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New Zealand’s reaction to the mass shooting in Christchurch was swift. Most knee-jerk reactions tend to be.
However, that incident didn’t have to go down that way. Most mass shootings don’t. That’s probably the one thing we and anti-gunners agree on.
The difference is in what we think the answer is. Activist and Gun Owners of America legislative council Michael Hammond called out the actual truth about how things could have been different.
The 50 Muslim worshippers “gunned down like sheep” at New Zealand mosques could have limited the carnage if they were carrying their own firearms, a leading American gun supporter said.
Michael Hammond, legislative counsel for Virginia-based Gun Owners of America, slammed New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s swift move to ban all military style semi-automatic and assault rifles and said terrorists will look to use other weapons including vehicles to mow down victims and knives.
“When they do that all of a sudden it will occur to Australia and New Zealand that gun control has once again failed them and they will look around for more guns to seize,” Hammond told AAP on Thursday.
Last week’s mosque shootings and the New Zealand government’s rapid gun control response has generated a tsunami of debate in the US, where repeated mass-killings have largely failed to enforce stricter firearm laws.
“If any one of those people in one of those two mosques while they were being gunned down like sheep had had a firearm, perhaps the carnage could have been limited,” Hammond said.
Undoubtedly, Hammond’s comments were highlighted to somehow paint pro-gunners as unhinged, but his comments are quite accurate.
Look, I get the anti-gunners skepticism here, but it’s true.
“No mass shooting has been stopped by a citizen with a gun,” they’ll argue. On the surface, that does seem to be the case. But that’s because an armed citizen acting quickly tends to prevent these incidents from becoming mass shootings. The presence of someone with a gun and the will to act changes the equation so significantly that most never reach the threshold of being considered mass shootings.
If a shooter pulls out a weapon and opens fire, he may kill someone, but he’s often soon met with armed resistance. Usually, he’s killed or incapacitated long before he gets the chance to kill enough people for the event to be considered a mass shooting.
Hammond argues that if one of the people in the mosque–or, arguably, the street outside the mosque–had been armed, the situation would have ended very differently.
He’s correct. It would have.
New Zealand’s supposedly lax gun laws didn’t allow for civilians carrying guns. There were no provisions that allowed those worshippers to be armed.
Instead, the law made them sheep to the slaughter. Almost literally.
While anti-gunners are still pushing for gun control here in the United States and will likely use New Zealand to bolster their case, pro-gun activists aren’t likely to budge an inch. If we do, we’re not going to see fewer attacks. At best, we’ll see different attacks. At worst, good guys won’t be armed and have the means to act.