The year was 1996, and Australia had their deadliest mass shooting ever by one man. Shooter Martin Bryant killed 35 people and wounded 23 in Port Arthur, according to the Atlantic. Less than two weeks after, all Australian states, including Tasmania, agreed to make several gun laws, including the banning of shotguns and rifles. Twenty years later, Australia still has not had a mass shooting worse than the Port Arthur one yet, proving that the gun laws set into place after the shooting were effective. If the United States adopts stricter gun laws like Australia, the country could be safer than it is now.
It has been 20 years since the Port Arthur mass shooting. According to BBC, Australia requires a 28-day waiting period before you can purchase a gun because the government has to check criminal records to make sure you can own a gun legally. On the other hand, in the U.S., each state has their own laws about guns and owning them. Some states like Massachusetts have different age requirements for owning guns. Massachusetts is not an open carry state, meaning that you can not carry a gun if you are not class A or else you will be committing a crime, according to Mass.gov. However, some states, like Texas, are open carry states. You can purchase shotguns and rifles if you are 18, according to the Caller Times.
In 1996, Australia started making laws that used financial incentives to encourage citizens to turn in their guns. Oliver Palmer, an Australian resident, also explained to me that the Australian states adopted laws that made owning guns more annoying for people.
“My grandparents who lived on farms had guns to eat rabbits and kill snakes. My parents had guns but had to keep paying for storage, and they got tired of it,” he said.
The federal government needs to adopt national gun laws similar to Australia. We all want to prevent another mass shooting. The U.S either has two options: one, we learn from our mistakes and create national laws that prevent mass shootings, or two, we do not change anything.
However, organizations like the National Rifle Association (NRA) stand in the way of change. They want to “defend their gun rights” and keep the gun laws the way they are. Some people think if we implement laws like Australia’s, it would conflict with the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms.
However, the United States needs to have similar laws to Australia because the longer we wait, the more lives that will be taken in the hands of terrorists. America is on the its boiling point, and in addition to our mass shootings, riots and racist events, our government must take action one way or another.