Rapid responses are electronic letters to the editor. They enable our users to debate issues raised in articles published on thebmj.com. Although a selection of rapid responses will be included online and in print as readers' letters, their first appearance online means that they are published articles. If you need the url (web address) of an individual response, perhaps for citation purposes, simply click on the response headline and copy the url from the browser window. Letters are indexed in PubMed.
Former Coalition for Gun Control convenor, Simon Chapman, omits a
crucial fact about mass shootings after Australia's 1996 prohibition of
semi-automatic firearms and pump action shotguns. While Australia has not
had a mass shooting in over 14 years, nor has Australia's close neighbour
New Zealand. This observation cannot be attributed to pre-existing
differences: the rate of mass shootings did not differ between countries
in the period 1980-1996. In New Zealand, the types of firearms Australia
banned are still widely used by citizens for target shooting and hunting.
The comparable period of time without mass shootings in both countries,
despite their different legislative approaches to firearms ownership, does
not support the view that prohibition of certain types of firearms in
Australia is responsible for the absence of mass shootings.
Chapman S. Australian and US gun deaths compared. BMJ 2011; 342:d1005.
Dr McPhedran and Dr Baker are affiliated with the International Coalition for Women in Shooting and Hunting (WiSH). They do not receive any financial reward from this association.
10 April 2011
International Coalition for Women in Shooting and Hunting (WiSH)