This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
America has a long history of individual freedom and personal responsibility. Its westward expansion by rugged individuals and the romanticizing of its gun history strengthen its gun culture in America, especially in the West. That almost everything about American society has changed since the 1800s seems irrelevant to gun fanatics.
In 1999, the Columbine shooters killed 13 and wounded 24. Public outrage resulted in no major long-term gun control.
Five years later, America allowed the assault weapon ban to expire. Since Columbine, America has had 35 mass shootings, including seven in 2012 alone.
One of the few countries with a similar frontier history and cowboy gun culture is Australia. In 1996, Australia had a devastating mass shooting at Port Arthur that killed 35 people and wounded 23.
Over the next four months, Australia instituted sweeping and sensible gun regulations. In the past 17 years, Australia has had zero mass shootings.
Bestselling fantasy author Brandon Mull famously wrote in Fablehaven: "Smart people learn from their mistakes. But the real sharp ones learn from the mistakes of others."
Apparently, Australia is brilliant and America is incredibly dense.