Australia Got Tough on Guns —Here's What Happened
Since changing its laws after 1996 massacre, no mass shootings
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2012 11:49 AM CST
The debate rages in the US. Can we learn anything from Australia?   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – America certainly doesn't have a monopoly on gun-enabled massacres: In April 1996, 35 people were killed in Tasmania, in what was Australia's deadliest mass murder. The country reacted in a way that Will Oremus calls "remarkable": It forged a bipartisan deal just 12 days later that established tough new gun laws. Those laws "worked really, really well," writes Oremus for Slate. One key component, per Oremus, was the buyback of upward of 600,000 semi-automatic weapons, taking about 20% of the country's shotguns and rifles out of circulation.

Among the other restrictions: Would-be buyers had to supply a "genuine reason" for needing the gun they wanted to purchase—and self-defense wasn't a legitimate one. Between 1986 and the massacre, Australia weathered 11 mass shootings; in the years since, there have been zero. (Homicides and suicides by firearms have dropped more than 50% as well.) Some "contrarian studies" emerged, mainly the work of gun advocates, but Oremus notes that they have been "effectively refuted." In the wake of Sandy Hook, "I wonder if Americans are still so sure that we have nothing to learn from Australia’s example." Click to read Oremus' full column.

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Showing 3 of 169 comments
papachaz57
Mar 9, 2013 11:12 PM CST
Here's the actual numbers: Australian Gun Ban Facts & Statistics Reasonforforce ^ Posted on Thursday, January 03, 2013 7:48:26 AM by RC one It has now been over 10 years since gun owners in Australia were forced by new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by their own Government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars. The statistics for the years following the ban are now in: Accidental gun deaths are 300% higher than the pre-1997 ban rate The assault rate has increased 800% since 1991, and increased 200% since the 1997 gun ban. Robbery and armed robbery have increase 20% from the pre-97 ban rate. From immediately after the ban was instituted in 1997 through 2002, the robbery and armed robbery rate was up 200% over the pre-ban rates. In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 171 percent
emncaity
Feb 11, 2013 2:49 PM CST
Check the figures, nutbags. The murder rate in Australia is 1.0 per 100,000 people. In the U.S. it's 4.8. Argue with the stats like you usually do, but those are the facts.
XYandZ
Dec 20, 2012 7:20 PM CST
maybe no mass shootings but crime did jump..Australia also forces people to vote and they heavily censor the internet.