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A recent mass shooting in Auckland, New Zealand highlights the need to reform our approach to criminal justice, instead of persisting with efforts to restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens under the pretext of “gun safety reform.”
In a nation with some of the most stringent gun laws on the planet, due in part to recent draconian measures put into place, an apparently disgruntled employee attacked his worksite in a mass shooting that left five injured, and three dead – including the gunman.
With so many strict gun laws on the books, one must wonder how this could happen:
- The firearm used in the attack was a pump-action shotgun; a firearm not even banned under New Zealand’s most-recent spate of gun control laws.
- The alleged shooter is known to have a criminal history including domestic violence, which should have barred him from obtaining the now-required firearm license to possess a firearm in New Zealand.
- Indeed, the alleged shooter was actively serving a home detention sentence for another crime altogether but was still given an exemption to leave his home to work at the very site he attacked.
Even New Zealand’s extensive gun-control laws do not stem the drive for psychopaths to carry out horrific acts. A 2019 mass shooting that killed 51 worshippers at two mosques in the city of Christchurch resulted in the enactment of a strict, nationwide ban on semiautomatic weapons in that country.
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Then Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern rode a swell of public sentiment to get lawmakers to ban “military-style” semiautomatic firearms.
But the draconian measures were only nominally complied with, at best. By most estimates, the mandatory “buy-back” scheme only resulted in 50,000 firearms being turned in. That’s barely 3% of that nation’s estimated guns in circulation.
Ardern’s measures didn’t even apply in this case. The pump-action shotgun believed to have been used in the shooting wasn’t banned under the 2019 laws.
In light of these events, the shortcomings of both the laws and the criminal justice system have been illuminated.
It becomes apparent that simply legislating gun violence does not effectively consign it to the annals of history, particularly when these laws and court systems repeatedly fail to protect the victims in such cases.
As seen repeatedly in the United States, areas that have adopted lenient crime policies have witnessed a steep increase in all levels of crime.
Meanwhile, liberal lawmakers and prosecutors persist in advocating for “gun safety,” even as they return accused and convicted criminals to the streets.
Given that some of the world’s strictest gun control laws have failed to prevent a mass shooting by a known violent criminal, perhaps the focus should shift.
We ought to consider keeping such criminals in jail, providing a safe barrier between them and the vulnerable public, while also ensuring law-abiding citizens have the means to protect and defend themselves.
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