The effectiveness of the Australian government’s quick decision to ban usage of certain guns and weapons following the deadly mass shooting in 1996 has been examined. CBS news reporter Seth Doane interviewed a victim of the incident to find out whether the legislation made any difference.
Doane met a victim, Carolyn Loughton, whose daughter, Sarah, was shot in the event and for a few hours, she did not know that she lost her daughter in the mass shooting of 1996. “It’s said that when you lose your parents, you lose your past. When you lose your child, you lose your future,” CBS News quoted Loughton as saying while she remembered the event. She added that the incident killed 35 people. Australia was shaken up by such a huge loss and such an inappropriate use of weapons.
Loughton remembered that the event took place just after six weeks of new Prime Minister John Howard taking over the nation’s charge. “I thought to myself, if I don’t use the authority of this newly-acquired office to do something, then the Australian people are entitled to think, ‘Well, this bloke’s not up to much,'” then Prime Minister Howard said.
The prime minister introduced stricter legislation within 12 days after the incident occurred that banned the sale and import of certain weapons. The transportation of all kinds of automatic and semi-automatic rifles and shotguns was also banned by the new law. In addition, it forced people to have a justified reason to own a gun and wait for almost 28 days to buy a firearm. With the new law, people had to follow a massive and compulsory gun-buyback rule.
Howard told Doane when a decision takes away the rights of the people, it is the “hardest thing” to do. “People used to say to me, ‘You violated my human rights by taking away my gun,'” Howard said. “And I’d [respond], ‘I understand that. Will you please understand the argument, the greatest human right of all is to live a safe life without fear of random murder.'”
The government destroyed around 700,000 firearms, thereby leading to the decline of the number of household gun-owners by half. According to The Atlantic, 18 years prior to passing of law, 13 mass shootings rocked the nation, while after the new law came into effect, there had been no such event reported to date.