In 1996, Australia finally had one too many mass shootings, and they effectively ended gun violence in Australia. But America did nothing meaningful to control guns after 27 people, 20 of which were children under the age of ten, were murdered by someone using semi-automatic weapons at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

Our government did nothing when 49 were killed at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in June of last year. I wonder how many people are going to have to be murdered at one time before this nation collectively decides to put an end to it as they have done so effectively in Australia.

How many have to die before we stop it?

It is true, our two cultures are very different, but, we need to change our culture or people are going to continue to die, and in greater numbers. That’s not so much speculation as it is statistical fact. In 1996, in Australia, 39 people were murdered by semi-automatic weapons. Australia saw the writing on the wall. America did not.

America subsequently began a descent into mass shootings. In 1999, 15 people were killed with semi-automatic weapons at Columbine High School. Most of those were teenagers aged 15-17. In 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, 27 people were killed. 20 of those who were shot were children under 7. Then, in June of 2016, at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida 39 people were shot and killed by semi-automatic gunfire.

And now, in 2017, in Las Vegas, Nevada, 59 people were gunned down and 500 more were injured in a hail of gunfire from above and it doesn’t look like it phased anyone in the country other than those directly affected. It has become crystal clear to me that, at least in The United States of America, we are becoming numb to the effects of traumatic events in the news.

Gun control measures in Australia: Here is why it worked

Twelve days after the mass shooting in Port Arthur, Australia a bipartisan deal was struck between state and local governments with far-reaching gun control measures. One of the measures was a massive gun buyback program which successfully bought back more than 600,000 semi-automatic weapons.

That is roughly ⅕ of all the guns in circulation within Australia.

Next, Australia prohibited the private sale of guns and required that buyers have a legitimate reason for every purchase, which did not include "self-defense" as a reason. Public support for these changes at the time that they were enacted, according to polls, was at 90%. In America in 1992, support for stricter gun laws was at 78%, that was the year of the LA Riots. It’s now at 55%, according to a Gallup Poll.

In Australia, however, suicides by gun dropped 65% between 1995 and 2006. Homicides by firearms fell 59%. And, contrary to a common fear expressed by gun nuts, home invasions did not increase along with gun control. There have been numerous studies that back up these figures.

It’s a fact. Gun control was a success in Australia. How many are going to have to die by gunfire in The United States Of America before we can have that kind of success?

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