In Osmington, a town of just 135 people in southwest Australia, seven people were killed in what could be the largest shooting the nation has seen in more than two decades.
According to the Associated Press, when police were called to the home at approximately 5:15 a.m. local time Friday, they found the bodies of three adults and four children.
"The bodies of two adults were located outside. Five bodies were located inside a building on the rural property," said Western Australia Police Commissioner Chris Dawson.
"It appears that ... gunshot wounds are there, but I don’t want to go further than that, as two firearms have been located at the scene," Dawson added.
9 News Perth spoke with a family friend, Felicity Haynes, who claims to have heard multiple gunshots coming from the property in the early morning. The network quoted Dawson, who stated that a man made the emergency call that brought police to the property. However, the man’s identity has not been revealed.
The commissioner was circumspect about the incident, refusing to release the names and ages of the deceased, only revealing that officials were attempting to contact family members.
Additionally, Dawson stated: "At this point in time, we don’t have any information to raise further public concern." The commissioner’s statement may indicate that the crime was a murder/suicide, according to multiple outlets, but authorities have not released details to that effect.
Following the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre in which 35 people were killed, Australia tightened its gun laws and instituted a buyback program. According to The Council on Foreign Relations, however, only one-sixth of the "national stock" of "assault weapons" were recovered during the buyback:
The National Agreement on Firearms all but prohibited automatic and semiautomatic assault rifles, stiffened licensing and ownership rules, and instituted a temporary gun buyback program that took some 650,000 assault weapons (about one-sixth of the national stock) out of public circulation. Among other things, the law also required licensees to demonstrate a “genuine need” for a particular type of gun and take a firearm safety course.
In 2002 and 2003, following a shooting in which multiple handguns were used, the Australian government further restricted the nation’s gun laws, and instituted another buyback.
The Library of Congress writes:
... in November 2002, various resolutions were agreed to, which included restricting the classes of legal handguns that can be imported or possessed for sporting purposes, changing licensing requirements for handguns, and exploring options for a buyback program for those guns deemed illegal. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) endorsed the resolutions in December 2002, and these formed the National Handgun Control Agreement. ...
The federal Parliament also enacted the National Handgun Buyback Act 2003, which provided for financial assistance to be granted to states in connection with the implementation of a buyback program for handguns that did not comply with the new restrictions. The buyback program, which was implemented by the individual states and territories, resulted in about 70,000 handguns and more than 278,000 parts and accessories being surrendered.
The Daily Wire will provide further information regarding the Osmington shooting as it become available.