Two months after the double mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, that country’s prime minister told CNN that she does not understand why the United States can’t arbitrarily change its gun laws like her country and nearby Australia did in reaction to mass shootings.
Maybe PM Jacinda Ardern needs a crash course on the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. Unlike New Zealand and Australia, in this country, it’s an enumerated right to keep and bear arms that has been upheld as a fundamental, individual right by two Supreme Court rulings in the last 11 years. Gun ownership is a regulated privilege in those Southern Hemisphere nations.
Ardern noted that her country has a strong hunting culture, according to Time, yet she claimed that most of her countrymen agreed with the gun control restrictions put in place following the mid-March attack on mosques that left 51 people dead. The alleged gunman has been described as a “white supremacist.”
Early last month, the New Zealand Parliament banned so-called “assault weapons.”
Ardern told CNN, there is a “practical purpose and use for guns,” but “that does not mean you need access to military-style semiautomatic weapons and assault rifles. You do not. And New Zealanders by and large absolutely agreed with that position.”
U.S. gun rights activists might disagree with that assessment, since the semi-auto modern sporting rifle is the most popular long gun in the country, with an estimated 15 million in private ownership. They are used for all sorts of purposes including varmint hunting and predator control, competition, home protection and recreational shooting.
Ardern became something of a media celebrity when she pushed for quick action on guns in the aftermath of the mosque attacks. Like gun prohibition advocates in the U.S., she pushed regulations that affected law-abiding gun owners, not the perpetrator of the attack.
Completely overlooked in this latest coverage of the gun control issue is what the accused New Zealand gunman wrote in his manifesto. Brenton Harrison Tarrant, according to the New York Times, wrote, “I chose firearms for the affect it would have on social discourse, the extra media coverage they would provide and the affect it could have on the politics of the United States and thereby the political situation of the world.” He also wrote that he wanted to “create conflict between the two ideologies within the United States on the ownership of firearms in order to further the social, cultural, political and racial divide.”
That seems to have been lost in all of the recent reporting, but it is not lost on American gun owners.
And now, with the National Rifle Association in turmoil over finances and alleged spending troubles involving CEO Wayne LaPierre while the organization is being investigated by the New York State attorney general, those U.S. gun owners are expressing concerns on social media about the potential of anti-gunners to take control of Capitol Hill in 2020.
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