"Gun buyback scheme halves firearm deaths"



Gun buyback scheme halves firearm deaths

14/12/2006 - Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) News (c) 2006

New research reveals the risk of being shot dead in Australia has
dropped dramatically since the gun buyback scheme was introduced a
decade ago.

The Federal Government's gun buyback scheme, introduced in 1996, forced
people to surrender certain firearms, including semi-automatic rifles
and some shotguns, in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre which
claimed 35 lives. New published research reveals the total number of
gun deaths in a year has halved to 289 fatalities since the buyback
scheme was enacted.

The report's author, Professor Simon Chapman, from the University of
Sydney says it has been a life-saving change.

"So this has been a dramatic turnaround in a spate of mass killings we
were seeing throughout the 1990s and they seemed to have stopped," he
said.

"When you take 700,000 guns out of an adult population of 12 million,
it stands to reason there are going to be far less opportunities for
people to get access to those guns - whether it be for suicide or for
homicide purposes.

"There are far less guns available to be stolen in robberies, that go
into the criminal sub-class, and that indeed seems to be what has
occurred."

Professor Chapman has now provided advice in New York on tackling gun
law reform.

Researchers say the biggest change is that there have been no mass
killings since Port Arthur.

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