College Honors Program

Date of Creation


Document Type



Political Science

First Advisor

Daniel Klinghard


This thesis centers on the interrelationships and differences in firearm legislation and culture within the United States of America and Australia. As a result of the Port Arthur Massacre on April 28, 1996, Australia was faced with an unprecedented mass shooting that completely shifted Australian politics and culture regarding firearm safety and availability. Thus, the thesis inquiries into the effectiveness of Australia’s buyback program as well as the cultural and political factors that allowed for such legislation to be passed. After suffering 118 mass shootings in the U.S. since 1982, the history of the United States regarding gun control is one of inaction. Overall, that is why the core of my thesis is rooted in the culture of each nation regarding firearms; it determines what about Australia created an environment amicable to gun control that seems impossible in the U.S. The answer to this question rests in many factors: the history of each nation, the role of lobby groups (such as the NRA), the structure of government, public opinion, and the rights of citizens (the Second Amendment). Balancing all of these factors, this thesis acknowledges that the U.S. could not have as drastic a policy response as that of Australia, but the U.S. can easily implement effective firearm safety measures that cuts through the partisanship divide of gun rights activists and pro-gun control lobbyists.


Departmental Honors thesis for Political Science.

Included in the 2020 Virtual Academic Conference.