun control and very high homicide rates.
: I am not scared of the government.
Don: I'm not scared of mine, either. But I don't trust it.
: I don't think that my private property is worth killing for.
Don: I believe that my life and liberty ARE 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.
Don: Right now, I don't think anyone out there specifically wants to kill me. If I'm wrong, and someone who knows what he is doing is planning to kill me, he WILL succeed--because I do not know he is out there. More likely, some looser may choose me as a victim. If so, it will probably turn out VERY BAD for HIM. Having a gun is a very good part of a defense plan against the MOST LIKELY attack. It is not a good defense against an UNLIKELY attack--the strawman argument you are using.
: Guns in the community will eventually fall into the hands of the psychotic or the very angry.
Don: And these people will find some way of doing great harm regardless.
: I believe that it is better that the guns not be there in the first place.
Don: I believe individuals have a right to own the means of defending their life and liberty.