Fiona MacDonald in Science Alert:
It's been 20 years since Australia rolled out nation-wide gun law reform. And now an analysis of more than four decades of data on violence in the country has come up with a conclusion: it worked.
The study found there have been no fatal mass shootings since April 1996 – despite experiencing one every two to three years in the decades leading up to the changes. There's also been an overall drop in the number of people killed by guns.
"If you take away the means of committing a mass killing with firearms, you don't have mass killings for the next 20 years," lead researcher Simon Chapman from the University of Sydney told ABC. "That's been our experience here [in Australia]."
The results come at a time when the US is reeling after its most deadly mass shooting ever, and experts are predicting that around 30,000 people will be killed – or kill themselves – with guns in the country this year.
But last week, the US Senate rejected four proposals to tighten gun laws, amid arguments that gun control takes away personal freedoms, and won't necessarily stop humans from killing each other.
To figure out whether or not that was the case, a team of Australian researchers looked at government stats on gun deaths between 1979 and 2013, as well as media reports of mass shootings – which is classified as an event where five or more people are killed by gunshot wounds.