Australian Cabinet, 1996

Committee Introduction

On April 28th, 1996, 35 people were killed and 23 wounded at the historic Port Arthur former prison colony in southeastern Tasmania, Australia. 28-year-old Martin Bryant pleaded guilty to having carried out the shootings with a semi-automatic rifle he had legally purchased and was given 35 life sentences without the possibility of parole. Soon after the incident and the dealing in court, it was released in the media that Bryant had significant intellectual disabilities, leading to the question: why was someone with pertinent intellectual disabilities allowed to by such a dangerous weapon in the first place? These series of events led to some of the most intense changes in gun regulation laws in Australia’s history.

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