On April 28, 1996, a gunman with an AR-15 opened fire on crowds at a historical site in Port Arthur, Australia, killing 35 people. It was the worst mass shooting in Australia’s history.
Twelve days later, the Australian prime minister announced a sweeping package of gun reforms. Up to that time the gun lobby had been a major force in Australian politics – in a country where firearms were considered an essential part of the national identity
Australia’s 1996 National Firearms Agreement banned several types of firearms and resulted in the government buying hundreds of thousands of weapons from their owners. Since then, mass shootings have effectively disappeared in Australia. What was once an almost annual event has only happened once since the reforms.
In the first 21 weeks of 2022, America had already seen 213 mass shootings. It is time for all of us to stop wringing our hands, and saying, “Once again, nothing will change.”
It took just one massacre in Australia. How many will it take in America?
— Carl Sherrill, Sonoma