Citation(s) from the literature library

Peters, Rebecca. In: Webster, Daniel W and Jon S Vernick (Eds). 2013 ‘Rational Firearm Regulation: Evidence-based Gun Laws in Australia.’ Reducing Gun Violence in America: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis (Chap 15), pp. 195-204. Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. 25 January

Relevant contents

Australia's Gun Buybacks and Destruction

The reform that received most publicity internationally was the buyback and destruction of the newly prohibited weapons. Owners had 12 months to surrender these guns for compensation, funded by a temporary increase in the national health levy. The financial carrot was backed up by a stick: after the buyback ended, possession of these weapons was a serious criminal offense. The stocks held by gun dealers were also bought back.

Some 640,000 banned firearms were melted down in this 12-month program; though as discussed in the essay by Philip Alpers (in this volume), the final number of guns destroyed was considerably larger.

The legal reforms and buyback were accompanied by a large public awareness and information campaign. In addition, the computer systems of state and territory police forces were upgraded and linked together.

Overall, Australia's reforms have proved a resounding success. We have not had another mass shooting since 1996, and the firearms mortality rate today is 1/100,000 — less than half what it was then (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012), and one tenth the current United States rate.

ID: Q11333

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