Wednesday’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida seems bound to evoke some sort of national conversation about gun control. Which means there will likely be some sort of debate about whether it would even be possible for the US to limit its millions of privately held guns — by far a higher per capita gun ownership rate than any other country.
It is worth considering, as one data point in the pool of evidence about what sorts of gun control policies do and do not work, the experience of Australia. Between October 1996 and September 1997, Australia responded to its own gun violence problem with a solution that was both straightforward and severe: It collected roughly 650,000 privately held guns. It was one of the largest mandatory gun buyback programs in recent history.
And it worked. That does not mean that something even remotely similar would work in the US — they are, needless to say, different countries — but it is worth at least looking at their experience.
What Australia did
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Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard at a service for the victims of Port Arthur. (Fairfax Media/Fairfax Media/Getty Images)
On April 28, 1996, a 28-year-old man with a troubled past named Martin Bryant walked into a cafe in Port Arthur, a tourist town on the island of Tasmania, and opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle. He killed 35 people and wounded another 28.
Australia’s prime minister at the time, John Howard, had taken office just six weeks earlier at the head of a center-right coalition. He quickly drew a very clear conclusion from the Port Arthur killing: Australia had too many guns, and they were too easy to get.
“I knew that I had to use the …read more
Source:: Vox – All