With Australia in the middle of the National Firearms Amnesty, an ineffective initiative encouraging citizens to turn in their (mostly lawfully owned) guns, some are speaking out against the program’s usefulness as a curb to violence. Interestingly, one of the strongest voices comes from a professor who resides firmly in the anti-gun camp.
Philip Alpers teaches at the University of Sydney, where he advocates for gun control through a “public health” lens. Yet he delivered to ABC News of Australia a withering criticism of the turn-in: “All the research studies show that very limited, unenforced amnesties like this one produce no measurable decrease in violent crime. You can’t prove they reduce death or injury. ... But gun amnesties are popular right around the world. They are the politician’s favorite feel-good gesture, and they generate really useful media images of guns being destroyed.”
With opposition on both sides of the gun debate, the National Firearms Amnesty seems uniquely useless. Another Australian professor, Samara McPhedran of Griffith University, suggested combating violence by taking a page out of the American playbook: “Things like a very focused approach particularly on disrupting criminal activity, and holding offenders to account. But also looking at communities where gun violence disproportionately occurs.”