Twenty years on, Australia's Prime Minister says the legacy of the Port Arthur massacre is that gun violence in the country is now ''an exception'' rather than a ''brutal reality''. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION). A commemorative service was held on Thursday, marking 20 years since lone gunman Martin Bryant shot and killed 35 people at Port Arthur on the Tasmanian Peninsula. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, former Prime Minister John Howard and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, laid wreaths at the memorial site. The mass shooting led to strict gun controls that have in turn led to a huge decline in gun murders, undermining claims in the United States that such curbs are not the answer. The chances of being murdered by a gun in Australia plunged to 0.15 per 100,000 people in 2014 from 0.54 per 100,000 people in 1996, a decline of 72 percent, a Reuters analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics showed. The official figures directly contradict assertions of most leading U.S. presidential candidates who have either questioned the need to toughen their country's gun laws or directly denounced Australia's laws as dangerous. In a January 2015 tweet, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump wrote "Fact - the tighter the gun laws, the more violence. The criminals will always have guns". A year later, Republican hopeful Ted Cruz blamed Australia's gun laws on a rise in sexual assault. Democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton has ruled out an Australian-style gun buyback, while Democrat hopeful Bernie Sanders has rejected the need for tougher gun controls.