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Controlling Gun Violence: Assessing the Impact of Australia’s Gun Buyback Program Using a Synthetic Control Group Experiment

  • Bradley J. BartosEmail author
  • Richard McCleary
  • Lorraine Mazerolle
  • Kelsy Luengen
Article

Abstract

Gun Buyback programs have been implemented in various forms in countries such as the UK, USA, Brazil, Australia, and Argentina. Whether or not these programs are an effective approach for reducing national violent crime and homicides, however, remains unclear. Much of the uncertainty is due to the different ways in which Gun Buyback programs have been implemented. The Australian Gun Buyback program is distinguished from Gun Buyback programs in other countries by its abrupt implementation, its narrow focus on a particular class of firearms, and its broad application across the entire population. We assess the impact of Australia’s 1996 Gun Buyback program on national homicide rates using a synthetic control group quasi-experimental design, comparing the results to suicide and motor vehicle fatality trends to test for plausible alternative hypotheses. Results suggest that the Gun Buyback program significantly reduced Australia’s homicide rate in the decade following the intervention (1997–2007).

Keywords

Firearm policy Gun violence Synthetic control group Homicide Suicide 

Notes

Funding information

This research was conducted using publicly available data and did not receive any external support or funding.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

This type of retrospective study does not involve identifiable human subject data and is exempt from IRB review.

Informed Consent

The publicly available data used in this study consists of aggregate frequency counts at the nation-level, and contains no individual or group level identifiers. For this type of study formal consent is not required.

Supplementary material

11121_2019_1064_MOESM1_ESM.docx (28 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 28 kb)

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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminology, Law & SocietyUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA
  2. 2.School of Social SciencesThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia

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