Gun Control: New Zealand Did It… Why Can’t We?

Yesterday, NPR announced that New Zealand passed a law making most semi-automatic weapons illegal. This doesn’t only prohibit the selling of these weapons, but also prohibits owning these weapons and states that everyone who has one currently has until the end of September to return their weapons through a buyback program. This comes less than a month after a terrorist attack on mosques which lead to 50 people killed. Meanwhile, in the US we have already had 80 mass shootings just this year and we have yet to make any legislative progress in regards to gun control. Perhaps this is due to the 2nd amendment and the intense attachment some Americans have to the original intent of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.
New Zealand will be losing a contributor of their GDP and they will be spending money through the buyback program. That said, they are taking on this monetary burden to experience the positive externalities that result from this policy. Mainly, dramatically decreasing the likelihood of another mass shooting happening like this. New Zealand has dramatically less shootings than the US. The last mass shooting before the Christchurch mosque tragedy was in February of 1997. It is possible this is another reason why policy was implemented so quickly. Since mass shootings are far less common in New Zealand than they are in the US, it was more shocking when one occurred earlier this year, causing a quick, severe reaction. This justification leads to the question of why didn’t the US implement a similar policy when these mass shootings were a rarity? It is true that our country is in a massive amount of debt, but that is no justifications for knowing it’s citizens are in harm’s way and refusing the possibility of legislation to lessen that risk of harm.

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