The stats

Port Arthur

Port Arthur

On a quiet Sunday in late April 1996 a single gunman, armed with military-style semi-automatic weapons shot dead 35 people, including children, and wounded 18 others at Tasmania’s historic Port Arthur. The incident reverberated throughout Australia and the impact on families, responders and the broader community was profound then and continues today.

The Port Arthur tragedy meant that in an 18 year period there had been 13 mass shootings that killed 104 people and wounded 52 others. Lives changed forever.  The country was in shock but also angry that this violence could occur here. Families did not feel safe and the calls for Immediate change were heard across the country.

Politicians and Police Ministers acted quickly and together and provided bi-partisan leadership and  support to bring forward real and substantial reforms to Australia’s gun laws.

Gun reforms

Within 12 days of the Port Arthur tragedy, Australia’s Police Ministers agreed to a National Firearms Agreement that outlined a national approach to the regulation of firearms. It set out minimum standards for the safe and responsible possession, carriage, use, registration, storage, and transfer of firearms.

The Agreement affirmed that “… firearms possession and use is a privilege that is conditional on the overriding need to ensure public safety.”.

Following these gun reforms, no mass shootings occurred in the next 22 years until a tragic domestic murder-suicide in May 2018.

It is estimated that without the intervention of our gun reforms, approximately 16 mass shootings would have been expected between then and February 2018.

Chapman et al, 2018

Gun deaths

The annual rate of total gun deaths in Australia fell from 2.9 per 100,000 in 1996 to just 0.88 per 100,000 in 2018.

Our gun death rate is 12 times less than the US of about 10.6 per 100,000 people.

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Gun deaths in Australia

Total gun deaths Total gun deaths Rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 people Rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 people

source: data extracted from

Gun suicides

The rate of firearm-related suicide has more than halved since the introduction of Australia’s gun reforms.

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Gun suicides in Australia

Total gun suicides Total gun suicides Per 100,000 people Per 100,000 people

source: data extracted from

Gun homicides

Rates of firearm-related hospitalisation and deaths are around four and six times higher respectively for residents of remote and very remote areas when compared with residents of major cities.

AIHW 2017

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Gun homicides in Australia

Per 100,000 people Gun homicides Gun homicides Per 100,000 people

source: data extracted from

847 reported incidents in 2018 of firearm theft, in which 2,425 firearms were stolen

this is a 15% increase in incidents and a 35% increase in stolen firearms since 2008-09

AIC 2020

93% of firearm-related deaths and hospitalisations are men

33% of hospital cases were accidents

AIHW 2017

Australians are very proud of our gun safety framework

Nearly 90 per cent of Australians supported the strong gun safety policies when they were introduced in 1996. In a 2018 survey, 87 per cent still thought they were “about right” or “too weak”.

Essential Report, March 2018

Our members

  • The Royal Australian & New Zealand Collage of Psychiatrists
  • Australian College of Nursing
  • Injury Matters
  • Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfar
  • Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
  • Gun Control Australia
  • Australasian Injury Prevention Network
  • White Ribbon Australia
  • Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria
  • Australian Education Union
  • RACP
  • Medics for Gun Control
  • Public Health Association Australia
  • Australian Childcare Alliance
  • Australasian College for Emergency Medicine
  • Australian Childhood Foundation
  • Alannah & Madeline Foundation
  • Centre for Armed Violence Reduction
  • Australian Health Promotion Association
  • No to Violence
  • College of Intensive Care Medicine of Australia and New Zealand
  • UNICEF Australia
  • Uniting VicTas

Our supporters

  • Australian Communities Foundation
  • Cubit Family Foundation Australia


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