Monday, July 24, 2023

New Zealand Incident Highlights Worldwide Failures of Gun Control


The recent fatal shooting at an Auckland construction site in New Zealand on a Thursday underscores the universal challenge of gun control failure, showcasing the frequent lack of understanding about firearm realities that is not exclusive to the United States.

As reported by The Guardian, the shooting rampage, carried out by 24-year-old Matu Tangi Matua Reid using a pump shotgun, resulted in two deaths and ten injuries, including two police officers. Reid, who was also an employee at the construction site, was killed during the incident.

In the aftermath, New Zealand's anti-gun factions promptly began to voice their opinions. Gun Control New Zealand, an advocacy group favoring firearm registration, stated that such a registry would heighten accountability amongst firearm owners, thereby reducing the likelihood of guns falling into the hands of unlicensed individuals or criminal groups.

Despite these assertions, the tragic event demonstrates that even the suspect, who did not possess a firearm license, was able to acquire a gun. The discourse became even more heated when the gun control group claimed that pump-action shotguns pose a greater risk than bolt-action rifles. This argument seems to be a recurring theme in the "gun control playbook", where specific firearm types are vilified based on the intention to ban them.

The group's rhetoric eerily echoes statements made by American groups campaigning for gun restrictions, aiming to progressively reduce the number of privately-owned firearms. Currently, the focus is on pump shotguns.

Gun Control New Zealand claimed that, "In New Zealand, anyone with a licence can buy as many pump-action shotguns as they want," contrasting with Australia, where only farmers are allowed to own a single shotgun. 

While New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has pledged a comprehensive investigation, it's likely to conclude that no gun control law can entirely prevent firearms from falling into the hands of those determined to cause harm.

Further reports in The Guardian exposed Reid's violent criminal past. Much like some American convicts, Reid was under home detention due to a previous crime. He was serving a sentence in relation to an assault where he caused serious injury to a woman. 

The country's authorities are now questioning why Reid was under home detention and how he managed to acquire the shotgun. Such questions echo those raised in the U.S. whenever a violent individual perpetrates a mass killing.

For instance, investigators in Louisiana are still trying to unravel the circumstances surrounding a fatal shooting at a Harvey shipyard, where the suspect had been on probation due to a previous crime.

As of now, no concrete motive for the Auckland shooting has been identified. The occurrence gained further attention because it happened just before the commencement of the Women's World Cup tournament in the city, although no link between the two events has been established.

The previous significant shooting incident in New Zealand took place in Christchurch in 2019, when 51 people were killed in attacks on two mosques. Subsequently, the government enacted the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Act 2019, leading to the repurchase of numerous firearms from the public.

However, last week's tragedy in Auckland suggests that these measures did not prevent another fatal incident. Instead of acknowledging this fact, it is expected that New Zealand officials will likely advocate for even more stringent gun control laws.

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