The July 6 letter, "No 'gun culture' exists in Australia," seemed to attempt to bolster the argument for Australia-style gun laws in the United States. It claimed that no guns were “confiscated” in the 1996 National Firearms Agreement in Australia and that the public instead was simply encouraged to turn in their unwanted guns. I believe that to be patently false. One only needs to read the text of the law, where it clearly indicates severe penalties for not voluntarily surrendering firearms.

In total, during the buy-back program, approximately 640,000 prohibited firearms were confiscated by the Australian government, and another 60,000 non-prohibited guns were voluntarily surrendered, as Eugene Kiely wrote for FactCheck.org in October 2017. Non-prohibited guns are primarily antiques and collector guns that are rendered inoperable and therefore unlikely to be used to commit a crime.

As noted by the University of Melbourne researchers in 2008, “There is little evidence to suggest that (the Australian mandatory gun-buyback program) had any significant effects on firearm homicides.”

At least 230 people were fatally shot in the U.S. over the Independence Day weekend. I don't think hunters and sporting shooters were to blame. Nor were the concealed-carry permit holders who all passed background checks. Rather than criminalize law-abiding gun owners, maybe we should listen to Baltimore Police Chief Michael Harrison who blames the "defund the police” movement for gun violence and Chicago Police Chief David Brown who blames the court system for not keeping murderers in jail.

Martin Theobald

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