Latest News:  


Australians own as many firearms as in 1996: study


09:08, January 14, 2013

CANBERRA, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- Australians now own as many firearms as they did at the time of the Port Arthur shootings in 1996, according to a new study by the University of Sydney revealed recently.

More than one million guns were destroyed in the aftermath of the Port Arthur massacre, but the research by Professor Philip Alpers, from the Sydney University school of public health, said Australians have steadily restocked and the number of firearms in the community now totals around 3.2 million.

In the Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania in 1996, a deranged gunman shot dead 35 people and wounded another 23. Then Prime Minister John Howard pushed through stringent national controls, banning semi-automatic rifles and pump-action shotguns and introducing more stringent licensing. In the guns buyback, Australians surrendered more than 700,000 firearms.

"What our research found was that a huge number of people gave in their guns for no compensation at all," he said. "These hadn't been added into the discussions. So a million guns were taken out of circulation and put into the smelter."

Gun imports increased after 1996 as people replaced banned guns, Alpers said. "Gradually for the past 10 years, they have been creeping up again." But they are not the semi-automatics specifically prohibited after Port Arthur.

Alpers said the buyback was a spectacular success and afterwards the risk of dying by gunshot halved. The Australian Institute of Criminology homicide study also shows gun murders have steadily declined from the late 1980s and currently are far outnumbered by murders with knives. Most gun deaths were from suicides and incidents of domestic violence, according to the research.

Only time would tell whether the increasing number of guns made Australia less safe, Alpers said. "It may be a problem, it may be a serious one, it may not be too bad, but we have yet to see."

The University of Sydney study's findings will be used by the gun control task force set up by U.S. vice-president Joe Biden in the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre.

"This is what the Americans are interested in - looking at this it's almost Australia has turned into a public health laboratory in terms of reducing gun violence." he said.

We recommend:

Nudists rally for right to bare it all

Unforgettable moments you cannot miss in December

Bloody scenery of shark hunting

Sao Paulo faces hot weather in January

Finland celebrates Epiphany with slide show

Children taking cold-resistant exercise


Related Reading

Leave your comment0 comments

  1. Name


Selections for you

  1. Weekly review of military photos

  2. Defense minister vows to boost cooperation with Macedonia

  3. Parade of 1,000 Polleras held

  4. Life is an education

  5. Smoggy weather engulfs large areas

  6. Some 3,000 job vacancies provided

  7. 1st individual user of grid-connected PV power

  8. Jay Chou promotes new album

  9. Lang Lang performs New Year Concert

  10. TCL puts name on Hollywood

Most Popular


  1. Drinking water safety is not a simple problem
  2. Japan's envisaged 'warning shots' dangerous
  3. When Chinese wives meet American mothers-in-law
  4. Will you leave a city because of cold?
  5. Labor system reform renders salute to Constitution
  6. China's yuan unlikely to appreciate sharply in 2013
  7. Good times gone?
  8. Salaries stifled amid sluggish exports
  9. China to surpass U.S. by 2049: report
  10. Proposed Beijing law seeks data on charities

What’s happening in China

China's social trust index declined further last year, according to the Annual Report on Social Mentality of China 2012

  1. Healthy debate over Beijing's air quality
  2. Beijing air pollution reaches dangerous levels
  3. 5 dead, 19 injured in SW China coach accident
  4. Earthquakes blamed for fatal SW China landslide
  5. Rail policeman with a good heart