More than 50,000 illegal firearms were handed over in Australia during a three-month amnesty period that ended on Saturday, one day before the Las Vegas shooting where 59 people were killed and more than 500 were injured.
The amnesty haul represents around a fifth of all of Australia’s illegal firearms, according to Reuters. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the amnesty has helped avert massacres such as the Las Vegas tragedy. “The killer there had a collection of semi-automatic weapons which a person in his position would simply not be able to acquire in Australia,” he added, when speaking to reporters in Sydney, Reuters reports.
It was the country’s second amnesty since its worst-ever shooting, Port Arthur, when 35 people died and 23 were wounded at a tourist attraction in Tasmania in 1996. The incident led then-Prime Minister John Howard to tighten laws around access to firearms, particularly rifles and shotguns, and the government introduced a buyback, where owners were compensated for their weapons at market prices. More than 650,000 guns were handed in.
President Obama has frequently praised Australia’s gun control policy. While in Australia there are 15 guns per 100 people, in the U.S., there are 88.8 guns for every 100 people.