S3E15 / The Big Australian Buyback / Andrew Leigh, Philip Alpers, Rebecca Peters, Roland Browne, Simon Chapman

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Australia shares a similar history and culture to our own. But yet after the Port Arthur massacre in 1996, Australians came to see the need for gun regulation very differently. Australia’s newly elected conservative prime minister at the time passed sweeping gun reform. How did that real-world experiment play out? What happens when you reduce the number of guns in a country nationwide?

Note: This season of American Diagnosis was originally published under the title In Sickness & In Health. 

This podcast was created by Just Human Productions. We’re powered and distributed by Simplecast. We’re supported, in part, by listeners like you.

Celine Gounder: Hi, everyone. This is Dr. Celine Gounder. I’m the host of “In Sickness and in Health.” I really appreciate all our listener support over the first couple seasons of this show. We’d love to keep building that community. So please, text or email one friend about the podcast this week. It would mean a lot. Thanks!

Simon Chapman: There is a science of gun control. That science of gun control has removal of semi-automatic weapons right up at the apex of what should be done.

Rebecca Peters: And they’re mostly made, originally, for killing lots of people. …there’s no real sporting use for an assault weapon.

Roland Browne: 92% of the Australian community think our gun laws are either about right or need to be toughened up even further

Celine Gounder: Welcome back to “In Sickness and in Health,” a podcast about health and social justice. I’m Dr. Celine Gounder. This season we’re looking at gun violence in America.

Celine Gounder: In working on this season of the podcast, I’ve been reminded time and again how sadly current and newsworthy the gun violence problem continues to be. Since we started releasing this season last fall, there have been four mass shootings in the U.S., including at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and at the Borderland Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California.

Celine Gounder: Last month, I was researching an episode about the Australian gun buyback program. The episode you’re listening to now. I called up Rebecca Peters.

Celine Gounder: Just state your name and briefly explain who you are for us.

Rebecca Peters: My name’s Rebecca Peters. I am a lawyer. I led the campaign in the 1990s in Australia to reform the gun laws here.

Celine Gounder: I spoke with Rebecca on March 14th. The very next day, a gunman walked into two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand with two semi-automatic rifles, a shotgun, and:

Horror in Christchurch this afternoon after shootings at two mosques in the city.” — Lisa Owen, RNZ

There are reports of multiple injuries and fatalities with…” — Lisa Owen, RNZ

Whilst I cannot give any confirmation at this stage around fatalities and casualties, what I can say is that it is clear that this is one of New Zealand’s darkest days.” — Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand Prime Minister

It is with sadness that I advise that the number of people who have died in this awful event has now risen to 50.” — Mike Bush, NZ Police Commissioner

…with witnesses reporting seeing a man into the mosque dressed in a military jacket, and he just started shooting they say.” — Lisa Owen, RNZ

Celine Gounder: The gunman was a white supremacist. He killed 50 people and injured another 50. But in the aftermath of that shooting, and in contrast to us here in the U.S., New Zealand did something very different.

Today I’m announcing that New Zealand will ban all military-style semi-automatic weapons. We will also ban all assault rifles.” — Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand Prime Minister

Celine Gounder: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced an immediate freeze on the sale of all semi-automatic rifles. And then she called for a total ban and buyback of semi-automatic rifles, assault-style rifles, shotguns and bumpstocks. And she got it done.

“We are here just twenty-six days after the most devastating of terrorist attacks created the darkest of days in New Zealand’s history, and we are here as an almost entirely united Parliament.” — Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand Prime Minister

Celine Gounder: Just shy of a month after the shooting, New Zealand’s Parliament passed sweeping gun legislation. The final vote on April 10th was nearly unanimous—119 of 120 members of parliament voted for the ban.

“My view is that an argument about process is an argument to do nothing, and I’m not the the first politician to say that. The first politician I ever heard say that in relation to gun laws was John Howard when he moved quickly after Port Arthur, and for the same reasons we have.” — Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand Prime Minister

Celine Gounder: New Zealand’s neighbor, Australia, suffered a mass shooting in the town of Port Arthur back in 1996. The Port Arthur Massacre set off one of the most ambitious gun regulation efforts in the world. In today’s show we’ll take a look at what happened in Port Arthur, Australia. How was Australian Prime Minister John Howard able to bring about such wide-ranging gun reform? Something that sounds almost impossible to us here in the U.S. And we’ll ask what happened after Australian gun laws were changed over 20 years ago, taking over 650,000 guns out of circulation and even more since then in subsequent amnesty buybacks.

Celine Gounder: It seemed like I heard birds in the background what was it that I was hearing?

Rebecca Peters: Oh yeah, because it’s ten o’clock, it’s now eleven o’clock in the morning here in Australia. I’ve got the window open, and there’s birds outside.

Celine Gounder: This is Rebecca Peters.

Rebecca Peters: I am a lawyer and I led the campaign in the 1990s in Australia to reform the gun laws here.

Celine Gounder: Rebecca says that in the 1980s in Australia, mass shootings weren’t uncommon.

Rebecca Peters: In the in the 1980s, we had a mass shooting about once a year.

Celine Gounder: Just so we’re all on the same page, the exact definition of what a mass shooting is varies. But, in general, we’re talking about three to five or more people killed by the same shooter and not including the gunman.

Rebecca Peters: In those days in Australia, as in many countries, there wasn’t much thought given to crime or violence as being preventable. It was just thought to be a moral problem because people were bad, and the focus was on punishing the perpetrators rather than on preventing it happening.

Celine Gounder: Most of those mass shootings in Australia were family related: domestic disputes, intimate partner violence, the kind of thing we talked about earlier this season.

Rebecca Peters: There was this pattern where there would be a mass shooting, there’d be a lot of grief, and pondering, and breast-beating, and discussion in the media, and usually nothing really happened in terms of policy.

Celine Gounder: Déjà vu, right? But things started to change in 1992. A woman living in New South Wales left her abusive partner.

Rebecca Peters: She had a family member who was a police officer, and the police officer knew that this guy owned guns, and he said, “we have to remove these guns.” The police went to the guy’s house. They found a gun. They found another gun. They found another gun. They found another gun. They found five guns, and they thought, “Oh, well, surely, that’s all he has,” but in fact, he had a sixth gun, which they didn’t find. He said to one of his friends, “They didn’t find my shotgun.” And that was the gun that he used later to kill his girlfriend, his girlfriend’s sister who was pregnant, the father of the two women, his own son who was staying with the two women at the time, his former business partner, and his former business partner’s girlfriend as well. So he killed six people with this gun that had not been found. …clearly, it highlighted the importance of registration of firearms as something that we needed to have, not just in New South Wales but up across the country. So basically, from around that time, we began to be campaigning on a couple of specific points.

Celine Gounder: Like the creation of a national firearm registry; banning shotguns and semi-automatic rifles; and standardizing the requirements for gun ownership. Rebecca was working as a volunteer, leading the campaign. It was called the National Coalition for Gun Control.

Rebecca Peters: There was also a sense, because we did have big tragedies on a semi-regular basis, we knew that they would keep on happening. We were waiting for a moment when there would be a lot of interest again, which was basically the next big tragedy, and we wanted to be prepared with solutions. We didn’t, of course, know when it would happen, but it turned out to be at the end of April ’96.

Rebecca Peters: It was a Sunday afternoon, and I was at home, and I heard on the radio that there was a shooting.

But first, a scene of horror and carnage in the Tasmanian town of Port Arthur tonight…” — John Riddell, Seven Nightly News (Australia)

Rebecca Peters: …and It said several people have been shot. Then through the course of the afternoon, like every few minutes, they would say the death toll has reached 8, has reached 10, has reached 13, has reached 18, has reached 20. It was just through the course of the afternoon, the numbers just kept going up and up and up.

…where as many as 25 people have been shot dead in Australia’s worst massacre.” — John Riddell, Seven Nightly News (Australia)

Rebecca Peters: It became clear that it must have been a semi-automatic rifle.

…is thought to be holding at least one person hostage.” — John Riddell, Seven Nightly News (Australia)

Celine Gounder: In the end, thirty-five people were killed in the Port Arthur Massacre. Another twenty-three were wounded.

Philip Alpers: Suddenly, the tide changed. It was overnight.

Celine Gounder: This is Philip Alpers. He’s a Professor of Public Health at the University of Sydney.

Philip Alpers: John Howard was the brand new prime minister. He was the most conservative Prime Minister in decades, and he had a knee jerk reaction. He said ever since, and he’s said it ever since…

We shared a national resolve that the gun culture that is such a negative in the United States would never become a negative in our country.” — John Howard, former Prime Minister of Australia

Philip Alpers: …the same theme he’s repeated over and over: “We will not go down the American path with regard to guns.” Now, he was a great friend of America, a great friend of George W. Bush. George Bush called him “America’s sheriff in this part of the world,” and so he was no left-leaning liberal.

I mean, if I’d backed off, I’d have looked hopeless and weak, and people would have thought, ‘Well, you know, he’s not feared. How many more people need to be murdered by a madman to convince the government decides to do something.’ Those sorts of things, if you deal with them decisively, they weaken people’s’ faith in the institution of government.” — John Howard, former Prime Minister of Australia

Celine Gounder: That was John Howard speaking in a documentary. He called for a ban on semi-automatic rifles like the ones used in Port Arthur, as well as automatic guns and shotguns. And then he called for a buyback of all such privately owned guns.

Philip Alpers: John Howard just decided to do something about it and took only twelve days to do it.

Celine Gounder: Twelve days. How could such massive change happen so fast?

Philip Alpers: He was horrified, absolutely horrified at what happened. We all thought that this was a foreign problem, that it couldn’t happen in Australia, and here it was happening over and over again, and Port Arthur was the last straw. He simply called his advisors in, and it so happened that all the paperwork was already there. The various Australian inquiries and the Australasian Police Ministers Conference had been talking about this for more than a decade, and every single inquiry had come up with the same recommendations basically, to change the law. And so, all of this was on paper, ready to go, it’s just that nobody had done anything about it.

I can remember discussing this issue with some of my staff, and one or two of them said to me, ‘you’re not really thinking about banning all semi-automatic weapons, are you?’ And I said, ‘yes.’ We might as well go for broke on this.” — John Howard, former Prime Minister of Australia

The moment John Howard said, “Go for it,” all the ammunition was already there. They already knew what they wanted to do.

Celine Gounder: There was political will, first and foremost. There was a decade’s worth of recommendations to back up that political will. Philip also thinks it mattered that Howard was a conservative leader.

Philip Alpers: It probably couldn’t have been done under a liberal—a Labor Prime Minister. It had to come from the right wing of the party, the center-right.

Celine Gounder: There was pushback, though. Especially from the rural voters who’d help elect Howard. But after Port Arthur, there was a broad base of support for gun reform. Organizers like Rebecca were able to rally the troops from some surprising quarters.

Rebecca Peters: There’s a group of men, of shooters in Australia called the Professional Shooters Association, and they are people who are contracted to go into national parks to deal with an infestation of wild pigs, for example. They’re like real Crocodile Dundee, these outdoors guys on horses, and they’re the most macho of the machos, and they said, during the campaign, “If you’re out here with a semi-automatic trying to hunt deer, then you’re a city boy who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place.” They recognized that semi-automatics, were not, that they weren’t useful for civilians. They weren’t justified in terms of the danger of the product. Also, the other thing was that the rural population isn’t just male farmers. The rural women’s organizations came out strongly in support of the reforms, because rural women’s organizations were very aware of the problems of youth suicide and of domestic violence.

Philip Alpers: There was a national attitude adjustment around these mass shootings that we had. The whole country basically fell into line with gun control. When the Port Arthur shooting happened, straight after that, there were 90% to 95% approval ratings in the opinion polls for what John Howard was doing to impose gun control right across Australia.

Celine Gounder: It’s been more than twenty years since Australian gun reform. So what difference did it make?

Simon Chapman: …we’d had thirteen mass-shooting incidents in this country in the eighteen years up to and including the Port Arthur Massacre. Now in the twenty-two years since that time, we’ve had not a single one. It really stopped those incidents in their tracks.

Celine Gounder: That’s Simon Chapman. He’s a colleague of Philip’s at the University of Sydney. Together, they published a study on the impact of the National Firearms Agreement in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Some critics of Australia’s guns laws argue that these were rare events to begin with. That Simon and Philip’s study amounted to a statistical fluke. That Prime Minister John Howard just got lucky with his timing.

Simon Chapman: Well, I’ve got news for the gun lobby. I’ve just been working with some very senior mathematicians here. Look at the odds of no massacres in twenty-two years following thirteen in eighteen years before that, and the odds of that happening, being due to chance, are infinitesimally small.

Celine Gounder: After I spoke with Simon in 2018, there was a murder-suicide involving a family in western Australia. Seven people, including the shooter, were found dead. This was the worst shooting since gun reform was passed in 1996. But it wasn’t the kind of mass shooting that makes the headlines in the U.S. every few months, the kind where gunmen kill strangers indiscriminately. Suicides and murder-suicides involving family and close friends? Those rarely make the news here. And on that front, the Australians have also made progress.

Andrew Leigh: The biggest reduction is in suicide. The total lives saved according to Christine Neill and I is around two hundred lives per year, and that continues to this day.

Celine Gounder: This is Andrew Leigh. Andrew does a lot of stuff:

Andrew Leigh: Sure. My name is Andrew Leigh, the federal member for Fenner in the Parliament of Australia. I was a Professor of Economics at the Australian National University before entering parliament. And alongside being a parliamentarian, I host my own podcast called, “The Good Life,” which is conversations with interesting people about living a happy, healthy and ethical life.

Celine Gounder: But I called him because of his research on the Australia’s National Firearms Agreement. Andrew and his co-author Christine Neill went a step further than Philip and Simon. Andrew and Christine looked beyond mass shootings at how suicide and homicide rates were affected by the buyback program.

Andrew Leigh: So Australia’s got eight states and territories, and there were different amounts of guns bought back in those states and territories. We were able to ask the question: if you had a jurisdiction where there were more guns taken out of circulation as a result of the National Firearms Agreement, what happened to your gun, firearm, gun suicide death rates.

Celine Gounder: If you’ve heard Episode 12 of this season, you know this is a big deal. What happens when you’ve got fewer guns? That’s been a hard question to answer here in the U.S. Australia’s gun reforms were nationwide. This was a chance to study the impact of gun regulation without worrying about guns crossing state lines.

Andrew Leigh: That’s the great advantage of Christine Neill and I looking at the interstate variation. There you’re stripping out of the time trend, and you simply ask them the question, if you compare the jurisdiction like the Australian Capital Territory, where there was very few firearms bought back, you see a fairly small reduction in firearms death. Tasmania, there’s a very large number of firearms bought back, and there’s a very large reduction in firearms deaths. So when you exploit that interstate variation, you’re able to get around the simplistic critique that this would have happened anyway.

Celine Gounder: Andrew and Christine estimated that gun reform has saved the lives of about two hundred people every year since 1996. These are people who would’ve otherwise died in a gun-related suicide or homicide.

Celine Gounder: So, I think it would be helpful to put sort of the suicide numbers in context, because the U.S. has a much larger population than Australia. So if you were to extrapolate the prevention of deaths from suicide in Australia to the US, what would we be looking at?

Andrew Leigh: Yeah, so pretty much any Australian number I give you, you can multiply it by fifteen or so, which is about the population scale difference between Australia and the United States. So, if I tell you two hundred, then you can immediately turn that into three thousand in the U.S. context — a similar number of people that lost their lives in the tragedy of 9/11.

Celine Gounder: Let that sink in. Australian gun laws prevent the equivalent of three thousand deaths per year in a country the size of the U.S. Deaths that could’ve been prevented, like Zoe Hall’s.

Andrew Leigh: Zoe Hall was my mentor at the law firm at which I worked. By tragic coincidence, she was on holiday down in Tasmania, and she was at a service station, just outside the Port Arthur site when Martin Bryant came through. He murdered her and her then-boyfriend… I remember the funeral, the church packed to overflowing. The parents who just couldn’t believe that this gorgeous young woman’s life had been snuffed out.

Celine Gounder: And yet, even after so many Australians bore witness to this tragedy, there’s been some backslide in its gun laws. Philip Alpers again:

Philip Alpers: there’s been slippage in every state. The gun lobby has whittled away at the edges, at local politicians, and got this watered down, and that slackened off, and this diluted a little bit, and gradually the law has been walked back in every state and territory in Australia.

Philip Alpers: Complacency is the enemy.

Celine Gounder: For example, the handgun regulations were relaxed in New South Wales. Rebecca Peters:

Rebecca Peters: The law on handguns was that you had to join a club, and then there was a period of time when you couldn’t actually use a handgun; you had to attend the club for a while and, basically, earn your trustworthiness before you were allowed to use a handgun unsupervised.

Celine Gounder: But pressure from Australia’s gun lobby led to a loosening of the law.

Rebecca Peters: A couple of years ago we had a young woman with a florid mental illness who joined a handgun club, and the law no longer required her to be supervised while she was at the club. So she walked out of the club with a handgun and went to her father’s house and killed her father. She had a paranoid delusion about her father, and that has highlighted the weakness of this requirement.

Celine Gounder: Rebecca says some Australians have forgotten the reason why the National Firearms Agreement was passed in the first place.

Rebecca Peters: I saw something about an opinion poll recently that asked how important is it to maintain Australia’s gun laws? And older people felt strongly that it was very important because they remembered ’96. Younger people didn’t feel it was that important because they have never lived in an environment where— Because all their life gun violence has been very, very low.

Celine Gounder: That’s actually quite similar to the situation with vaccines in the U.S. We have this whole anti-vaccine, vaccine refusal movement, and it’s because you have these parents who have never seen the measles, who’ve never seen

Rebecca Peters: Exactly. That’s exactly right. That’s actually a really good analogy… You know, supposedly one of the differences of human intelligence is that we’re supposed to be able to learn from the experience of others. We’re not required to burn ourselves to understand that it’s hot. We’re able to take on the information that someone else tells us, “That’s hot, you’ll burn yourself.” But in some of these issues, it just seems like people have forgotten.

Celine Gounder: The passage of Australia’s National Firearms Agreement didn’t miss the attention of the NRA.

Rebecca Peters: The gun lobby has this line that they run which is, “Australia banned all guns, and now Australians are cowering behind locked doors because they’re at the mercy of criminals.” I just like, ugh. [chuckles] So, anyway.

Celine Gounder: The NRA has used these ads to drum up support in the U.S. for laxer gun laws. One ad was so misleading that Australia’s Attorney General demanded the NRA take it down. In the 1990s, the NRA even donated money to Australian guns rights groups. It didn’t go over well.

Philip Alpers: That caused such a ruckus.

Celine Gounder: Philip Alpers again.

Philip Alpers: It caused such a backlash against Americans and the National Rifle Association and the American approach to gun control that they really suffered for that. And they have never, the local groups, have never publicly acknowledged that they’re getting money or assistance from the U.S. gun lobby ever again.

Celine Gounder: Do you know if the American NRA is involved in some of those efforts to roll back the National Firearms Agreement?

Philip Alpers: Not openly. There’s no proof that the NRA has taken any direct interest in the Australian gun lobby since the early 1990s, and that’s because they got such a bloody nose the first time that they funded the Australian gun lobby. As soon as that became public, it just caused such a backlash that no Australian gun lobby group in its right mind would accept, publicly accept money and help from the NRA. Of course, they might have done it secretly. But, we would never know.

Roland Browne: Well, it turns out Al Jazeera… completed a three-year undercover investigation and have unearthed that One Nation, a political party in Australia, has made various approaches to the NRA in the United States, but also, representatives of the Koch brothers, very wealthy individuals in the United States.

Celine Gounder: This is Roland Browne. He’s the vice president of Gun Control Australia. He’s talking about an investigation that came out in March. It uncovered that a far right political party in Australia was looking for as much as $20 million dollars and other support from the U.S. gun lobby to influence elections back in Australia.

Roland Browne: They have given One Nation seemingly the same advice that’s propagated throughout the United States by the NRA when there’s a mass shooting, which is to criticize gun control activists for “dancing on the graves of the victims” and profiting in claiming that gun control activists are profiting and benefiting from these kind of mass shootings. I’m pretty sure that that particular bit of advice is going to go nowhere. I doubt One Nation is stupid enough to try and advance that in Australia.

Celine Gounder: Al Jazeera found no evidence that the Koch brothers or the NRA gave One Nation any money. But their reporting shows that even if the NRA doesn’t go to Australia, the Australian gun lobby will go to the NRA.

Roland Browne: We’re going to see an increasing focus in Australia on the relationship between white supremacists, the far right of politics, and the demands being made by the gun lobby, and the money that has flowed in the past into our political system from the import, especially of firearms, into Australia. And it’s going to provide a focus for reform that’s way overdue in this country.

Celine Gounder: One Nation has its roots in Australia’s gun reforms. The party’s founder and only federal senator, Pauline Hanson, used to be part of John Howard’s same conservative party. But she lost her endorsement for office after she made offensive comments about indigenous Australians. She founded One Nation a year later, in 1997.

Well I have a message for the Liberal and Labour. There’s a new girl on the block. And she intends to give them hell.” — Pauline Hanson, Founder of One Nation

She and her supporters tapped into the outrage over the assault rifle ban and gun buyback to fuel the new, far-right political party. During a speech at the University of Melbourne, former prime minister John Howard acknowledged that connection:

John Howard: That exacerbated the tension inside the coalition, and I’ve no doubt that it did contribute to the rise of One Nation. …it was an example of an unfeeling, city-centric… I mean, this is how it was represented by some of the One Nation people here. Insensitive, out-of-touch, city- particularly Sydney-centric government taking away our weapons. I understood how they felt, but I also understood that if we were going to have an effective ban it had to be comprehensive and there had to be very few exemptions… 

Celine Gounder: The Al Jazeera investigation into One Nation also secretly recorded Pauline Hanson. In one of the tapes she suggests the Port Arthur Massacre was a conspiracy.

Celine Gounder: One Nation has made guns one of its pillars since its inception. But it’s probably best known in Australia for its xenophobic and anti-immigrant ideas. The same ideas that drove the Christchurch, New Zealand shooter to gun down fifty people as they prayed.

Celine Gounder: When I set out to research gun violence for this season, white supremacy wasn’t the first thing I thought of. But with the rise in racially- and religiously-motivated mass shootings in the U.S. and globally in recent years the connection between the two can’t be ignored.

Roland Browne: That coincides with the— can the group in the society that has an attraction to owning firearms.

Celine Gounder: Ronald Browne again.

Roland Browne: And I don’t want to blacken the name of every firearm owner in this country because there’s a lot of firearm owners who are reasonable, community-minded, and very responsible with their guns. But there is a group of them who have this white supremacist attitude, for want of a better word, and armed with firearms makes for a potentially lethal combination.

Celine Gounder: When I asked these Australians what they thought about American gun policy, here’s what they said:

Philip Alpers: …total perplexity, and sometimes, ridicule.

Rebecca Peters: It seems ridiculous.

Simon Chapman: Ah look. It’s common to hear people saying when they’re going to travel to the United States, “Well, I’m a little concerned about guns.”

Andrew Leigh: I think we’re genuinely shocked and surprised that with school massacre after school massacre there hasn’t been a backlash against the National Rifle Association.

Celine Gounder: It was genuinely surprising to them that the U.S.—for all its past public health triumphs—has not been successful in addressing gun violence. Though the pot had been boiling for some time, it took only one big massacre to blow off the lid and change laws in Australia, and now, New Zealand. But here, there seems to be no end to the shootings we’ll put up with. I asked Rebecca Peters if she had any advice for people working on gun reform in the U.S.

Rebecca Peters: I mean, everyone is operating within their own context, so I’m never that keen to give advice to people in other countries. But some things that worked for us were we aimed for the policies and the practices that were most likely to work. We didn’t worry too much about how politically viable they were. And one problem is if you focus on, “Well, this is what we think we can get passed.” If it isn’t something that is actually going to significantly affect safety and prevention, then it can contribute to the idea that gun laws don’t work. So, and the amount of effort that it takes to try to get change, you might as well be aiming for the changes that are going to have the most impact in real life if you actually get them through. I know that there’s an argument that says, given the political situation, even if we just go for small steps, that’s all we can get. But I think that it’s worth aiming for the policies, the measures that are actually most likely to prevent deaths and injuries.

Celine Gounder: In response to the Port Arthur and Christchurch shootings, Australia, and some twenty years later, New Zealand passed strict gun laws. In a sense, Australia carried out the real-world experiment: what happens when you reduce the number of guns in a country nationwide? The experiment worked, confirming there is indeed something about guns themselves. Not only did mass shootings go down, but perhaps more importantly so did suicides and homicides, which cumulatively adds up to a lot more lives saved.

Celine Gounder: In our next few episodes, we’re going to turn to the problem of urban gun violence. We’ll talk specifically about how that violence is transmitted like an infectious disease, from one person to another. That’s next time on “In Sickness and in Health.”

Celine Gounder: Today’s episode of “In Sickness and in Health” was produced by Zach Dyer and me. Our theme music is by Allan Vest. Additional music by The Blue Dot Sessions. If you enjoy the show, please tell a friend about it today. And if you haven’t already done so, leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. It helps more people find out about the show! You can learn more about this podcast and how to engage with us on social media at insicknessandinhealthpodcast.com. That’s insicknessandinhealthpodcast.com. I’m Dr. Celine Gounder. This is “In Sickness and in Health.”

Andrew Leigh Andrew Leigh
Philip Alpers Philip Alpers
Rebecca Peters Rebecca Peters
Roland Browne Roland Browne Roland Browne
Simon Chapman Simon Chapman
Dr. Celine Gounder Dr. Celine Gounder