When pro-gun lobbyists say controls don't work, here's why they're wrong

In an interview with the BBC on Thursday night, Barack Obama said a failure to pass "common sense gun safety laws" was one of the biggest regrets of his time in office.

Just hours after his interview was broadcast three people would be killed and seven injured in a shooting at a cinema in Lafayette, Louisiana.

As timely as his words were this time - although he has spoken on the issue on numerous occasions over the past few months - the issue of gun control is one that continues to rear its head.

In fact, more than 7,000 people in the US have been killed as a result of gun violence in 2015 alone.

As the president himself pointed out in the BBC interview: "If you look at the number of Americans killed since 9/11 by terrorism, it's less than 100. If you look at the number that have been killed by gun violence, it's in the tens of thousands."

While some pro-gun lobbyists continue to argue that "guns don't kill people, people do", there is one shining example of how gun control can help to halt the needless deaths of thousands: Australia.

Back in 1996, the Australian government imposed strict controls on gun ownership in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre which left 35 people dead in Tasmania.

The new law, which banned semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, led to a dramatic fall in gun ownership and, critically, a "substantial drop in firearm deaths".

According to a study by researchers at the Australian National and Wilfrid Laurier University universities, the gun homicide rate fell by 59 per cent, while the gun suicide rate fell by 65 per cent (and crucially, as the Washington Post points out, there was no "parallel increase in non-firearm homicides and suicides").

The study also found that between the years 1979-1996 there were 13 mass shootings, but in the decade following the new gun laws there were none whatsoever.

Whether or not the US will take note of this example is an altogether different matter.

As Australian comedian Jim Jefferies noted:

In Australia we had [Port Arthur] the biggest massacre on Earth and the Australian government went ‘that’s it, no more guns’. And we all went, ‘yeah, alright then, that seems fair enough really’.

Now, in America you had the Sandy Hook massacre, where tiny little children died, and your government went ‘maybe… we’ll get rid of the big guns’. And 50 per cent of you went F-- YOU, DON’T TAKE MY GUNS!’

More: Australian comedian Jim Jefferies perfectly skewers America's pro-gun lobby

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