Yesterday was the 18th anniversary of the Port Arthur massacre.
It’s been 18 years since a lone gunman, 28-year-old Martin Bryant, shot and killed 35 people and injured 20 others.
It’s been 18 years but there are still individuals and families suffering the consequences of gun crimes committed since.
Michelle Fernando is just one of those people suffering. In 2010, her sister – who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and paranoid psychosis – joined the Sydney Pistol Club. She was able to register as a member without undergoing a mental health check and was then trained to use a dangerous weapon.
When she left the club one afternoon in August, she was carrying an automatic handgun and 30 rounds of ammunition in her handbag. She then used that gun to shoot her father.
She fired five shots at Vincent Lalin Fernado – and tore apart that family.
So how was this allowed to happen? Didn’t we ban guns in Australia after Port Arthur?
Back in 1996, the response to Port Arthur tragedy was unprecedented, with the public and politicians rallying to change the gun laws in our country. Every State and Territory committed to the ‘Port Arthur Agreement on Firearms’, which implemented nationwide registration and laws regarding the ownership of specific type of firearms.
But, over time, new laws and legislation have softened commitment to the Port Author Agreement, particularly in NSW.
A new petition on GunControlAustralia.org is calling for the new Premier of NSW, Mike Baird, to commit to strengthening gun control laws in the state so that they are in line with the Port Arthur Agreement and pledge to doing no deals with the Shooters Party.
So what are the changes we’ve seen to gun laws in the last decade? The petition outlines them as: