In April 1996, Martin Bryant entered a cafe at Port Arthur, Tasmania, pulled out a semi-automatic rifle from his bag, and began shooting, killing 35 people and injuring 23.

What followed was action by the government which resulted in the 1996 National Firearms Agreement. The specifics of the agreement included: 1) Two nation wide gun buybacks; 2) Voluntary surrenders; 3) State gun amnesties; 4) A ban on the importation of new automatic and semi-automatic weapons; 5) The tightening of gun owner licensing; 6) The creation of uniform national standards for gun registration.

A peer reviewed paper published by the AMERICAN LAW AND ECONOMICS REVIEW 2012, found that in the decade following these actions, firearm homicides and suicides had dropped significantly, with suicides dropping 80% and homicides between 35%-50%. Dr. David Hemenway and Mary Vriniotis of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center found in 2011 that the “…NFA had been ‘incredibly successful in terms of lives saved.'” (

In further commentary on Australia’s response, CNN reported on 19 June 2015, that the gun buyback was paid for by a special “one-off” tax on all Australians. There have been no more mass shootings in Australia.

What stands out in Australia’s response: 1) People can still buy guns; 2) Gun registration does not prohibit legitimate gun purchases; 3) Only military style weapons are taken off the market; 4) All firearms must be registered by serial number to the owner who also holds a firearms license.

The bottom line is legitimate, common sense laws are effective in saving lives.

“Love one another.”


Ron Letnes