Is there a case study for stricter gun control in America?

Due to recent tragic events, Americans are faced once again with the issue of mass-shootings and gun violence. While stricter gun control is often dismissed as unrealistic, there is in fact evidence that such measures can work. After the 1996 massacre of 35 tourists in Tasmania by a man wielding a semi-automatic rifle, Australia instituted sweeping gun control measures including a buy-back of newly banned weapons.

So did the measures work? Below are two graphs from a 2010 study analyzing homicide and suicide rates in Australia.


The data shows a significant decrease in gun-related homicide and suicide rates. Most effected by the laws were suicide rates, which fell fastest in areas where the gun buy-back program took effect earlier. In other words, Australia’s gun control has actually worked.

While this suggests gun control may be effective, it doesn’t make it more likely that the U.S. will adopt any such measures. Support for gun control surged in Australia after the 1996 shooting, but polls in the U.S. show we are still pretty evenly split on the issue. We love our guns, but we should perhaps take heed: Australia hasn’t had a mass shooting since 1996.



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