- advocated support for gun buybacks
- admitted gun buybacks don't reduce crime
- advocated a comprehensive "Australian style" gun confiscation program
- falsely stated the Australian program reduced crime
In the course of just a few paragraphs the paper does exactly what gun owners have always said gun control advocates will - taken one of their so-called "common sense" ideas and turned it into a call for total confiscation.
After advocating gun buybacks the newspaper says,
But let's not kid ourselves: Gun buyback programs are not going to reduce murders in cities like Newark and Camden. Studies have found that buyback programs don't have much effect overall on either gun crime or gun-related injury rates.
They don't directly target the guns that are more likely to be used in violence, and in general, the guns collected haven't overlapped much with crime guns. These are old weapons that some middle-aged guy found in his basement. What criminal is going to trade in his $700 Bushmaster for $250 from the state?
The biggest problem with this approach, though, is that it tiptoes around the one reform that could really make a difference, but that Americans would never accept: Mandatory gun buybacks. That's what Australia did, after its own version of Newtown.
Following a mass shooting in Tasmania that left 35 dead, Austrialia banned semiautomatic and automatic rifles and shotguns, and required all the newly banned weapons to be bought back by the government. This cut the number of gun-owning households by as much as half.
The mandatory buybacks were also accompanied by a uniform national system for licensing and registering firearms. Gun owners have to present a "genuine reason" to buy a weapon. A claim of self-defense isn't enough unless you have an occupational need to carry a gun.
Ignoring the glaring issue that Australian style confiscation is blatantly unconstitutional, the Star-Ledger goes on to say the confiscation program "worked" by cherry-picking stats from just one study.
However, when the United States Department of Justice analyzed the Australian programs, their findings were starkly different,
The Australia buyback appears to have had no effect on crime otherwise. One study (Leigh & Neill 2010) has proven confusing in that its abstract suggests that Australia’s gun buyback reduced firearm homicide rates by 80%, but the body of the report finds no effect. Others (Reuter & Mouzas 2003) have used the same data and also found no effect on crime although they also noted that mass shootings appear to have disappeared in Australia. A third study (Chapman et al 2006) using Australian data from 1979 to 2003 shows that the firearm homicide rate was already declining prior to the firearm reforms and that there is no evidence that the new legislation accelerated the declines. This remains true when data through 2007 are added to the analysis (conducted by G. Ridgeway on 1/3/2013 at NIJ).
Next time a gun grabber asks 'who's said anything about confiscation', remember this case of an editorial board that let their true colors show - even if just for one article.