In 1996, a madman used an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle to kill 35 people and wound 21 more at an Australian tourist site.
The Port Arthur massacre led the newly-elected prime minister to implement new gun law proposals to ban most handguns, semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic shotguns, even pump-action shotguns. Guns are still available to competitive target shooters, farmers and ranchers and others who can demonstrate a need.
Since the Australian government could not legally seize private property, it instituted an aggressive buyback program that resulted in the destruction of hundreds of thousands of weapons. This in a country that has a gun culture nearly as ingrained as that in the United States.
The result of these new measures? According to former Prime Minister John Howard, gun murders in Australia have dropped as much as 89 percent since 1997! In addition, suicides have been dramatically reduced.
Interestingly, the Australian people still have access to the same movies and video games as Americans. There has been no significant difference in the way Australians treat mental illness. The only thing that changed is Australian’s access to guns.
Remember that the next time you hear NRA leaders and their Teapublican enablers blather on about how the only way to reduce gun violence is to increase the number of guns!