New firearm-related death data proves NFA’s real (in)effectiveness

The latest independent research has once again proved that firearm death rates were declining at a steady rate well before Australia’s harsh gun laws were introduced. The study, published by Flinders University in South Australia, also found that suicide rates using firearms have been falling since the 1980s.

Published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) in April, the Firearm injuries and deaths report clearly shows that firearm-related deaths began steadily decreasing from 1991, particularly among males, five years before the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) was introduced. The figures also show that almost 90 per cent of firearm-related deaths in 2012/13 were suicides, not homicides.

SSAA Legislative Action’s Kate Fantinel said the latest figures, independently sourced and published by a Federal Government department, cannot be ignored by anti-gun groups who deliberately misrepresent the real effects of the NFA. “Other studies also indicate that the homicide and suicide rates using firearms were falling well before the 1996 gun laws were introduced,” she said. “This latest independent report further proves that this is the case. Anyone who continues to trumpet the line that the NFA is somehow responsible for declining firearm death or injury rates should be called out for perpetuating fake news.”

“Other statistics published by the AIHW show that death from accidental drowning or vehicle accidents is far more common than death as a result of someone misusing a firearm,” said Kate. In real terms, this equates to 174 deaths due to accidental drowning and 1206 deaths due to vehicle accidents in 2012, compared to 166 suicides and 36 homicides using a firearm recorded in the same period.

According to one of the report’s authors, Professor James Harrison, the data used in this latest survey was sourced from hospital records. Hence, no information regarding whether the firearm used in these incidents was registered, or the source of the firearm, was recorded. Furthermore, no information was collected regarding whether the person who used the firearm in any of the cases was a licensed firearm owner.

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