‘New Zealand’s dealing with its gun problem. When will we?’

What if a change to American gun laws comes not from a tragedy on its own soil, but from one overseas? Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times:

Why can’t leaders in America learn from experience, the way leaders in other countries do? After a massacre in Australia in 1996, the government there took far-reaching action to tighten gun policy. In contrast, every day in America, another hundred people die from gun violence and 300 more are injured — and our president and Congress do nothing.

In fairness, liberals have often been unhelpful, broadcasting their own ignorance about the firearms they propose to regulate, or speaking blithely of banning guns or of “gun control” in ways that drive responsible gun owners into the arms of the N.R.A. I suggest dropping references to “gun control” and instead speaking of “gun safety.”

Now, the gun lobby in the US will of course point out that New Zealand is a very different place.

But then, in some respects, it isn’t: it has a strong, gun-loving community of people who like to hunt and shoot as a hobby. There is a continued sense of concern around government overreach and “political correctness”. And, there are long-standing tensions between the country’s indigenous and the colonising Europeans.

And yet, NZ PM Jacinda Adhern makes this look straightforward. Bloomberg:

New Zealand will ban military style semi-automatics and assault rifles and establish a nationwide buyback of the weapons in the wake of a terrorist attack on two mosques that left 50 people dead.

The ban takes immediate effect to prevent the stockpiling of weapons while the legislation is being drafted, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters Thursday.

“I strongly believe that the vast majority of legitimate gun owners in New Zealand will understand that these moves are in the national interest, and will take these changes in their stride,” she said in a statement.