WA government announces gun reforms after Perth school shooting

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

Wednesday’s arrest of a 15-year-old boy, who allegedly fired a gun outside a Perth school, is a reminder of the security issues facing Australian schools.

The boy, believed to be a former student at the school, was taken into custody and later charged following the incident at Atlantis Beach Baptist College in Two Rocks.

One of the three shots fired hit the school building and sent the school, as well as a nearby medical centre and daycare centre, into lockdown.

Although the event was referred to as a “one-off” by Western Australia’s Police Commissioner Col Blanch, the reality is that such events are possible anywhere across Australia. And, most Australian schools are unprepared.

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Since 1991, Australia has experienced seven school shootings, resulting in three deaths.

Fortunately, in the most recent incident in Perth, nobody was injured.

When the Australian Institute of Criminology produced a research paper, ‘Mass shootings and firearm control: comparing Australia and the United States’, the report highlighted that determining the factors that may lead to acts of violence, such as mass shootings in schools, is difficult.

The WA government has reacted swiftly, by announcing gun reforms that are being described as Australia’s toughest gun laws. For educators across the country, the move will no doubt be seen as a positive one that may help prevent Australia from going down the path of normalising school shooting-related safety drills – something that would change our cultural landscape forever.

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]brandx.live