Some countries are safer than others. Fortunately Australia has relatively low levels of violent crime and a stable government which makes it appealing for migrants.
In South Africa, historically, the normal way of resolving conflict is through violence. Tension has always existed between different races with carjacking and armed robberies taking place in larger cities.
Which country is safest?
American mass shootings make headline news, in 2017 there were 154 mass shootings, 6, 880 gun-related deaths and 13,504 firearm injuries. It’s estimated every 2.7 days a school shooting occurs in a US school. It makes uncomfortable reading.
But in Australia in 2015 there were just 211 gun-related deaths across the country. Victoria has the highest rate of gun deaths compared to other states but still mationally there's a low level of violence.
South Africa has high murder rates but gun death statistics are difficult to pin down because there’s no official reporting channels.
United Nations data does show that while the US has the most guns, and also one of the highest death counts attributed to a gun, there's a lower murder-by-gun rate than South Africa.
Australia’s worst ever shooting
Australia hasn’t had a mass shooting since 1996 when 33 people were killed at a former prison colony in Tasmania. It was dubbed ‘The Port Arthur Massacre’. One man went on a lone shooting spree armed with a semi-automatic assault rifle. At the time there was no registration for gun ownership and Martin Bryant was able to buy a weapon easily. He’s now serving 35 life sentences.
Australia and its National Firearms Agreement
The massacre led to the 1996 National Firearms Agreement when the Australian Government stepped up its stance against gun-related crime.
It stipulated new laws to oversee ownership, possession and use of firearms. Nationally it set out certain conditions, such as automatic or semi-automatic guns to be only used by the military, police or pest control workers or farmers.
All firearms are now restricted to be used by those with a genuine reason to require one and all gun licence applicants have to be aged 18 or over and undergo safety training.
America’s gun laws
America’s gun laws are considered to be archaic with President Donald Trump acknowledging that there needs to be more background checks on firearms bought at gun shows and on the internet.
In the US, guns are widely available albeit that automatic rifles are banned, but semi-automatic ones are legal. Statistic show that nearly 89 guns are privately owned per 100 people. This is largely because of an outdated constitution which gives citizens the right to buy arms.
Background checks have to be made on people who purchase guns from a licensed dealer, but that only accounts for around 60% of purchases, so the rest go unchecked.
South Africa and its Firearms Control Act
South Africa introduced a Firearms Control Act (FCA) in 2004. This legislation and framework imposes strict requirements for anyone wanting to own a gun. Checks are made in South Africa ensuring that anyone buying a gun has no history of violent crime.
An individual must apply for firearms competency which has to be certified by the South African Police Service and rigorous checks are made before a firearms certificate is issued which is valid for life. But in spite of these controls, gun crime is rife.
Many people migrate to Australia because it’s regarded as one of the safest places to live. A recent report from the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Sydney at number six on a list of the world’s safest cities.
If you want to make Australia your permanent home, then why not speak to our team here at Visa Solutions Australia? Make your vision of living in a safe community, a reality.