The minimum age for purchasing licenses of short barrel weapons has been raised to 20 -- 18 for hunting rifles. Permits are now valid for a period of five years before being reviewed.
In one of his first acts as leader, Prime Minister John Howard announced major reforms to Australia's gun control laws just 12 days after 35 people died at the hands of a lone gunman wielding a military-style semi-automatic rifle at a popular tourist spot in Tasmania on April 28, 1996.
In the wave of public revulsion against what became known as the Port Arthur massacre, the move for stricter gun controls was led by Howard, who had taken office just seven weeks earlier and who, in the first few hours after the tragedy, declared himself horrified "at this shocking and senseless act."
He took his anti-gun campaign around the country, at one stage addressing a hostile pro-gun rally wearing a bullet-proof vest. He also oversaw a successful gun "buy-back" scheme that took some 650,000 guns out of circulation.
Australia's eight states and territories got behind legislation that addressed mass shootings: High calibre rifles and shotguns were banned, licensing was tightened and remaining firearms were registered to uniform national standards -- a accomplishment regarded by many in the country as Howard's enduring legacy.
Australia has been compared to the United States for its "frontier mentality." But unlike the U.S., there is no constitutional right to bear arms, gun ownership is markedly lower and American-style gun culture has taken hold in only a few pockets of Australian society -- most notably among the crime gangs operating in the two biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne.
July 22, 2011 will live long in the memory of all Norwegians after the carnage that unfolded that day.
After detonating a bomb outside the prime minister's office in Oslo, killing eight people, Anders Behring Breivik took a ferry to Utoya Island and embarked on a shooting spree that took the lives of another 69 people attending a youth camp.
Authorities said Breivik roamed the island shooting at campers, before members of an elite Norwegian police unit took him into custody.
In August this year, Breivik, who boasted of being an ultranationalist who killed his victims to fight multiculturalism in Norway, was judged to be sane at the time and sentenced to 21 years in prison after being charged with voluntary homicide and committing acts of terror.
An independent report into the worst atrocity on Norwegian soil since World War II blamed a series of intelligence and planning failures for delaying the police arrival on the island by 30 minutes.
Despite ownership and the type of ammunition permitted for use being tightly regulated, the report also criticized Norway's gun controls as "inadequate." It called for a total ban on semi-automatic weapons of the type Breivik purchased with relative ease.
Like Finland, Norway has a high number of guns in circulation with hunting a national pastime. According to the Small Arms Survey 2007: Guns and the City," there are almost 32 firearms per 100 people in Norway. This compares to 88.82 per 100 in the United States.