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Australia's Breakthrough: Gun Control Law Works, No Fatal Mass Shooting For 20 Years

First Posted: Jun 24, 2016 10:36 AM EDT
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Australia has introduced major gun law reforms in 1996. This involves banning the semiautomatic rifles, pump-action shotguns and rifles. It also initiated a program for buyback of firearms. A study reveals that after 20 years there is no fatal mass shooting since April 1996.

The study was printed online in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association on Wednesday. The printing of the study materialized just 10 days after the Orlando nightclub mass shooting that killed 49 people and wounded 53.

Simon Chapman from the University of Sydney and the lead author of the study stated that if you take away the means of committing a mass killing with firearms, you don't have mass killings for the next 20 years. He further said that it's been their experience in Australia.

The Australian gun law, also known as the National Firearms Agreement prohibits the selling and purchase of rapid-fire rifles, which is the type of weapon that is usually used for mass shootings. It also restricts the ownership of handguns. This law was implemented after an armed man with two semiautomatic rifles shot to dead 35 people and wounded 19. This created national outrage across the nation.

There were 13 fatal mass shootings in Australia from 1979 to 1996. The results of the study showed that from 1997 to May 2016, no fatal mass shootings occurred after the implementation of gun law reforms. The mean rate of total firearm deaths from 1979 to 1996 was 3.6 per 100,000 populations. This has declined from 1997 to 2013 with 1.2 per 100,000 populations. The researchers also discovered that the rate of non-firearm-related suicides and homicides drop at a more--rapid rate that the reduction in those involving guns.

Mike Jones from Macquarie University in Sydney and one of the researchers stated that there are two key findings from this study. This includes no mass shooting in Australia despite an average of two every three years for some time before that. Second is that the acceleration of the decline in gun-related deaths means lived saved. He further said that they can argue how many, but the data says lives have been saved.

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