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Australia's 1996 gun law reforms: faster falls in firearm deaths, firearm suicides, and a decade without mass shootings.
Inj Prev 2015; 21(5):355-62IP

Abstract

BACKGROUND

After a 1996 firearm massacre in Tasmania in which 35 people died, Australian governments united to remove semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns and rifles from civilian possession, as a key component of gun law reforms.

OBJECTIVE

To determine whether Australia's 1996 major gun law reforms were associated with changes in rates of mass firearm homicides, total firearm deaths, firearm homicides and firearm suicides, and whether there were any apparent method substitution effects for total homicides and suicides.

DESIGN

Observational study using official statistics. Negative binomial regression analysis of changes in firearm death rates and comparison of trends in pre-post gun law reform firearm-related mass killings.

SETTING

Australia, 1979-2003.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES

Changes in trends of total firearm death rates, mass fatal shooting incidents, rates of firearm homicide, suicide and unintentional firearm deaths, and of total homicides and suicides per 100 000 population.

RESULTS

In the 18 years before the gun law reforms, there were 13 mass shootings in Australia, and none in the 10.5 years afterwards. Declines in firearm-related deaths before the law reforms accelerated after the reforms for total firearm deaths (p=0.04), firearm suicides (p=0.007) and firearm homicides (p=0.15), but not for the smallest category of unintentional firearm deaths, which increased. No evidence of substitution effect for suicides or homicides was observed. The rates per 100 000 of total firearm deaths, firearm homicides and firearm suicides all at least doubled their existing rates of decline after the revised gun laws.

CONCLUSIONS

Australia's 1996 gun law reforms were followed by more than a decade free of fatal mass shootings, and accelerated declines in firearm deaths, particularly suicides. Total homicide rates followed the same pattern. Removing large numbers of rapid-firing firearms from civilians may be an effective way of reducing mass shootings, firearm homicides and firearm suicides.

Authors

No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

26396147

Citation

Chapman, S, et al. "Australia's 1996 Gun Law Reforms: Faster Falls in Firearm Deaths, Firearm Suicides, and a Decade Without Mass Shootings." Injury Prevention : Journal of the International Society for Child and Adolescent Injury Prevention, vol. 21, no. 5, 2015, pp. 355-62.
Chapman S, Alpers P, Agho K, et al. Australia's 1996 gun law reforms: faster falls in firearm deaths, firearm suicides, and a decade without mass shootings. Inj Prev. 2015;21(5):355-62.
Chapman, S., Alpers, P., Agho, K., & Jones, M. (2015). Australia's 1996 gun law reforms: faster falls in firearm deaths, firearm suicides, and a decade without mass shootings. Injury Prevention : Journal of the International Society for Child and Adolescent Injury Prevention, 21(5), pp. 355-62. doi:10.1136/ip.2006.013714rep.
Chapman S, et al. Australia's 1996 Gun Law Reforms: Faster Falls in Firearm Deaths, Firearm Suicides, and a Decade Without Mass Shootings. Inj Prev. 2015;21(5):355-62. PubMed PMID: 26396147.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Australia's 1996 gun law reforms: faster falls in firearm deaths, firearm suicides, and a decade without mass shootings. AU - Chapman,S, AU - Alpers,P, AU - Agho,K, AU - Jones,M, PY - 2015/9/24/entrez PY - 2015/9/24/pubmed PY - 2015/9/24/medline KW - ABS Australian Bureau of Statistics SP - 355 EP - 62 JF - Injury prevention : journal of the International Society for Child and Adolescent Injury Prevention JO - Inj. Prev. VL - 21 IS - 5 N2 - BACKGROUND: After a 1996 firearm massacre in Tasmania in which 35 people died, Australian governments united to remove semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns and rifles from civilian possession, as a key component of gun law reforms. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether Australia's 1996 major gun law reforms were associated with changes in rates of mass firearm homicides, total firearm deaths, firearm homicides and firearm suicides, and whether there were any apparent method substitution effects for total homicides and suicides. DESIGN: Observational study using official statistics. Negative binomial regression analysis of changes in firearm death rates and comparison of trends in pre-post gun law reform firearm-related mass killings. SETTING: Australia, 1979-2003. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Changes in trends of total firearm death rates, mass fatal shooting incidents, rates of firearm homicide, suicide and unintentional firearm deaths, and of total homicides and suicides per 100 000 population. RESULTS: In the 18 years before the gun law reforms, there were 13 mass shootings in Australia, and none in the 10.5 years afterwards. Declines in firearm-related deaths before the law reforms accelerated after the reforms for total firearm deaths (p=0.04), firearm suicides (p=0.007) and firearm homicides (p=0.15), but not for the smallest category of unintentional firearm deaths, which increased. No evidence of substitution effect for suicides or homicides was observed. The rates per 100 000 of total firearm deaths, firearm homicides and firearm suicides all at least doubled their existing rates of decline after the revised gun laws. CONCLUSIONS: Australia's 1996 gun law reforms were followed by more than a decade free of fatal mass shootings, and accelerated declines in firearm deaths, particularly suicides. Total homicide rates followed the same pattern. Removing large numbers of rapid-firing firearms from civilians may be an effective way of reducing mass shootings, firearm homicides and firearm suicides. SN - 1475-5785 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/26396147/Australia's_1996_gun_law_reforms:_faster_falls_in_firearm_deaths_firearm_suicides_and_a_decade_without_mass_shootings_ L2 - http://ip.bmj.com/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=26396147 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -