Australia Doesn’t Have Mass Shootings

It often feels like the United States is the only place that does

Gideon M-K; Health Nerd


Pictured: Better when they’re not inside people. Photo: Jay Rembert / Unsplash

I’m going to tell you a terrible story, that for most people living in the United States is probably all too familiar. A young man, less than 30 years old, felt unwelcome and unrewarded by society. Up until that day, he’d tried and failed at a number of pursuits, and every time he got angrier and angrier. He took this out on his partner, with a history of domestic abuse and violence, but nothing so severe that he had gone to prison for any length of time. While he did eventually come into some money, he was an outcast with very few friends, often sitting in his mismatched clothing at a local café while people whispered behind their hands.

Angry at the world, this man took action. He loaded himself up with guns and ammunition, walked to a local gathering place, and opened fire. 35 people were killed, and another 23 injured as he rampaged through his town.

This is the story of the Port Arthur massacre, and it is chillingly familiar to anyone who has been reading the news in the United States for the last few decades. The details change — maybe the young man was unemployed, or perhaps he had a job that he hated — but the overall picture is always the same. Year after year after year, the same old story of a gunman, armed to the teeth, murdering innocent strangers for no more reason than he felt like it that day.

Pictured: Not a great thing to see. Photo by Max Kleinen on Unsplash

Except, there is one difference to this story. The Port Arthur massacre happened in 1996, in Tasmania, Australia. It was the worst mass shooting that the country had ever seen, and it caused a national outcry that literally changed the nation. Shortly after the Port Arthur massacre, Australia implemented a series of legislative changes called the National Firearms Agreement, which covered everything from what type of gun you were allowed to own, to licensing and universal background checks for buying firearms, to things like how you have to keep and store guns if you live in Australia.

“The Agreement affirms that firearms possession and use is a…