PHILADELPHIA — It turns out that gun control does prevent mass shootings, at least according to Australian researchers tasked with determining the cause of the country’s two-decade-long absence of mass shootings.

A new study finds that the odds of Australia’s 22-year reprieve from mass shootings being purely by chance is one in 200,000, the researchers calculated.

Person holding a gun
A new study finds that the odds of Australia’s 22-year reprieve from mass shootings being purely by chance is one in 200,000, the researchers calculated.

In 1996, 35 people were killed and 23 were seriously injured in the Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania. That same year, Australia’s government passed the National Firearms Agreement. The Agreement enacted uniform gun registration, repudiated the legal argument of self-defense as justification for holding a gun license, mandatory locked storage of firearms, prohibited mail-order firearm sales, and banned semi-automatic rifles and pump-action shotguns for civilian use.

In the 18 years before the last mass shooting in Australian history, 13 shooting events occurred in which five or more people died, not including the shooter. Since the Port Arthur massacre, there have been none.

“Most people hear these starkly contrasting numbers and conclude that Australia’s gun law reforms effectively stopped firearm massacres here,” says the paper’s lead author Simon Chapman, an Emeritus Professor at the University of Sydney, in a release. “However, some scholars and members of the gun lobby have argued that since mass shootings are relatively rare events, the concentration of incidents in one decade and their absence in another decade is merely a statistical anomaly.”

But the numbers, and the odds, couldn’t be more clear. The researchers used a rare events model to prove the lull in shootings wasn’t just a coincidence.

“This was no accident,” argues co-author Philip Alpers, an associate professor at the University of Sydney. “Australia followed standard public health procedures to reduce the risk of multiple shooting events, and we can see the evidence. It worked. Gun lobby-affiliated and other researchers have been saying for years that mass shootings are such rare events it could have been a matter of luck they dropped off in the wake of Australia’s gun control laws. Instead, we found the odds against this hypothesis are 200,000 to one.”

The study’s findings were published March 13, 2018 in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

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  1. Reddog says:

    The reason mass shooting stopped in Australia is because there’s no longer a reason to stage one: They’ve disarmed their public and they got what they wanted; but no one is really safer. They were suckered into surrendering their most important bulwark against genocide and predation. It won’t happen right away; but eventually it will. That’s the price you’ll pay for giving government a monopoly of force.

  2. Dyno-Dean Lucas says:

    And what happened to the violent crime rate? What happened to the number of stabbing deaths? Oh and what about the other shootings that didn’t meet your narrow criteria? Just another biased study that uses a formula to get a desired result. smh

  3. Ivin Huffman says:

    Dec. 9, 2014 – in Cairns, Queensland, a woman stabbed 8 children to death. Following their criteria this is a mass killing. I am sure that the victim are glad the killer used a knife instead of a gun.
    January 2017 – Melbourne, Australia. A man used a car to run over and kill six people and injuring eight. Once again, no gun was used. Congratulations, you have taken guns away and forced criminals to kill by other means. Just imagine the relief of the victims’ families knowing their loved one’s died by car instead of gun. I wonder how many would have died if people in the crowd had guns to defend themselves?

    1. Pat says:

      Indeed the mass murder rate of children the 25 years since Australia gun confiscation Is HIGHER than the 25 years before it.

      And what is the is boasting about Australia reducing murder by 41% since their mid 1990’s peak? The US murder rate fell nearly 60% since it s 1990’s peak.

  4. Kaliahk says:

    This is just propaganda. After gun control was adopted in 1996 through 2014 in Australia firearm gun deaths declined 50%. In the US between 1993 and 2011 gun deaths declined 49% even though the assault weapons ban expired in 2004 and the number of guns in America increased 56%. Less guns does not mean less violence – it is clear from statistics that cause is something other than the availability of guns. Guns do not cause mass murders, terrorists and people with mental problems do. NZ which has much more lax firearm laws than Australia has had no mass shootings. This is a far more complicated issue than this article makes it out to be.

    1. Hatstand says:

      Rubbish. New Zealand had a mass shooting in a small township near where I live in 1990. We also introduced strict gun control laws. Haven’t had a mass shooting since.

      1. John Stuff says:

        Tell me about New Zealand society and NZ immigration policy?

      2. Hatstand says:

        New Zealand is a multi-cultural society. Unfortunately, the current government is trying to restrict immigration due to a housing shortage brought about primarily by the previous governments right-wing policies.

      3. John Stuff says:

        Really? The immigration system there is merit based and it’s not a country that’s being over run with needed skill/education lacking refugees. The country is overwhelming white people of European origin.

      4. J Smith says:

        My US state has virtually no gun control and a lower murder rate than new Zealand.

        And the left wing in new Zealand is opposed to open immigration, claiming that economic problem caused by the prior left wing government mean there can’t be much immigration

        New Zealand did NOT ban Ruger Mini-14, the gun used in the Norway shooting (the largest school mass shooting in the world).

      5. Pat says:

        Australia had its largest mass murder of children ever just 2 1/2 years ago.

        And you can own the gun used in the biggest school shooting ever (Utoyal Norway) in New Zealand.

      6. Hatstand says:

        The weapon used at Utoya would be classified as a “military style semi-automatic weapon” in New Zealand. That means you need a special endorsment from the police, special security, and special registration.
        So, while it is possible to own one, it is extremely difficult to do so.

      7. J Smith says:

        You re absolutely wrong. Mini-14 ranch is one of the most popular guns in new Zealand. It is also very very popular in Canada and NOT restricted there.

    2. J Smith says:

      Australia’s murder rate declined 42%, not 50%
      US murder rate fell 60% from its 1990’s peak in the same period.

      and why are you saying ‘deaths” and not murder? Suicide just shifts to other means when you remove guns as Australia proved. It had 0% decline in overall suicide.

      But the way my US state has virtually no gun control and a lower murder rate than New Zealand

  5. Kaliahk says:

    BTWW what is the definition of mass shooting – if that of NYT, then I would imagine there has been a mass shooting.

    1. Jim James says:

      Any weekend in Chicago is a mass shooting

  6. thaipbs says:

    It was political correctness that allowed Nikolas Cruz to buy a gun despite many red flags he was already dangerous. He had no police record despite having made threats to other students even hurled a chair at a teacher. But Broward County follows Obama’s Promise Program that says number of arrests must be equal among races. Blacks and students with Spanish surnames had already met their quota so no more arrests allowed from those two demographics! Without pc he could have been previously arrested and existing gun laws would have prevented his legal purchase. #EndPC

  7. Byron says:

    Coincidence: Gun Control Brought End To Mass Shootings In The News In Australia, Study Finds Massive Cover Up Afoot

  8. Upright Me says:

    The 2nd is a defensive amendment, always has been. We can defend our person, our home, our family, our property, the operative word is defend. We can militia when we’re invaded by a foreign soil or fight our own tyrannical government. It gets bad when the gun is used offensively, the wild west, the roaring 20’s and the gangsters, the gangs of the 80’s, etc. It’s bad now as we have kids mass murdering each other. These are societal ills not the NRA or the guns fault, the kids are not alright.

  9. rick meek says:

    BS and more lies to beef up their attack on gun owners…..besides – while on active duty – more murders – tortures and attacks were committed by edges weapons than you can imagine…..

  10. Junkman107 says:

    A simple Google search reveals this study to be completely false. The Sydney Siege, the Hunt Family Murders, the Hectorville Siege, Monash University Shooting, and the Wright Street Biker Murders were all mass shootings that have occurred since 1996.

    And if you narrow the criteria of mass shootings just to exclude all of those listed above, you’ll find that there were hardly any mass shootings *before* Port Arthur as well. Plus, it also conveniently ignores the numerous numbers of mass killings that didn’t involve guns, so it’s not like Australia’s gun ban stopped mass murderers from committing their atrocities. And lastly, this study is based upon the premise that Australians somehow never reacquired firearms since 1996, when Australians own more guns today than they did back in 1996.

    So, yeah. This “study” is the height of intellectual dishonesty. Simon Chapman should have his emeritus status revoked, along with his pension, because of his academic fraud.

  11. Pat says:

    My Us state has virtually no gun control, has income, education, race distributions similar to Australia and has had no mass murder (more than five people murdered) since the mid 1990’s while Australia had five murders of five or more people since Australia gun control

  12. Kindly Neighbor says:

    Really? What about the 7 people who were just killed?

  13. Vlad D. Impaler says:

    What Australia did isn’t gun control. That’s gun confiscation. Big difference. And Australia is an island, if you didn’t know. It’s fairly hard to get weapons to an island if the government has taken the people’s rights away. If you look at Great Britain after their gun confiscation you’ll find things aren’t as rosy as they appear. The violent crime rate skyrocketed. Fast forward to today and you’ll find a London where the homicide rate is higher than New York City in the US. And New York City has guns and knives. So take your pick. Higher violent crime and homicide rates, taking a person’s ability to defend themselves, but fewer mass shootings or less violent crime and homicide, a population which can defend themselves, but more mass shootings. It’s 6-5 and pick em if you ask me. But I’d still take my right to self defense every time. It’s the only winning bet.

  14. Duelles says:

    Nice, but an incomplete story. Mark Twain – not Australian – observed something about lies, damned lies and statistics.