NZ Puts U.S. to Shame with Quick Gun Reform Law

In the wake of the deadly Christchurch mosque shootings, New Zealand leaders did what any sane politicians would do following this sort of tragedy: extended their “thoughts and prayers” and moved on.

Wait, scratch that, they did an actually sane thing and vowed substantial action. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promised the nation’s gun laws would quickly be reformed and – get this – legislators actually followed through.

It took less than a week for New Zealand to pass some meaningful changes to gun laws, which include banning the sale of assault rifles and semiautomatics, like those used in the shootings that killed 50 people in Muslim houses of worship. Plus, lawmakers promise more common sense gun reform in the coming months in the hopes of doing more to prevent further massacres.

“It is in the national interest, and it is about safety,” said Ardern. “I will work hard to retain that support as we work on the remaining tranches of reform that we must make to prevent an act of terror happening in our country ever again.”

(Whoa, did she just refer to a white killer as a terrorist? Doesn’t she know she’s not supposed to do that?)

Those of us over in the United States can’t help but scratch our heads and say, “It’s really that simple, huh?” Congress in the U.S. is so gridlocked that no amount of fatalities have managed to move the needle on gun laws, whereas a single (albeit devastating) mass shooting was all it took to get action across the Pacific.

A lot of people seem to have the impression that these laws aren’t a big deal since gun culture isn’t dominate in New Zealand, but that’s not exactly true. It’s one of the 20 biggest owners of guns in the world (per capita) with approximately one in four people having a firearm.

Granted, unlike in the United States, gun owners in New Zealand already were required to obtain a license – as do gun vendors – and complete safety training, but none of that seems unreasonable for possessing a deadly weapon.

While the U.S. Congress has turned gun reform into a partisan issue, it’s not so black and white (or red vs. blue, if you will) with the actual population. Two-thirds of Americans want stricter gun laws and an amazing 97 percent think all gun buyers should be subject to background checks.

In a democratic system where our legislators represent the will of the people, it shouldn’t be so hard to make any headway on gun control given those popular sentiments. When another country shows it can make reasonable legal adjustments in a matter of days, it’s clear that the political system in the U.S. is effectively broken given that it is helpless to make even slight improvements massacre after massacre.

New Zealand is proof that there is middle ground to be found in order to protect lives in ways that don’t infringe on one’s right to bear arms. Americans need to stop kidding ourselves that our political reality is inevitable when no other country deals with this problem so regularly and ineffectively.

6 comments

Patricia A
Past Member 22 days ago

Agreed

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Susanne R
Susanne R29 days ago

EVERY industrialized country in the world puts the U.S. to shame with their existing gun laws and willingness to reform outdated ones.

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Sue H
Sue H29 days ago

Seems like New Zealand actually cares about the citizens. Bravo.

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Chad A
Chad Andersonabout a month ago

Thank you.

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Danuta W
Danuta Wabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Sophie A
Sarah Aabout a month ago

Indeed.

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