How Australia’s global gold standard on gun control is being eroded

How Australia’s global gold standard on gun control is being eroded

It was a Sunday, and gun control advocate and expert Rebecca Peters was at home listening to the radio when she heard there had been a shooting in Tasmania. “Over the course of a couple of hours,” she recalls, “it went from being at least eight dead to 10 to 14 people dead. The number kept going up, and as it exceeded the numbers of the other mass shootings I had studied and knew by heart, I could see this was just way beyond what we had ever seen in Australia.” At that point, the details of the shooting were still unclear, but Peters knew semi automatic weapons must have been used. She’d been working as a full-time volunteer for the National Coalition for Gun Control as a media consultant since the 1991 Strathfield massacre in Sydney, when a gunman killed seven people, including himself, with a semi-automatic rifle after stabbing a girl to death. In 1995 she finished her law degree with a thesis comparing gun laws across Australia’s jurisdictions. She was the go-to expert for politicians eager to tighten gun control in their states, drafting ideal gun laws that never gained governmental support. The issue was political dynamite, especially among regional voters. As the grim reality of what was unfolding at the Tasmanian tourist attraction took hold that day, Peters’ years of experience and knowledge kicked into gear – she prepared a media briefing with key points about the flaws in current gun rules. “It had the […]

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