Crime, safety and firearms
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People who have guns are very attached to them. Over the years, attempts by governments to restrict or regulate firearms have met with vigorous, articulate and emotional responses from those with the guns. The firearm homicide rate in the United States in 1998 was 14 times the Australian rate. Official statistics reveal that 2,827 firearm-related deaths occurred during 1993-98 in Australia. Seventy-eight percent were suicides, 16 percent were homicides, 4 percent were accidents, 1 percent involved legal interventions, and 1 percent involved unknown intent. Knives and other sharp instruments were the most frequent weapons used in homicide in Australia; the next most common cause of death was assaultive force. Overall, Australia appears to be experiencing a slight declining trend in the proportion of victims killed with a firearm. Jurisdictions vary with respect to firearm homicides as a proportion of all homicides. Research by the Australian Institute of Criminology has revealed that more than 90 percent of the firearms used in homicide were not registered and their owners were not licensed.
Paper presented at the conference 'Injury 2000: prevention and management', Canberra, 23rd November 2000, by Adam Graycar, Director, Australian Institute of Criminology. This speech is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/