As the United States struggles to make sense of yet another mass shooting, we look at one country that fought to change the culture of gun violence and won. In April of 1996, a gunman opened fire on tourists in Port Arthur, Tasmania, killing 35 people and wounding 23 more. Just 12 days after the grisly attack and the public outcry it launched, Australia’s government responded by announcing a bipartisan deal to enact gun control measures. The pact included agreements with state and local governments. Since the laws were passed—now 20 years ago—there has not been a mass shooting in Australia, and overall gun violence has decreased by 50 percent. We speak to Rebecca Peters, an international arms control advocate and part of the International Network on Small Arms. She led the campaign to reform Australia’s gun laws after the Port Arthur massacre.
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