says don't wind back gun control - 8th September 2015
Prime Minister John Howard says he strongly opposes
any winding back of the gun control legislation his
government introduced after the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre.
at an event hosted by Gun Control Australia, Mr Howard
detailed his initial reaction to the massacre that
resulted in the death of 35 people.
everybody else, I was just stunned,' Mr Howard told
a gathering at Kirribilli House on Tuesday hosted
by Gun Control Australia, speaking of the events of
April 28, 1996.
Howard says he felt morally obliged to use the majority
held by his government to introduce the laws in the
wake of the deaths.
pretty quickly felt I had to do something, I had just
been elected with this huge majority,' he said.
former coalition prime minister says the fierce resistance
in rural areas was borne mainly by his National Party
have to say it was very hard politically for some
of my National Party colleagues,' he said, crediting
Tim Fisher, John Anderson and then National Queensland
Premier Rob Borbidge for their political courage.
Howard also linked the backlash to the emergence of
One Nation, saying it fed the party's rise.
on his address to a group of concerned gun owners
in Sale, Victoria in 1996, Mr Howard says he now regrets
his decision to wear a bulletproof vest but was advised
at the time to do so.
Mr Howard says there was broad support for tighter
controls among other sections of the public and he
was prepared to go to a referendum if needed.
control was very popular in the cities and it was
especially popular amongst women,' he said.
dismissed recent comments made by Liberal Democratic
Senator David Leyonhjelm, who advocates a more American-style
approach to guns.
American way is the wrong way,' he said.
Leyonhjelm traded his vote on a border security amendment
to ensure a federal ban on the Turkish-made Adler
A110 shotgun, capable of firing eight rounds in eight
Howard was also critical of the lifting of controls
such as a 28-day cooling off period after purchasing
guns and limits on the number of guns a person can
winding back of the laws concerns me,' he said.
Mr Howard remains confident there is firm public support
for strong gun controls.
the community thought the gun laws were being seriously
weakened their would be quite a kick back,' he said.
gun buy-back introduced by Mr Howard purchased and
destroyed more than 631,000 firearms.
controls over firearms have since been slowly wound
number of firearms held by civilians in Australia
has reached more than three million; four states have
eliminated the 28-day cooling off period when applying
for a second weapon; and one licence-holder in NSW
has been allowed to acquire 329 guns and another in
Victoria has been granted permission to have 131 firearms.
Arthur survivor Carol Loughton was in Sydney to join
calls for more action to ensure there is not another
was in the Broad Arrow Cafe with her daughter Sarah
when Bryant started shooting.
(Sarah) was shot in the back of the head and I threw
myself over her, trying to save her,' Ms Loughton
was shot in the back.
Loughton said there are still 18 people living with
extremely severe wounds.
seeing a surgeon again later this month. I've had
more than 30 operations,' she said.
doctors can't amputate my back, so it turns to jelly.
It's like gangrene.'
took part of my left hip-bone out. They moulded it
into the shape of a scapula.'
few years later, 'that also melted'.
now have half a leg ... If it flares up again, I will
lose the fibula out of my other leg.
was 40 when this happened, and it doesn't go away.
will go on for the rest of our lives.'