As I’ve often said, the appeal of “doing something” in the wake of a mass shooting is very alluring. It’s not difficult to question everything you believe when something like that touches your life. I imagine the same is true if you’re a legislator. It’s not easy to hold the course and try to make a calm, rational judgment.
This is true here in the United States, and it’s true in New Zealand. The difference, though, was that New Zealand didn’t have a strong gun rights movement to stall waiting for cooler heads to prevail.
Now, the previous unity that led to additional gun control in that country is breaking down.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has lamented a fresh loss of unity on national gun reforms in the wake of the Christchurch terrorist attack.
Opposition leader Simon Bridges says his party is unlikely to support a second raft of changes, including a national gun register, higher non-compliance penalties and new controls on dealers.
The National Party’s position, attacked by Ardern as well as the police lobby, is unlikely to scuttle the reforms, given they hold a minority of the seats in Parliament.
But it could set up a major dividing line between the two parties ahead of next year’s election.
Along with farming, hunting and police lobby groups, National supported the first-wave reforms in March, including bans on semi-automatic rifles.
On Wednesday, after a leak of the draft laws, Bridges declared his likely opposition.
Chris Cahill, president of the New Zealand Police Association, said he feared “politicking” over an issue which should be bipartisan.
Gun control advocates always believe gun control should be a bipartisan issue. They can’t fathom how anyone could stand against their efforts to create a Utopia that will never really happen.
However, what is happening in New Zealand is that now that things have settled down and the emotion over Christchurch is less raw, lawmakers are recognizing that maybe, just maybe, new gun control shouldn’t be that big of a priority.
Here in the U.S., we have those who want to jump and push gun control laws almost immediately. They want to respond to any mass shooting with a new law so badly that they can’t see straight. They rally others to their cause because the raw emotion of so many people being murdered tears at them.
It’s so bad they don’t even notice half the time that the law their pushing for wouldn’t have done anything to stop the killer. Yes, even if gun control worked as advertised, it wouldn’t stop the killer. Universal background checks don’t prevent killers who can pass a background check. Red flag laws wouldn’t stop killers if no one knew something was coming. “Assault weapon” bans don’t do anything to stop mass killings that are conducted with handguns.
They don’t notice it…at first.
Then, when things settle down, they recognize that maybe they don’t need to do all of this. Maybe enough is enough.
If they’ve passed legislation, they’ll likely continue supporting it, but that’s an artifact of the human mind where it doesn’t like to admit its wrong. What they won’t do is support new legislation moving forward.
New Zealand appears to have hit that point, and that unity is starting to break down. In time, it’ll revert to where it was before Christchurch, for the most part.
It’s also why it’s imperative we hold off on new legislation in the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting. Hot tempers rarely craft good legislation, and if we’re going to address the issue, cool heads are needed. Does that mean some legislation won’t happen? Yes, but when we’re talking about infringing on the rights of Americans, that’s a good thing.
Once tempers settle, we can look at the real issue and try to work toward addressing it. I doubt legislation is needed for mass shootings since there’s already plenty of examples of such attacks being stopped ahead of time without any new laws being passed.
Gun control activists hate that. They hate that we’re able to stop attacks without their precious gun control.
In New Zealand, legislators wanted unity for as long as they could get it so they could foist still more gun control on their people. That’s why it’s imperative we hold the line in the wake of these shootings. In time, things will settle as they usually do and we’ll be fine, as is happening in New Zealand.