In 1996, after an assailant massacred 35 people at a resort area in Port Arthur, Tasmania, Australians responded to the horror by banning the possession of automatic rifles and shotguns. Gunowners proceeded to turn in 650,000 guns to the government (which reimbursed them for the cost). Since that year, gun deaths in Australia have been cut in half. The country’s per capita gun crime rate is a tenth that of the United States.
Why no similar societal response here? Surely some decisive measure is needed. Every year the U.S. suffers 15 firearm deaths for every 100,000 citizens—vastly more than in other industrialized countries that have stricter gun laws, like Norway (4 per 100,000) or England or Japan (less than 1 gun death per 100,000). Other countries have crazy assailants and occasional mass shootings—but none as many or as often as the U.S.