As the national firearms amnesty reaches its halfway point, gun policy experts warn a different approach entirely is needed to prevent unnecessary gun deaths in Australia.
A three-year-old girl was shot in the neck with an unregistered sawn-off shotgun at her mother’s home in the western Sydney suburb of Lalor Park on Sunday evening.
The girl’s father has been charged with possessing an illegal firearm, as well as breaching an apprehended violence order.
But the incident has refocused attention on how gun control laws might have better helped prevent the shooting in the first place.
Professor Philip Alpers, a gun control advocate at the University of Sydney, said the firearms amnesty will not have any significant effect on the rate of gun violence in Australia.
“All the research studies show that very limited, unenforced amnesties like this one produce no measurable decrease in violent crime. You can’t prove they reduce death or injury,” Professor Alpers said.
“But gun amnesties are popular right around the world. They are the politician’s favourite feel-good gesture and they generate really useful media images of guns being destroyed.”
A review into the Martin Place siege recommended fast-tracking a national firearms database. (ABC News: Andrew Kennedy)
There is no way of knowing how many illegal firearms there might be in Australian cities, although the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission estimates 260,000 nationwide.
Professor Alpers said the problem…
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