- It came out of tragedy. In April 1996, a disturbed 28-year-old man named Martin Bryant killed 35 people with a semi-automatic rifle in the Tasmanian town of Port Arthur.
- It moved public opinion. In the wake of the shooting, “a national upwelling of grief and revulsion saw pollsters reporting 90–95% public approval for stringent new gun laws.”
- A conservative politician took the lead. Australia’s conservative Prime Minister John Howard spearheaded a push by Australian states and territories to severely restrict gun ownership that year, in what came to be known as the National Firearms Agreement.
- It targeted the kinds of guns used in massacres. “As the Port Arthur gunman and several other mass killers had used semi-automatic weapons, the new gun laws banned rapid-fire long guns, specifically to reduce their availability for mass shootings.”
- It encouraged people to turn in guns. The government “bought back more than 650,000 of…
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