Gun Legislation in New Zealand and United States

By Bunni Smith

Following the death of 50 people in the Christchurch shooting, New Zealand’s government has made a law that will completely ban military style semi-automatic weapons, assault rifles, and high-capacity magazines. The law is expected to go into effect by April 11th, and will include the guns that were used to perpetrate the shooting in Christchurch.

The New Zealand police say that there are as many as 1.2 million guns in circulation throughout the nation. Prime Minister Ardern says that the buyback could cost up to 100 or 200 million dollars - it’s going to be a pricy and messy ordeal.

Though, it seems like a logical course of action from a humane standpoint, it took one mass shooting with semi-automatics involved for New Zealand to ban semi-automatics. And yet, the U.S. has failed to follow up with even cursory protective legislation following the dozens of mass shootings. ‘Thoughts and prayers’ have become empathetic currency; it doesn’t matter who died or why as long as someone manages to acknowledge that it happened on social media.

America simply can’t follow suit, though. It should go without saying that the affairs of a world superpower are vastly different from those of New Zealand’s.

The United States has written assurance of the right to bear arms in its Constitution, and regardless of how you interpret it, the words are there. Guns are a large part of America’s revolutionary history as well. To the more patriotic Americans, a total ban on guns would be tantamount to a suppression of the common man - an act of subjugation by an unjust government.

There are also those who feel less interested in how the Constitution is interpreted, they just wish to carry guns in self defense. Some think a proliferation of concealed carry holders would lead to an increase in shootings, and yet most of the shootings that you see in the news nowadays are carried out by a single person on a group of unarmed people at schools, concerts, and places of worship. The mere presence of a gun is sometimes enough to make a person change his mind, and if not, it would only take one bullet to save the lives of many people.