Opinion » Letters

Gun-free Australia


Ken McCalip either lied or failed to check his facts when he stated that since 1996, when Australia banned and confiscated certain types of weapons, they've "had 'zero' mass shootings" ("Australia got tough," March 1).

Had Mr. McCalip taken the time to perform a quick Google search, "mass murders in Australia," he would have found a link to Wikipedia that lists all reported mass murders, both before and after 1996. In that list he would have discovered that guns were indeed used in killings after 1996. In total, since 1996, there were 13 mass killing events, 79 people were killed with weapons including guns, vehicles, arson, blunt instruments, and knives.

Here are some facts to keep in mind when comparing Australia to the U.S. Australia has a population of around 24 million. Our population is more than 13 times larger. If one does the math (extrapolation) for a fair comparison, we should use 169 as the number of killing events (13 events multiplied by 13) and 1,027 deaths (79 deaths multiplied by 13) for comparison. Also, Australians do not have a "right" to own guns, so they have no constitutional argument to oppose gun control laws, while we enjoy constitutional protection of that right.

If Mr. McCalip wants to argue to confiscate and ban the sale of certain types of guns, I'm all for hearing his and other opinions. But for his argument to have any validity it needs to be based on real, not fake, facts and he just didn't live up to that standard in his commentary.

Gary Wechter

Arroyo Grande

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