Australian mass shooter Martin Bryant being interviewed following the Port Arthur massacre
On April 28th 1996 Martin Bryant opened fire at the Port Arthur historic site, a popular tourist destination in Tasmania, Australia. He was armed with a .223 calibre Colt AR-15 SP1 Carbine and a .308 calibre L1A1 SLR battle rifle. Bryant murdered 35 people and injured a further 23 others making it Australia’s deadliest mass shooting to this day.
The massacre caused a national outcry and Prime Minister John Howard introduced new gun control legislation. The National Firearms Programme Implementation Act of 1996 was passed the same year restricting private ownership of high capacity semi-automatic rifles and shotguns as well as pump-action shotguns. Uniform firearms licensing was also introduced. These measures passed with bipartisan support from the entire Commonwealth and Australian states and territories.
The people killed by Martin Bryant were Winifred Aplin (58), Walter Bennett (66), Nicole Burgess (17), Sou Leng Chung (32), Elva Gaylard (48), Zoe Ann Hall (28), Elizabeth Howard (26), Mary Howard (57), Mervyn Howard (55), Ronald Noel Jary (71), Tony Kistan (51), Leslie Lever (53), Sarah Kate Loughton (15), David Martin (72), Noelene Joyce Martin (69), Pauline Masters (49), Alannah Louise Mikac (6), Madeline Grace Mikac (3), Nanette Patricia Mikac (36), Andrew Bruce Mills (39), Peter Brenton Nash (32), Gwenda Joan Neander (67), Moh Yee William Ng (48), Anthony Nightingale (44), Mary Rouse Nixon (60), Glenn Pears (35), Russell James Pollard (72), Janette Quin (50), Helene Salzmann (50), Robert Salzmann (57), Kate Elizabeth Scott (21), Kevin Sharp (68), Raymond Sharp (67), Royce William Thompson (59) and Jason Bernard Winter (29).
Although his true motive remains largely unknown, it is claimed by his lawyer that Bryant was fuelled by a desire for notoriety and infamy having been inspired by international media reports of the Dunblane school massacre in Scotland, United Kingdom. Following his capture Bryant was fixated on finding out how many people he killed and was reportedly impressed and pleased with the number.
A monument and memorial garden were constructed in Port Arthur to be opened on the fourth anniversary of the massacre in April, 2000. Bryant remains in prison today age 50 in the Wilfred Lopes Centre near the Risdon Prison Complex.