New Zealand Struggles Enforcing New Gun Control Measures

New Zealand Struggles Enforcing New Gun Control Measures

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Many people in the United States have kept an eye on New Zealand. Gun control activists have watched and lamented that the U.S. supposedly can’t respond as aggressively to a mass shooting while pro-gun voices have kept an eye on the nation because we know how well gun control is going to work.


It seems that while everyone is applauding New Zealand’s new assault weapon ban, they never bothered to think about how enforceable it would be.

Spoiler: It’s not.

Growing opposition from New Zealand’s pro-gun groups has complicated efforts to round up the now-banned firearms under a buyback program. Lawsuits are threatened.

Gun-control advocates argue that compensation rates may not be fair and warn of a possible spike in black-market sales.

The government, meanwhile, is faced with a sobering set of challenges over how to enforce the new law.

There is no national registry for many of the weapons targeted by the ban, including the AR-15 — a semiautomatic rifle that has been used in mass shootings in the United States and is often at the center of American gun-control debates.

As a result, estimates of the numbers of newly banned weapons vary widely. So far, about 700 firearms have been voluntarily surrendered.

Only seven hundred weapons in the entire country? Holy crap.

Bear in mind that New Zealand isn’t the United States. The voluntary compliance rate would likely be even lower were something like that to happen here. Did you hear that, Rep. Swalwell?

More to the point, there’s jack-all the government of New Zealand can do. They don’t know where the guns are. They don’t have a clue who has a firearm or where it might be. They have no way to go and round up the AR-15s.

We’ve noted before that law enforcement there laments the lack of a gun registry.

Gun registration isn’t like to come to the national stage anytime soon here, either. While some states may have registries and will continue to do so, as a nation, we won’t. That’s something more and more people won’t be able to tolerate, especially since it doesn’t do anything except tell the government where it should go to round up firearms.


Without that, mandatory buybacks won’t work, and that is beautiful.

The truth of the matter is that, especially for New Zealand, it was unnecessary. Even if you believe gun control works, it’s unnecessary. The country is remarkably safe and has little history of mass shootings. It could have done nothing and likely gone years and years before anything like Christchurch happened again.

But there will be another Christchurch, unfortunately. It’ll happen again, regardless of the laws on the books. That’s because officials continue to ignore the truth, that there is something deeper at work in the psyches of those who commit these atrocities where it doesn’t matter what weapons are available to them. They’ll still use it to murder people.

I’m glad New Zealand’s having trouble enforcing those laws. Someday, those “criminals” may well save the worthless lives of the people who tried to disarm them with the very guns they banned.

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