Where I’m at right now, there are nearly as many people in a 10-mile radius as there are in the entire nation of New Zealand. They aren’t accustomed to the carnage they witnessed last week when a neo-fascist terrorist decided to shoot up mosques and kill dozens of people. It’s not that we’re accustomed to it, either, but we’ve seen our share of mass shootings. New Zealand has not.
It’s for this reason it’s understandable that they would react very forcefully and rapidly by pushing through laws that would take it from one of the most gun-friendly nations in the world to being more aligned with the European model. Conservatives in America may not agree with it. We may dread any notion of duplicating their measures here. But we have to be understanding. This wasn’t just shocking for them. It was as close as they’ve had to a 9/11 moment. We all know the reduction of freedoms we’ve been trying to get back ever since our big terrorist event.
New Zealand has around 1.5 million firearms, or one for every three people. Depending on which estimates you use, there is somewhere between one and two firearms per person in the United States. There are more AR-15s in America than there are people in New Zealand. I mention all of this so we can understand the scale of their newfound problem thanks to the terrorist who killed scores of people in Christchurch.
It may be easy for 2nd Amendment defenders in America to scoff at their desire to eliminate all semi-automatic weapons, but we have to keep in mind the mentality there towards firearms is much different from ours. They do not view them primarily as objects of defense against tyranny from within our out, as many 2nd Amendment proponents do in America. Instead, they see them as the standard self-defense mechanisms against crime and “critter stoppers,” which is one of the reasons they have “military style” weapons, or as we prefer to call them, “scary looking regular firearms.”
I’m not going to lecture them at this time about the costs to freedom and safety that will come from such actions. They’re going to have to learn on their own. They are unified as a people right now to take away guns, so the best thing gun proponents in New Zealand can do at this point is make valid arguments against the measures without letting emotion get in the way. We’re often stuck making emotional arguments in America simply because it’s emotion that drives both sides of the debate, but the current state of New Zealand is one where there’s no way to use emotional arguments to fight to keep their firearm rights.
Both the ruling party and the opposition party are in agreement about guns, according to 1 News Now:
New Zealand’s leader of the opposition, Simon Bridges, said National welcomed the changes.
“The terrorist attack in Christchurch last week has changed us as a nation.”
This is a difficult argument for me to make because if the same attempts to take firearms were made in America, I’d be locked and loaded. But I have the luxury. Our rights are there for reasons that don’t necessarily exist in New Zealand. Or, perhaps a better way to put it is New Zealand hasn’t had the types of experiences America has had throughout its history where guns were imperative for our nation to continue to operate as it does. Without the 2nd Amendment, America would never have been what it is today. And no, we wouldn’t be better off, either.
New Zealand is going to ban certain firearms. The extent of the damage to their freedoms won’t be known until the dust settles. Once it does, the rebuilding process will begin so New Zealanders can work to get their right to self-defense back.
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