New Zealand’s response to shooting shows U.S. that gun reform is possible

New Zealand’s response to shooting shows U.S. that gun reform is possible

New Zealand’s response to shooting shows U.S. that gun reform is possible
March 21
01:06 2019

A mass shooting at two Christchurch mosques in New Zealand killed 50 people and injured another 50 on Saturday, according to NPR. In response, the nation’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, promised citizens reformed gun laws within 10 days of the tragedy. This means regulating military-style guns. Not taking away all guns.

New Zealand hadn’t seen a mass shooting since 1990 when 13 people were shot and killed by a lone gunman with a scoped semi-automatic rifle. Compared to the U.S., 30  years between mass shootings is a shining track record. Our country has collectively allowed 1,987 mass shootings after Sandy Hook in 2013, according to a report by Vox updated as of March 19, 2018.

Since 2013, there has only been one full calendar week in which a mass shooting didn’t occur in the U.S., according to Vox.

Ardern even referred to the mosque shootings as an “act of terror” in her address to Parliament — a term the leader of our nation seems quite reluctant to use. Following the New Zealand massacre, which exhibited white supremacist ideology, Trump stated that he didn’t acknowledge a global rise in white nationalist extremism. Data and analysis gathered from multiple sources by PolitiFact shows that terroristic attacks “associated with white nationalism and far-right ideology is on the rise.”

White males have committed more mass shootings than any other group in the U.S., according to PolitiFact fact-checking. Considering this and the sheer number of mass deaths, Trump’s recent remarks that only “a small group of people” are carrying out terror attacks in our country is completely off-base from reality.

The Guardian reports that stricter gun laws reduce gun deaths. A 2016 study published on PubMed.gov concluded that both firearm purchase and access restriction and the implementation of laws aimed at firearm restriction is associated with reduced gun deaths. To most people this seems like a no-brainer — so what’s stopping us? The U.S. has some of the weakest gun laws among developed nations in the world.

In February, Business Insider published a list of the members of Congress who received the most donations from the National Rifle Association. The NRA is a “premier gun rights lobbying group” and one of the biggest congressional campaign contributors.

Of the top 85 congressional recipients of NRA donations, 82 of them are Republican, according to Business Insider. The result is glaring  — officials who receive these funds from the NRA vote in favor of the group’s interests and continue to produce ineffective gun laws.

Conservative citizens concerned about losing their Second Amendment rights vote in favor of Republican candidates who will protect their guns, but risk leaving their children to fend for themselves in the face of constant gun violence. With the NRA in the pockets of government officials, legislation to save your firearms might survive another day, but what about you know, actual people? They’ll prioritize the NRA’s bank account but will respond with nothing but a sympathetic tweet when your child’s school is targeted by a terrorist.

The proof is all around us — we know what we have to do to curb gun violence in our country. Politicians paid for by gun lobbyists will not have a change of heart on their own — it is up to the American people to demand change. As long as U.S. government actors are allowed to place their private financial interests ahead of the well-being of American citizens, we will continue to suffer preventable mass murders. Until then, New Zealand will just be two steps ahead of us.

Featured Illustration: Austin Banzon

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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