Law Reform and Society’s Need For It
Law reform is the procedure by which the ruling power amends, updates, or repeals laws to accommodate the changing values, ethics, economic environment, and morals of modern society. An example of law reform in Australia is the enactment of the National Firearms Agreement (NDA)1996 due to the catastrophic aftermath of the Port Arthur Massacre.
Gun Control Laws in Australia
Gun violence is a global contemporary issue that violates one’s right to life. In response to gun violence in Australia, gun control laws were implemented to restrict use of firearms in order to ensure the safety and security of wider society.
Why Did Gun Control Laws Change?
The consequential event of the Port Arthur Massacre prompted a review for the failing existing gun laws in Australia. On April 28, 1996, a mass shooting occurred at the tourist destination of Port Arthur in Tasmania as a man opened fire, killing thirty-five people and injuring eighteen
How Did Gun Control Laws Change?
The National Firearms Agreement 1996 enacted under the Howard government was the sole legislation that changed Australia’s gun laws. It is an agreement between all states that calls for thorough registration and licensing and the prohibition of certain guns. Prior to this agreement, Australia did not have a collective national law for gun control. Instead, matters and practices involving firearms were covered by each state’s negligent systems that disregarded necessary registration. As a consequence of varying laws in states, Australia was weak and inconsistent in tracking gun activity.
Effectiveness of Gun Control Law Reform
The gun control law reform in Australia has been identified as remarkably effective as it reflected society’s ideals of justice for victims and overall public safety.:
- Ever since the commencement of the NFA 1996, Australia has seen a decrease in gun ownership as a cause of the federal amnesty collecting up to almost 660,000 newly banned guns in 1996 and an additional 68,727 handguns in 2002.
- In a study conducted by Leigh and Neill in 2010, findings disclose that during the 10 years after the implementation of the NFA there was a 65% decline in firearm homicide and a 59% decline in firearm related suicides.
The improved state laws initiated from the National Firearms Agreement 1996 remains extensively effective in seeing the downfall of mortality rates in Australia, maintaining society’s standard of protection and moral values against gun violence.
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