While the Australian Bureau of Statistics fights off a wave of criticism surrounding the bungled 2016 National Census, the SSAA Legislative Action (SSAA-LA) department has been analysing the latest homicide statistics. The Recorded Crime – Victims, Australia, 2015 report released in July shows that knives and beatings remain the common methods used in homicide. The figures indicate this is nearly double the number of times firearms are used, disproving anti-gun advocates who argue that further restrictions on legal firearm ownership is urgently needed to stop crime.
Knives were used in 70 homicides in 2015, a slight decrease from 75 incidents in 2010, while 69 homicides involved no weapons (beatings, brute force) in 2015, compared to 75 in 2010. Firearms were used in just 27 homicides in 2015, compared to 38 in 2010. The study does not identify if the firearms used were registered or sourced illegally, but with less than 3 per cent of stolen firearms from licensed owners subsequently used to commit crime, the SSAA-LA predicts the number of legally held firearms used is minuscule.
SSAA-LA’s Kate Fantinel said the latest statistics show firearm homicide rates have barely changed since the introduction of the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) 20 years ago. “Homicides using a firearm were on the decline well before the anomaly of the Port Arthur murders, with firearms used in around 15 per cent of homicide incidents prior to the introduction of the NFA,” Kate said. “Today’s latest figures show firearm homicides around the 17 per cent mark, showing a very slight increase. This goes to show that the NFA has not drastically curbed the use of firearms in murders as was expected; those who want to commit a crime will find a way, regardless of what the NFA says.”
ABS studies into suicide incidents show a slight decrease in the use of a firearm over many decades.