From Down Under - The Big Free Fire Zone

From Down Under - The Big Free Fire Zone

This is a discussion on From Down Under - The Big Free Fire Zone within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Here is a letter to the Editor that was published in the Amarillo Globe News on November 12, 2009: Web-posted Thursday, November 12, 2009 Letter: ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Array cwblanco's Avatar
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    From Down Under - The Big Free Fire Zone

    Here is a letter to the Editor that was published in the Amarillo Globe News on November 12, 2009:

    Web-posted Thursday, November 12, 2009
    Letter: We'll visit, but we're wary

    Only last night my wife and I were looking at holiday options in the United States. Yet again, we see another shooting incident taking place in an Amarillo bar.

    As British citizens residing in Australia, I can assure you that British and Australian people are just horrified at the gun culture in your country.

    We in our countries virtually never see any weapons except for farmers having shotguns and sometimes rifles for controlling vermin.

    Kangaroos are a big problem in this country because they eat the crops.

    I can safely say that most people here or the U.K. have never even seen a pistol or automatic rifles and we can only view the U.S. as an extremely violent gun culture that is almost impossible to eradicate. Here we don't have many guns,we don't need them in general, so we feel so much safer as a result.

    We still want to visit you - but we are wary.

    Geoffrey Shepherd
    Mr. Shepherd, our constitutions differs from yours in that our Texas and Federal constitutions guarantee the right to own a gun. If it were not for these guarantees and the attitudes which you apparently criticize, the United States also might be like Austrailia and have a Governor General appointed by the Queen of England. On the other hand, titles of nobility also are prohibited by the United States consitution. From your letter I understand that Austrailia is one big "gun free" zone. Unfortunately for our criminals, your country is generally inaccessible because of your isolated location down under.

    P.S. I am appalled that you as an anti-gun person would appear to tolerate killing those cute little furry kangaroos.
    Live every day so that you can, with a clear conscience, look all men in their eyes and tell them to go to hell.


  2. #2
    Member Array Leopard125's Avatar
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    So, Mr. Shepherd

    What is it like to live in a crime free country?

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    Mr.Shepard,if you'd like to visit the U.S. look me up. I'll take care of you and wife because you arent able to sufficiently protect her.

    Of course, I will be carrying my .45 to so that in the unlikely event if violence does occur, at least we'll have a fighting chance.

    If you are horrified at the fact that free men go about armed for the protection of themselves and their familys, perhaps you should stay in Australia, where self defense has been declared illegal.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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    VIP Member Array wmhawth's Avatar
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    Web-posted Thursday, November 12, 2009
    Letter: We'll visit, but we're wary

    Only last night my wife and I were looking at holiday options in the United States. Yet again, we see another shooting incident taking place in an Amarillo bar.

    As British citizens residing in Australia, I can assure you that British and Australian people are just horrified at the gun culture in your country.
    It didn't take Nostradamus to predict that the incident in Amarillo would be seen by Brits as having made the case for British anti-gun opinion. I hate what the punk in Amarillo did to his victims and I hate that he gives fuel to the anti-gun advocates in the UK as well as the US.

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    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    All of the Aussie criminal lawyers flocking to the US due to lack of work in Austalia must be doing a good job of covering up their Aussie accent.
    Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around laws. Plato

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    Member Array Tint Bob's Avatar
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    I can safely say that most people here or the U.K. have never even seen a pistol or automatic rifles and we can only view the U.S. as an extremely violent gun culture that is almost impossible to eradicate. Here we don't have many guns,we don't need them in general, so we feel so much safer as a result.


    What a load of horse *****
    On my first visit to the US in 1997, I wasn't really on the look out for firearms, yes I was in awe of this hugh country but my SA was on high. The rental company told me to floor it and get the hell out of dodge if something happened. Well it did....Mass/NH border 10pm we went into Haverhill Ma looking for food......suddenly felt VERY uneasy, hairs on back of neck stood up......The sounds of the road had changed and we were in what looked like a very bad area. 180 and I floored it.

    2003, downtown hollywood, again looking for food at 7pm.......Now I had friends on the East Coast and was use to my pal Dave Morgan carrying when we went out, but we were on our own and Dave was back in NH
    I then knew why you carry, we could have been an easy target for the scum that haunt hollywood.................

    These sheep really get up my nose, why do they think the state will protect them??

    I live in a small town on the south coast, nr Brighton Sussex.
    At night there are 4 cops in the town, the town has a population of about 15000.... What the hell are they going to do if something "happens"
    Well I'll tell you what they do, they call for backup from the next town, which then leaves that town with no cover.
    I have good friends who live in a small village 5 miles east of me, last week they were on holiday at their appartment in southern france, one of their friends "noticed" some pikeys (irish travellers, remember the film snatch, brad pitt?) had taken an unhealthy interest in their empty cottage.
    Now in this country you cannot have a shotgun for your self defence (in fact you cannot keep anything for defence!!)
    So they had to come back early and they have no way of defending themselves if they pikeys come and take a "closer" look


    This guy in austrailia is living in cloud cuckoo land, if he thinks he is safe, I imagine he thinks the UK is safe because he has not been back home for a long time....Well he is in for a shock when he finds what labour have done.
    At least in Auss the Police are armed
    Thats a little bit better than blighty

    Rant over

    Tint Bob
    A rainy, windy south coast UK

  7. #7
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    Australia's Gun Laws: Little Effect

    From Time/CCN no less

    Australia's Gun Laws: Little Effect - TIME

    On the afternoon of April 28, 1996, Martin Bryant snapped. A striking figure with his long blond hair and milky skin, he had just eaten lunch at a café within the historic site of Port Arthur, a former prison in Australia's island state of Tasmania. Described later by his sentencing judge as a "pathetic social misfit," the 28-year-old then reached into his sports bag and, in the manner that others might pull out a sweater, withdrew two military-style semi-automatic rifles, which he used over the next eight horrifying minutes to kill 35 people — men, women and children — in what remains Australia's worst mass murder.

    Sharing the shock of his people, the newly elected Prime Minister, John Howard — just two months into his eleven-and-a-half years in power — seized the chance to overhaul Australia's gun laws, trampling all opposition to make them among the strictest in the developed world. "I hate guns," he said at the time. "One of the things I don't admire about America is their slavish love of guns ... We do not want the American disease imported into Australia." Howard argued the tougher laws would make Australia safer. But 12 years on, new research suggests the government response to Port Arthur was a waste of public money and has made no difference to the country's gun-related death rates.

    Though he'd acquired them illegally, Bryant used guns at Port Arthur that were lawful in Tasmania at the time. Howard argued there was no reason civilians should be allowed to own assault weapons — and under the 1996 National Firearms Agreement (NFA) these were all but banned. At huge cost, the government bought from their owners some 650,000 of the newly prohibited guns, which police destroyed. It also implemented mandatory gun licenses and registration of all firearms, helping to restrict to 5% of the population the number of Australian adults who owned or used guns last year, down from 7% in 1996.

    But these changes have done nothing to reduce gun-related deaths, according to Samara McPhedran, a University of Sydney academic and coauthor of a soon-to-be-published paper that reviews a selection of previous studies on the effects of the 1996 legislation. The conclusions of these studies were "all over the place," says McPhedran. But by pulling back and looking purely at the statistics, the answer "is there in black and white," she says. "The hypothesis that the removal of a large number of firearms owned by civilians [would lead to fewer gun-related deaths] is not borne out by the evidence."

    Firearm homicides in Australia were declining before 1996 and the decline has simply continued at the same rate since, McPhedran says. (In 2002-3, Australia's rate of 0.27 gun-related homicides per 100,000 people was one-fifteenth that of the U.S. rate.) Of course, it's possible there might have been a spike in firearm homicides — and one or more Port Arthur-style events — if not for the gun law reforms. "It's very easy to raise what-ifs," McPhedran counters. "The what-ifs are interesting as discussion points. But, ultimately, for policy making, we have to deal with what is."

    And suicide by firearm? Here again, rates were falling pre-1996. And while the decline gained speed after 1996, suicide by other methods began declining then, too. McPhedran and coauthor Jeanine Baker say suicide needs to be examined in a broader context that includes growing public awareness of mental health issues and increased use of antidepressants.

    Other researchers have focused on mass shootings: there were 11 in Australia in the decade before 1996, and there have been none since. This appears to be a strong argument for gun laws designed to help prevent massacres like Port Arthur. But McPhedran argues that because "mass shootings have been such a rare event historically ... it's incredibly difficult to perform a reliable statistical test on such rare events." Massacres, she argues, are a separate research question.

    It won't seem irrelevant to some that McPhedran and Baker are affiliated with the Sydney-based International Coalition for Women in Shooting and Hunting. But it should be, McPhedran argues: their analysis has been peer-reviewed, approved for publication and should be judged on its merits, she says.

    The authors are not recommending that the gun law be repealed, though they do write of their hope that their findings might give policymakers "greater confidence" in approaching firearms policy in the future. "We've set out to scientifically investigate what was happening [with gun deaths] before and after 1996," she says. "We are simply presenting the evidence as it stands." The new Kevin Rudd-led Labor government has no plans to review the existing laws.



    Read more: Australia's Gun Laws: Little Effect - TIME
    also see: Crime up Down Under

    Crime up Down Under
    Since Australia's gun ban, armed robberies increase 45%

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Posted: March 03, 2000
    1:00 am Eastern


    By Jon E. Dougherty
    © 2009 WorldNetDaily.com




    Since Australia banned private ownership of most guns in 1996, crime has risen dramatically on that continent, prompting critics of U.S. gun control efforts to issue new warnings of what life in America could be like if Congress ever bans firearms.
    After Australian lawmakers passed widespread gun bans, owners were forced to surrender about 650,000 weapons, which were later slated for destruction, according to statistics from the Australian Sporting Shooters Association.

    The bans were not limited to so-called "assault" weapons or military-type firearms, but also to .22 rifles and shotguns. The effort cost the Australian government about $500 million, said association representative Keith Tidswell.

    Though lawmakers responsible for passing the ban promised a safer country, the nation's crime statistics tell a different story:


    Countrywide, homicides are up 3.2 percent;

    Assaults are up 8.6 percent;

    Amazingly, armed robberies have climbed nearly 45 percent;

    In the Australian state of Victoria, gun homicides have climbed 300 percent;

    In the 25 years before the gun bans, crime in Australia had been dropping steadily;

    There has been a reported "dramatic increase" in home burglaries and assaults on the elderly.

    At the time of the ban, which followed an April 29, 1996 shooting at a Port Arthur tourist spot by lone gunman Martin Bryant, the continent had an annual murder-by-firearm rate of about 1.8 per 100,000 persons, "a safe society by any standards," said Tidswell. But such low rates of crime and rare shootings did not deter then-Prime Minister John Howard from calling for and supporting the weapons ban.
    Since the ban has been in effect, membership in the Australian Sporting Shooters Association has climbed to about 112,000 -- a 200 percent increase.

    Australian press accounts report that the half a million-plus figure of weapons turned in to authorities so far only represents a tiny fraction of the guns believed to be in the country.

    According to one report, in March 1997 the number of privately-held firearms in Australia numbered around 10 million. "In the State of Queensland," for example, the report said only "80,000 guns have been seized out of a total of approximately 3 million, a tiny fraction."

    And, said the report, 15 percent of the more than half a million guns collected came from licensed gun dealers.

    Moreover, a black market allegedly has developed in the country. The report said about 1 million Chinese-made semi-automatics, "one type of gun specifically targeted by the new law," have been imported and sold throughout the country.

    Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, said the situation in Australia reminds him of Great Britain, where English lawmakers have passed similar restrictive gun control laws.

    "In fact, when you brought up the subject of this interview, I didn't hear you clearly -- I thought you were talking about England, not Australia," Pratt told WorldNetDaily. "It's hard to tell the difference between them."

    Pratt said officials in both countries can "no longer control what the criminals do," because an armed society used to serve as a check on the power and influence of the criminal element.

    Worse, Pratt said he was "offended by people who say, basically, that I don't have a right to defend myself or my family." Specifically, during debates with gun control advocates like members of Handgun Control, Inc. or similar organizations, Pratt said he routinely asks them if they're "against self defense."

    Most often, he said, "they don't say anything -- they just don't answer me. But occasionally I'll get one of them to admit it and say 'yes.'"

    Pratt said, based on the examples of democracies that have enacted near-total bans on private firearm ownership, that the same thing could happen to Americans. His organization routinely researches and reports incidents that happen all over the country when private armed citizens successfully defend themselves against armed robbers or intruders, but "liberals completely ignore this reality."

    Pratt, who said was scheduled to appear in a televised discussion later in the day about a shooting incident between two first graders in Michigan on Tuesday, said he was in favor of allowing teachers to carry weapons to protect themselves and their students on campus.

    Pratt pointed to the example of a Pearl, Mississippi teacher who, in 1997, armed with his own handgun, was able to blunt the killing spree of Luke Woodham.

    "By making schools and even entire communities 'gun free zones,' you're basically telling the criminal element that you're unarmed and extremely vulnerable," Pratt said.

    Pratt also warned against falling into the gun registration trap.

    "Governments will ask you to trust them to allow gun registration, then use those registration lists to later confiscate the firearms," he said. "It's happened countless times throughout history."

    Sarah Brady, head of Handgun Control, Inc., issued a statement calling on lawmakers in Michigan and in Washington to pass more restrictive gun access laws.

    "This horrible tragedy should send a clear message to lawmakers in Michigan and around the country: they should quickly pass child access prevention or 'safe storage' laws that make it a crime to leave a loaded firearm where it is accessible by children," Brady said.

    Brady also blamed gun makers for the Michigan shooting.

    "The responsibility for shootings like these do not stop at the hands of the gun owner," Brady said. "Why are ... gun makers manufacturing weapons that a six-year old child can fire? This makes no rational sense. When will gun makers realize that they bear a responsibility to make sure that their products do not mete out preventable deaths, and that they do not warrant nor deserve special protection from the law to avoid that burden? Instead of safeguarding the gun makers, we should be childproofing the guns."

    In contrast to near-complete bans in Australia and Great Britain, many U.S. states have passed liberal concealed carry laws that allow private citizens to obtain a permit to carry a loaded gun at all times in most public places. According to Yale University researcher John R. Lott, formerly of the University of Chicago and a gun control analyst who has conducted the most extensive study on the impact of concealed carry laws in the nation's history, the more liberal the right to carry, the less violent crime occurs.

    Lott, who examined a mass of crime data spanning decades in all 3,200-plus counties in the United States, concluded that the most important factor in the deterrence of violent crimes were increased police presence and longer jail sentences. However, his research also demonstrated that liberal concealed carry laws were at the top of the list of reasons violent crime has dropped steadily since those laws began to be enacted by state legislatures a decade ago.

    The Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, a division of Handgun Control, Inc., disagreed with Lott's findings, as well as the overall assumption that a reduction in the availability of guns in society reduces violent crime.

    "Using violent crime data provided by the FBI, the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence determined that, on average over a five-year period, violent crime dropped almost 25 percent in states that limit or prohibit carrying concealed weapons," the Center said. "This compares with only a 11 percent drop in states with lax concealed carry weapons (CCW) laws. Moreover, states with some of the strongest laws against concealed weapons experienced the largest drops."

    Without naming its source, the Center also claimed "a prominent criminologist from Johns Hopkins University has stated that Lott's study was so flawed that 'nothing can be learned of it,' and that it should not be used as the basis for policy-making."

    In his most recent research, Lott noted a few examples of mass shootings in schools when teachers who were armed, albeit illegally, were able to prevent further loss of life among students indiscriminately targeted by other students with guns.

    Ironically, both Lott and Handgun Control acknowledge that the reams of gun control laws on the books in Washington and in all 50 states have been ineffective in eradicating mass shootings or preventing children from bringing weapons to school. However, Lott's research indicates the criminal element has been successful in obtaining weapons despite widespread bans and gun control laws, while HCI continues to push for more laws that further restrict, license or eliminate handguns and long guns.
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    Distinguished Member Array tiwee's Avatar
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    This letter is a little hard for me to believe. When I was in Oz in 1970, the family I stayed with had a rifle rack in the kitchen and one in the living room. Two teenage daughters shot wild hogs from horseback with lever action rifles and a general familiarity with firearms that felt very much like back on the Missouri farm to me. I find it hard to believe that most people have never seen a firearm.

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    Member Array Rivers's Avatar
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    I would suggest that since Mr. Geoffrey Shepherd is so close to the Mexican border, he should spend some time visiting our South of the Border neighbor. Mexico does share his philosophy of tightly controlling gun ownership so he should enjoy a wonderfully peaceful time. Geoffrey should especially enjoy driving, just he and his wife, along the border between the lovely border towns of Juarez and Tijuana.

    Of course, assuming that he actually survives that adventure, his opinion of our rampant gun culture might get adjusted.

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    I justed returned from 5 weeks in Western Australia--mostly in the Perth metropolitan area. "Perth" is home to about 2 million people. The region is sprawling, and runs at least 40 miles North to South along the Indian Ocean. Needless to say "near the ocean" property is remarkably expensive, and there are lots and lots of apparently rather wealthy folk. Overall the area is remarkably modern and vibrant. All in all a lovely place.

    While there it was common to read of gun crime in the local rag. Of particular interest was a shooting attack where several people were killed at one of a chain of martial arts studios, named "Hollywood ." It was gang related. They have their share of ethnic gangs and this one was said to be a Lebanese gang.

    Notwithstanding the strict gun control laws, there is violent gun crime. The anti-gun laws simply don't prevent it.

    With no disrespect intended for anyone who lives there, because it is truly a lovely place, there are several companies which sell steel window coverings, shutters, to prevent home invasions. These are very popular and seen even in better neighborhoods as there is no effective means to defend yourself from a home invader. If you are curious, google or yahoo or otherwise search Oz Shutters for an idea of what is being installed by folks who rightly fear home invasions.

    They not only have gun crime in OZ, but they have drug problems and everything else one would expect to find in a large city.

    The Australian who wrote the Amarillo Globe News would do well to ask himself why folks in Oz need to encase their homes in steel.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Array Katana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    I justed returned from 5 weeks in Western Australia--mostly in the Perth metropolitan area. "Perth" is home to about 2 million people. The region is sprawling, and runs at least 40 miles North to South along the Indian Ocean. Needless to say "near the ocean" property is remarkably expensive, and there are lots and lots of apparently rather wealthy folk. Overall the area is remarkably modern and vibrant. All in all a lovely place.

    While there it was common to read of gun crime in the local rag. Of particular interest was a shooting attack where several people were killed at one of a chain of martial arts studios, named "Hollywood ." It was gang related. They have their share of ethnic gangs and this one was said to be a Lebanese gang.

    Notwithstanding the strict gun control laws, there is violent gun crime. The anti-gun laws simply don't prevent it.

    With no disrespect intended for anyone who lives there, because it is truly a lovely place, there are several companies which sell steel window coverings, shutters, to prevent home invasions. These are very popular and seen even in better neighborhoods as there is no effective means to defend yourself from a home invader. If you are curious, google or yahoo or otherwise search Oz Shutters for an idea of what is being installed by folks who rightly fear home invasions.

    They not only have gun crime in OZ, but they have drug problems and everything else one would expect to find in a large city.

    The Australian who wrote the Amarillo Globe News would do well to ask himself why folks in Oz need to encase their homes in steel.
    Hopyard, I believe you need to copy and paste this in an email to the newspaper. The letters to the editor could really use this kind of counter-point to the Shepard's letter. Might open a few eyes.
    "Stand your ground, don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here!" - John Parker April 19th, 1775 Lexington, MA

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  12. #12
    Distinguished Member Array tiwee's Avatar
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    I have seen those shutters all over the world. It makes me sick to think some Australian people are starting to become embattled in their own homes and neighborhoods due to gun control. Sick.

    What perversion of human nature makes anti self protection movements so successful. The anti movement must come from people who have lived their lives insulated from violent people and never having experienced miserable living conditions. These kinds of do-good people have no concept of reality and seem to overwhelm people that know better in country after country. They must be able succeed because those that know better do not fight successfully for their rights.

    A lesson we see over and over again. Hopefully, enough Americans will learn before we lose our society also.

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