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For The Last Time, Australia's Gun Laws Have Definitely Reduced Mass Shootings

In an interview with CBS America's "Sunday Morning," former Australian Prime Minister John Howard hit back at claims from Americans and Libertarian politicians like Senator David Leyonhjelm, who say the gun laws are not the cause of falling homicide rates.

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In a segment on CBS's Sunday Morning, Howard said the fact that gun-related homicides had dropped since the laws were introduced was “incontestable”.

CBS News

"If you had 13 mass shootings before Port Arthur and you've had none since, isn't that evidence?" asked Howard. "Or are we expected to believe that that was all magically going to happen?"

"The hardest things to do in politics often involve taking away rights and privileges from your own supporters," said Howard.

CBS News

"People used to say to me 'you have violated my human rights by taking away my gun' and I say I understand that but you have to understand my argument that the greatest human right of all is to live a safe life without a fear of random murder."


Carolyn Loughton, a survivor of the Port Arthur massacre whose daughter was killed in the shooting, was also interviewed.

CBS News

When asked if she thought the laws would be as effective in the United States, Loughton struggled to respond.

"Im loathe to comment, but my question is 'how is it going for you over there?'" she said.

"But I can't answer that... life is so short."

Following the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996, Howard instituted a gun buyback scheme which saw Australians hand in almost 700,000 guns. This would be the equivalent of 40 million guns in the US today.

The laws also restricted the sale of semi-automatic weapons and shotguns, which had been the weapon of choice in several mass shootings in the preceding decades.

There have been no mass shootings in Australia since the introduction of the strict gun laws following the Port Arthur massacre in 1996.

Brad Esposito is a news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Brad Esposito at

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