New Zealand: The Renewed Push For Gun Control

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Thursday, April 11, 2019


On March 15, a deranged white-supremacist opened-fire on worshippers during Friday prayer at two different mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. All told, 50 people perished.

Atrocities like these are happening at higher rates across the globe. As a global community, something must be done to stop these heinous people from committing such acts of violence against humanity.

The New Zealand Prime Minister has called for further restricting the right to bear arms across the country and the measure just passed yesterday, 119-1. Not surprisingly, the left in America have also had the usual knee-jerk reaction to a mass shooting by calling for firearms to be taken away, including Democratic presidential candidates.

In a recent tweet, Bernie Sanders called on the United States to follow in New Zealand’s footsteps and “ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons in the United States.”

Taking away the tool to commit such a horrible crime won’t change the outcome.

In the United States, one of the deadliest school shootings to date was committed during the most restrictive period for gun rights in the nation’s history.

On April 20, 1999 Columbine High School was attacked by two teens armed with semi-automatic firearms outlawed under The Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Act. Thirteen people were murdered and approximately two dozen more were injured in the Columbine Shooting. The Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Act, also known as the Assault Weapons Ban, was put in place from 1994 to 2004 and restricted the sale of AR-15s and other semi automatic firearms.

So how did the shooters get their hands on these firearms?

According to an article in The Washington Post, more than 30 percent of firearms involved in crimes have been stolen. However, gathering accurate statistics on illegal firearm acquisitions is nearly impossible since the numbers only come from known illegal activity.

Clearly, gun control policies are ineffective.

With over 15 million AR-15s in private hands in the United States, it would be impossible to rid “the streets” of all AR-15s, let alone all “assault-style firearms.” The Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Act realized this and included a grandfather clause that allowed owners to keep firearms that were produced before the law went into effect.

The problem of mass shootings is not one that can be legislated away in one fell swoop. It’s deeper than laws and regulations.

As a society, we need to be committed to changing the way we educate our children. This is a societal problem that stretches across geographical boundaries and ethnicities. This issue can only be solved by a change in global culture.

We need to collectively create more resources to treat mental illness and and promote civil discussion of opposing viewpoints instead of promoting political tribalism. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, access to treatment is considered a critical issue in multicultural communities.

Focusing on policies that restrict the rights of the many won’t solve the mental health epidemic across the world. Fixing the mass shooting problem in the world starts with increasing access to mental health treatment.

Gun control didn’t stop Columbine. Gun control didn’t stop Sandy Hook. Gun Control didn’t stop the New Zealand massacre.

So what makes our elected officials think that gun control will work in the future if it hasn’t worked in the past?

As Albert Einstein eloquently said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

Both sides of the aisle agree we need to find a way to stop mass shootings. It’s time legislators agree that they simply cannot change global ways of thought through laws and regulations. Legislators must begin to realize that they cannot legislate all worldly problems away.

 

Taylor Giles is a political science and strategic communications major at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. In addition to being an outspoken critic of politics, Taylor is an outdoor and shooting enthusiast.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.


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About Taylor Giles

West Virginia University

Taylor Giles is a political science and strategic communications major at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. In addition to being an outspoken critic of politics, Taylor is an outdoor and shooting enthusiast.

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