Port Arthur Massacre

Evaluate the effectiveness of the law in relation to the Port Arthur Massacre

The legal system is alway meant remain up to date with society and its values, as well as respond rapidly to new events and then have their effectiveness assessed in the future. One key example of this is the laws effectiveness in response to the Port Arthur Massacre of 1996 and the subsequent Gun law reforms that followed.

Before going into the different legal responses to the Port Arthur Massacre of 1996, it would be appropriate to summarise what the Port Arthur Massacre actually was.

On sunday the 28th of April 1996, a Tasmanian man named Martin Bryant ate lunch on the deck of the Broad Arrow Cafe located at the Port Arthur historical site. Once Bryant had finished his meal he entered the Cafe, then took a rifle from his bag and started shooting indiscriminately around the Cafe. Bryant then moved to the gift shop and from there onto the car park, where he removed a semi-automatic weapon from his bag and continued shooting. By the time Bryant was subdued 35 people had been killed and almost 20 injured. Then on the 5th of July 1996, Bryant wad charged with a total of 72 criminal offences in the Supreme Court of Tasmania, in September that year Bryant pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to 35 consecutive life sentences as well as 21 years for each of the other counts he was indicted for.

Prior to the Port Arthur Massacre the Gun Laws within Australia were very limited with over 4 million privately owned guns nationwide and approximately 700 gun deaths annually. The gun laws that were in effect up until the Port Arthur Massacre had very little commonality between the states and territories, with some states having stricter, yet still very limited, laws where as others had little to no laws. But with the rise of gun related violence throughout the 80s and 90s many states began to increase the restrictions and regulations placed on gun ownership, this then lead to...