Editorials

Getting guns out of homes

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7064.1030 (Published 26 October 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1030
  1. Simon Chapman, Associate professor
  1. Department of Public Health and Comunity Medicine, University of Sydney, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, NSW 2045, Australia

    Britain's stance sets a new reference point for other countries' efforts at reform

    Gun killing sprees, particularly those where people unknown to the gunman are killed in public places, have recently been the catalysts for radical gun law reform in four nations. In 1989 Patrick Purdy returned to his primary school in Stockton, California, shot five children, and injured another 30 before killing himself. The resultant outrage led to the eventual banning of newly manufactured and imported assault rifles in the United States in September 1994.1 Later that year, the murder of 14 women at Montreal's l'Ecole Polytechnique also set in train what eventually became gun control Bill C-68, proclaimed in the Canadian parliament on 6 December 1995. Among various provisions, the bill required the registration of all firearms—a provision always virulently opposed by gun lobbies throughout the world.

    The grotesque world record for a mass gun killing in recent peacetime occurred at Tasmania's Port Arthur tourist site on 28 April this year, when Martin Bryant killed 35 people and wounded 18. Within two weeks of …

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