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Tough gun laws in Australia eliminate mass shootings

Study finds legislation effective in wake of 1996 massacre

By
11:54am, June 22, 2016
man with guns

BUYBACK  In 1996, Australia initiated a program to purchase and destroy certain types of long guns, including semiautomatic weapons.  Over the next four years, the country collected more than 650,000 guns. 

Australia has seen zero mass shootings in the 20 years since it enacted strict gun control laws and a mandatory gun buyback program, researchers report June 22 in JAMA.

Key to this success is probably the reduction in people’s exposure to semiautomatic weapons, Johns Hopkins University health policy researcher Daniel Webster writes in an accompanying editorial.

“Here’s a society that recognized a public safety threat, found it unacceptable, and took measures to address the problem,” Webster says.

In April 1996, a man with two semiautomatic rifles shot and killed 35 people in Tasmania and wounded at least 18 others. Two months after the shooting, known as the Port Arthur massacre, Australia began implementing a comprehensive set of gun regulations, called the National Firearms

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