Fact Check: Did Australia Solve Mass Shootings by ‘Surrendering’ Its Guns? & More Trending News


As America grieves over the devastating Uvalde faculty capturing, during which 21 folks together with 19 kids had been killed, the incident has introduced the general public debate about strengthening firearms management again into full focus.

The tragedy that unfolded at Robb Elementary School, Texas, comes lower than a month after 10 folks had been killed in one other mass capturing in Buffalo, New York.

The brutality of those crimes has compelled many to discover how the remainder of the world regulates firearms. One such comparability is with Australia which, some declare, has skilled no mass shootings for 25 years.

Uvalde School Shooting Robb Elementary
Young adults stand taking a look at a memorial at Robb Elementary School following a mass capturing on May 24, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. According to experiences, 19 college students and a pair of adults had been killed, with the gunman fatally shot by legislation enforcement.
(Brandon Bell//Getty Images

The Claim

Multiple tweets posted for the reason that Uvalde killings of 24 May, 2022, have claimed that no mass shootings have taken place in Australia because it launched strict gun management legal guidelines in 1996.

This commentary has additionally led some gun activists to indicate that Australia’s reforms amounted to a “surrender” of firearms possession.

The Facts

In 1996, a mass capturing within the Australian city of Port Arthur, Tasmania, during which 35 folks had been killed and 23 had been wounded, prompted rapid adjustments to firearm regulation.

New legal guidelines had been launched inside 12 days of the capturing and a buyback program of round 650,000 firearms that had been subsequently outlawed.

A second buyback program focusing on newly prohibited handguns was applied after the 2002 capturing at Melbourne’s Monash University, when a pupil armed with six legally acquired handguns killed two fellow college students and injured 5 different folks.

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In the 18 years earlier than Port Arthur, there have been 13 gun-related mass killings—outlined because the killing of 4 or extra folks in a single incident—leading to greater than 100 deaths.

Many declare that within the 25 years that adopted there have been none.

Gunpolicy.org states that right this moment in Australia solely licensed gun homeowners could “lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition” and that candidates for a license are “are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example gun club membership, hunting, target shooting, firearm collection, pest control, and narrow occupational uses.

“In legislation, private safety shouldn’t be a real purpose.”

This sits in contrast to the U.S., where ownership is rooted in the Second Amendment of the Constitution, although the right to arms ownership is not unconditional.

Port Arthur Australia Mass Shooting
Family and group members lay 35 floral tributes in reminiscence of the victims of the Port Arthur bloodbath. The photograph was taken at a twentieth anniversary commemoration service held on April 28, 2016, in Port Arthur, Australia.
Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Despite this, proof means that the variety of weapons in Australia could now be greater than earlier than Port Arthur.

Gun coverage analysis exhibits that the whole variety of firearm imports to Australia since 2008 has been constantly greater than figures recorded in 1996 (though the identical statistics present there was a sudden spike of imports in 1997).

A 2021 article printed by the University of Sydney additionally discovered that, whereas the proportions of Australians that maintain a gun license and Australian households with a firearm have fallen dramatically since 1997, individuals who already owned weapons have purchased extra.

It added that authorities figures on imports of contemporary firearms for personal homeowners now “fluctuate between 65,000 and 116,000 each year.”

Furthermore, a 2019 report by The Australia Institute said the variety of weapons per gun proprietor within the nation had elevated from 2.1 weapons per gun proprietor since 1997 to three.9. Additionally, it discovered the variety of firearms reported in Australia had been greater than pre-Port Arthur ranges.

So, whereas Australia’s adjustments to gun possession legal guidelines have made possession a much more stringent course of, and a few unlawful firearms have been purchased again by the state after the legislation was handed, it hasn’t resulted in a “surrender” by non-public homeowners.

There can be proof to recommend that the adjustments to Australia’s gun legal guidelines have correlated with a discount in mass shootings.

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However, the accuracy of the declare that gun legal guidelines have eradicated mass shootings partly relies on the definition of such against the law.

A RAND Corporation evaluation of mass shootings in Australia since 1996 defines mass shootings as incidents during which 4 or extra folks have been killed.

In a separate report on mass shootings within the United States, RAND additionally highlighted disagreement on whether or not a mass capturing can solely be known as such if it came about in a public setting.

The report exhibits that whereas some researchers on the subject have excluded shootings the place the “the majority of victims are members of the offender’s family and that are not attributable to other criminal activity (‘familicide mass shootings’)”, different research have included this standards.

This is essential to notice as a result of there have been various notable shootings in Australia, during which the victims had been relations.

In 2014, in Lockhart, New South Wales, a farmer shot his spouse and three kids earlier than killing himself.

And in 2018, seven folks—three adults and 4 kids—had been discovered useless at a property within the rural city of Osmington, Western Australia. The victims had been discovered with gunshot wounds and two firearms had been additionally recovered from the scene.

One incident in 2019 during which 4 folks had been killed in Darwin, Northern Territory, was initially reported by some media retailers as a mass capturing.

The man accountable, at trial, plead responsible to a few murders and one case of manslaughter. The manslaughter conviction seems to have subsequently altered a few of the reporting of the occasion as a mass capturing.

So, whereas there have been shootings in Australia during which 4 or extra victims had been killed, it may be argued that, below a stricter definition of ‘mass shootings,’ Australia has had no such instances since 1996.

School Shootings Have Increased in the US
Statista information exhibits that mass shootings at colleges throughout the U.S. have elevated dramatically lately.

Whatever the definition, the variety of deadly shootings in Australia plummeted after Port Arthur, sitting in stark distinction to the the U.S., which has recorded greater than 100 mass shootings since then, three of which have already taken place in 2022, based on figures cited by MotherJones. The variety of such incidents in colleges has additionally risen dramatically, based on Statista information.

Nonetheless, this doesn’t imply (as some have claimed) that Australia has surrendered its weapons, with statistics demonstrating a rise within the variety of gun imports and the variety of firearms in possession of every gun proprietor.

The Ruling

Fact Check - Half True

Half True.

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While it’s true that Australians had been pressured to promote their now-illegal firearms again to the state within the aftermath of the Port Arthur bloodbath, the nation does allow restricted non-public firearm gross sales. Evidence means that the variety of firearms reported in Australia has in reality elevated since 1996. But after gun possession legal guidelines had been tightened, the nation has skilled far fewer mass shootings since 1996—maybe none in any respect, below some definitions—in distinction to the U.S. which has recorded greater than 100.

FACT CHECK BY Newsweek’s Fact Check staff

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