Member for Fenner Andrew Leigh and Member for Bennelong John Alexander
Co-founders of the Parliamentary Friends of Gun Control
The co-founders of the Parliamentary Friends of Gun Control, Andrew Leigh and John Alexander, are urging lawmakers in the United States to take urgent action to prevent further senseless deaths.
Dr Leigh and Mr Alexander – who established the group last year, during the previous term of Parliament - have called on US policymakers to learn from Australia’s historic firearms reforms, in the wake of multiple deadly shootings across the US.
Australia experienced its deadliest mass shooting in 1996.
Less than a fortnight after 35 people lost their lives at Port Arthur, Australia’s police ministers unanimously agreed on a package of measures to tighten licensing and registration requirements, restrict access to semi-automatic weapons and limit sales. A gun buyback program coordinated by the national government saw more than 600,000 handed into police stations. That equated to about one in five of all guns in Australia.
In the decade prior to the Port Arthur massacre, there was an average of one mass shooting every year. In the decade that followed the law changes, there were no mass shootings.
Gun reform is now remembered as one of the key achievements of the government of John Howard and Tim Fischer. Research estimates that the Australian firearms reforms of 1996 save around 200 lives per year - not only through averted mass shootings, but also through fewer gun homicides and gun suicides.
Authorised by Noah Carroll ALP Canberra.