Six days. It only took six days after a gunman opened fire on two mosques in New Zealand, killing at least 50 people, before the government took action and banned assault-type weapons that were never meant for civilian use to begin with. Yesterday, New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced a national ban on military-style semiautomatic weapons, on parts that allow guns to be modified into such weapons, and on high-capacity ammunition magazines.
This, my friends, is how a true leader responds to a crisis. This is the action of a leader who actually cares what happens to the people in the country she is tasked with leading. This is a leader who puts people ahead of corporate greed and politics. Every nation deserves such a leader.
Now, you might say, well, New Zealand doesn’t have the National Rifle Association (NRA) to contend with. Well, yes and no. New Zealand actually does have a National Rifle Association, but their function is entirely different than the one in the U.S. The New Zealand NRA is the country’s governing body for the sport of long-range target shooting. It does not engage in political lobbying. When Prime Minister Ardern announced the ban on semiautomatic weapons yesterday, the NRA-NZ responded positively and even noted that they are considering a name change to avoid being associated with the U.S. NRA.
In New Zealand, gun owners are subjected to rigorous background checks and requirements, and even after acquiring a license, gun owners in New Zealand continue to be subjected to scrutiny from the authorities.
“If your name comes up with a police or traffic complaint, that list gets looked at by the police firearms division. If it looks like your name is coming up more often, they’ll come and have a word with you.” – Ross Mason, Chairman NRA-NZ
Can you imagine the outrage among gun owners if this happened in the U.S.? Or, can you imagine the reaction if it was suggested that gun owners voluntarily give up their firearms? Within the first four days after the shootings, a number of gun owners had turned in their semiautomatic weapons. One man, a farmer named John Hart, turned his rifle over to police, then tweeted …
Did you read that, folks? “My convenience doesn’t outweigh the risk of misuse.” That should be a bumper sticker and we should hand them out with every gun purchase, every box of ammo …
I don’t know about you folks, but to me, this reaction all the way from the head of government down to the citizens, is a breath of fresh air. This is the way it should be. Consider this. If a roller coaster at an amusement park derails and 30-40 people are killed or injured, all hell breaks loose. The ride, or likely the entire park is shut down indefinitely. The manufacturers of the ride are called in. Safety experts and mechanics are called in to determine the cause. If there is fault, fines are levied. And lawsuits are filed against the park and the ride’s manufacturer. That ride will never operate again in all likelihood. Why? Because we place a high priority on human life.
But if a gunman goes on a spree in Las Vegas or a high school in Parkland, Florida, the nutters immediately come out ranting “don’t try to take our guns!” The NRA issues a statement before the dust even settles warning the sensible among us that this is “not the time” to mention gun regulation or gun safety. A few days pass, the media move on to other things, and life returns to normal … until the next time.
Apparently, the NRA in the U.S. is not content to interfere and subvert any attempts at sensible gun safety legislation in the U.S., but have also stuck their nose into New Zealand’s business this week. Former police minister and New Zealand National Party MP Judith Collins says that both she and the current police minister, Stuart Nash had begun receiving propaganda material from the U.S. NRA. In the past, she said, when she sought to introduce gun law reforms during her two stints as police minister, she was inundated by material from the NRA in the U.S.
“They talked about how we were trying to take away their Second Amendment rights to own guns. We don’t have a right to bear arms. To own a gun in New Zealand is absolutely a privilege and not a right.”
Say WHAT??? By what right does the NRA here in the U.S. get off trying to change gun laws in a nation on the other side of the globe? The NRA has gone beyond what is acceptable so many times in the past, but this one takes the cake. Fortunately, New Zealanders have better sense that the average gun-lovin’ American, and Ms. Collins told them to …
I’ve said it all before, but it bears repeating. The U.S. has the most lax gun laws, the most guns per capita (more guns than people, at approximately 400 million guns and only 330 million people), and the highest rate of deaths by guns than any other nation on earth. It is past time for us to re-consider the 2nd Amendment that has cost the lives of more citizens of this nation than every war we’ve ever been involved in. New Zealand certainly has the right idea, as do Australia and every other nation on the globe. Yesterday I saw a New York Times’ OpEd piece titled, “America Deserves a Leader as Good as Jacinda Ardern”. I second that!
Two thumbs up to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the good people of New Zealand for putting human lives ahead of corporate greed.