By John Crook
50p, A4, Soft Cover, ISBN 1 876279 13 3, 2nd Ed. 1999, $24.00
With 35 dead and 18 injured, the gun massacre at Port Arthur in April 1996 set a new dimension for heartache and national despair throughout Australia. If ever there was a time for gun control to flourish in Australia, this was it.
In a remarkable turnaround, the Liberal & National parties lead the way towards much stricter gun laws. Up to the Port Arthur gun massacre, these political parties had adopted the gun lobby’s view that people should have easy access to firearms.
This book looks at the tragedy, the personality of Martin Bryant and his subsequent behaviour, before examining the political responses of the police ministers and the Federal government. Crucial questions are examined, eg Why did the Conservative political parties make such dramatic changes to their gun control policies? Are the new gun laws sufficient to protect the community? What additional controls are needed on guns? Who should share the blame for the Port Arthur massacre? What price has Tasmania paid for its weak gun laws?