After the recent mass killing at New Zealand mosques, the government acted quickly to impose new gun control laws. Weapons referred to as “assault rifles” (that is, semi-automatic rifles with tactical appearances) were banned through a mandatory buyback program.
People in New Zealand have always had a close relationship with their guns — not to the extent as Americans — but they have agreed that as long as they can still own practical guns they are willing to give up civilian versions of military styled weapons.
Here’s why this would never work in the United States.
Hunting, Self-Defense, and Military Weapons
Guns serve a lot of purposes for Americans, particularly for those living in the vast expanse between the coasts. There are different types of weapons for different purposes, although for the most part anyone can serve to do more than one job.
A hunting rifle, for example, tends to be a heavy caliber gun with a scope for accuracy. It’s often a bolt or lever action, although some people prefer a semi-automatic weapons, and hunting laws in some areas define how many bullets it is able to hold in the magazine. Self defense weapons tend to have a high rate of fire, whether a rifle, pistol, or shotgun, and are ideally fairly simple to use by someone who might be woken in the middle of the night.
Military weapons are usually small or medium caliber rifles with advanced optics systems and a large magazine capacity.
Buy Back Program
Buy back programs are very unpopular in the United States, and only attract law-abiding people to participate.
In New Zealand, the gun buy back program is using public tax money to buy certain types of guns, essentially civilian versions of military weapons and some self defense styled guns. In and of itself, the idea of using tax money to buy back guns preempts the idea of gun control in the United States. Simply put, the uproar and outrage over such an action would be political suicide for any congressperson who supported and allowed such a process.
Legal Rights versus Personal Privilege
Another big difference between the U.S. And New Zealand is the way guns have traditionally been viewed. They are an important part of life in N.Z., especially in rural areas. But, from a legal perspective, they never had a Bill of Rights, and guns have always been viewed as a privilege rather than a right. In the U.S., even if such a law were to pass in Congress, it likely wouldn’t hold up to legal challenges in the judiciary.
The fact is, gun control laws are not coming to America in the same way as they affect the rest of the world. There may eventually be regional nuances about when and how people can carry or use a gun, but there are simply too many guns in the country to effectively begin a buy back program or utter ban. More likely would be that some guns go the way of the Tommy Gun, in which the weapon is no longer produced or sold and so eventually there simply aren’t any in working condition left, while other guns become more popular as their design elements improve.
~ Firearm Daily