The country of New Zealand was a pretty peaceful place. Then the horrific events in Christchurch a few years back where a maniac used an AR-15 to shoot up two mosques.
Officials there did what a lot of people here think we should do. They banned so-called assault weapons and started down the path to more and more gun control.
A lot of people applauded their efforts and said that New Zealand would be safer.
From construction workers gunned down at a building site in Auckland’s CBD to a gang-related shooting in Palmerston North, a recent string of high-profile fatal shootings has seen New Zealand experience half its yearly average of gun deaths – in just 17 days.
Yet, the head of the police won’t comment on what police are doing to combat fatal gun crimes.
Between July 20 and August 6, five people died as a result of gunshot wounds across four shooting incidents.
This is half the average number of victims and incidents than Aotearoa typically sees in a whole year.
By comparison, between 2004 and 2019 there was an average of 10 victims across 10 fatal shooting incidents a year, according to data collated by Stuff investigation The Homicide Report.
Now, let’s be fair here. When you’ve got a very low homicide rate, it doesn’t take much to make things look alarming. Yet when you get half of your annual number of homicides in a span of about two and a half weeks, it’s also kind of hard not to be alarmed.
However, we should also note that 2019 was when Christchurch happened, which is when all the gun control started coming down the line. Yet that is the cut-off date listed above. In fact, I think that’s a very useful cut-off date when you talk about gun violence in New Zealand.
It’s not difficult to look at what they’re seeing in New Zealand now and see that this is only the beginning.
After all, the criminals didn’t give up their guns. Some even warned ahead of time that they wouldn’t. That’s no different than anywhere else.
Anti-gunners here in the US would likely look at the total number of people murdered as evidence that the nation’s gun control laws are working, but they’re not. We’re likely to see a growing number of firearm-related murders there simply because the government has been working against lawful gun ownership for a few years now and that sets a tone.
Criminals will get guns and they’ll use them to act like armed, dangerous criminals. This is damn near an immutable law of the universe and you’re not going to change that.
The only way to deter them from being that kind of criminal is if there are enough good guys with guns to make the risk too great. Oh, they might steal cars or lawnmowers out of unlocked garages, but they’re not going to try and hurt people, mostly because they’re scared they’ll get hurt.
It’s only a matter of time before New Zealand realizes that all those guns they took away in the name of safety were really what was providing it.