A pair of cowboy boots in the street outside the concert venue after a mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada.
(photo credit: STEVE MARCUS/REUTERS)
THE SCREAMS of the victims of Martin Bryant’s shooting spree in Port Arthur, Tasmania in 1996 echoed around Australia, reaching the ears of then-prime minister John Howard. Ten days after the massacre of 35 and the wounding of 18, Howard had convinced all Australia’s states to institute a national ban on private ownership of automatic and semi-automatic weapons.A gun buyback for high-powered and rapid-fire rifles followed, with more than 650,000 weapons handed in. A strict, uniform system for registering and owning firearms was reinforced by heavy fines and long prison sentences for illegal possession. Polls showed that a staggering 90 percent of the public approved the stricter gun restrictions.