Thursday, July 07, 2016

What Australia did about it's gun crisis

"The absence of mass shootings in Australia in the past two decades compares to 13 fatal mass shootings in the 18 years prior to these sweeping reforms," says the University of Sydney's Emeritus Professor Simon Chapman, who led the study with colleagues Philip Alpers and Macquarie University's Professor Mike Jones.
The introduction of Australia's unprecedented gun laws followed the mass firearm shooting in April of 1996, when a man used two semiautomatic rifles to kill 35 people and wound 19 others in Port Arthur, Tasmania.
In June 1996 the federal government enacted new gun laws banning rapid-fire long guns, including those already in private ownership, explicitly to reduce their availability for mass shootings. These gun laws were progressively implemented in all six states and two territories between June 1996 and August 1998.
In addition, by 1 January 1997, federal and all state governments commenced a mandatory buyback at market price of prohibited firearms. From 1 October 1997, large criminal penalties, including imprisonment and heavy fines, applied to possession of any prohibited weapon.
A handgun buyback followed in 2003, and thousands of gun owners also voluntarily surrendered additional, non-prohibited firearms without compensation. Since 1996, more than a million privately owned firearms are known to have been surrendered or seized, then melted down.
Also, despite a surge of post-law gun buying to replace destroyed semiautomatic and other rapid-fire weapons with single-shot rifles and shotguns, in a trend that preceded the Firearms Buyback program -- which seems to have been accelerated by this initiative -- the proportion of Australian households reporting private gun ownership declined by 75 per cent between 1988 and 2005.

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