Gun stats in the firing line

Crikey readers have their say on the biggest stories of the week.

Shooting down Crikey’s stats

Andrew Leigh, Federal Member for Fraser, writes: Re. “Cause for alarm? Australia has more guns, but they’re less dangerous” (yesterday). I appreciate Crikey‘s care with statistics, so it’s worth mentioning an error in Jemimah Clegg’s piece on the Australian gun buyback. Reporting on a paper by public health expert Philip Alpers, Clegg writes “Australians imported more than 1 million guns since the 1996 shooting tragedy”. In fact, as firearm importation statistics show, the 1 million figure is for the years since 1988/89. If we look only since the buyback (1997/98 onwards), the figure is closer to half a million firearm imports. To be fair, many other media outlets made the same reporting error, and few picked up on the fact that — as Clegg noted — the rate of population growth at least matches the rate at which we’re buying more guns.

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One thought on “Gun stats in the firing line

  1. ms.innerwest

    In support of Cath Smith (no relation) I, too, was very confused by the article “Dole around the world – how does Australia stack up” and felt that it completely ignored the fact that single parents are being forced onto the dole. I hope she doesn’t read Crikey, but I had a friend crying on the phone to me last Saturday night saying that she had just been rejected from a brothel because she is “too old!” (she is 38 and absolutely gorgeous). Apparently they are being inundated with enquiries from single mothers at the moment because “they aren’t going to be able to pay their rent”. Pretty basic isn’t it? That would make a good story for someone willing to get out from behind a computer screen. Lies and damned statistics indeed.

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