Letters Gun control

Australian and US gun deaths compared

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d1005 (Published 15 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1005
  1. Simon Chapman, professor of public health1
  1. 1University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  1. simon.chapman{at}sydney.edu.au

The myopic parochialism of US debate on gun control astonishes many who live overseas.1 The population of the US is 14.4 times that of Australia; the US has 141 times as many deaths from firearms as Australia (31 224 in 2007 v 221 in 2008) and 238 times Australia’s firearm homicide or manslaughter rate (12 632 in 2007 v 53 in 2008). In 1996, our government introduced massively supported gun laws that banned citizens’ access to semi-automatic rifles and pump action shot guns; a temporary tax levy funded the buyback of the banned guns. In the 18 years before the gun law reforms, there were 13 mass shootings (five or more people killed) in Australia. In the 14.6 years since, there have been none.


Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1005


  • Competing interests: None declared.


View Abstract

Sign in

Log in through your institution