Contrary to Media Framing, New Zealanders Are Not Rushing to Give up Their Guns

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If you’ve paid attention to the news lately, you may have noticed a spat of breathless headlines proclaiming that New Zealanders are running to police to voluntarily give up their firearms.

Stories such as these have been popping up at various outlets the past few days:

New Zealanders Turning Over Firearms After Shooting

New Zealand Shooting: Gun Owners Turn in Their Firearms

New Zealand Gun Owners Are Voluntarily Handing Over Semiautomatic Rifles to Police: ‘We Don’t need these in our country’

There’s many more. It’s almost as if there’s a trend there or that there’s some narrative the media would like to push, namely that enlightened New Zealanders are “doing the right thing” by giving up their guns.

The best one though was CNN dedicating an entire article to a single man who chose to give up a rifle for reasons that make sense to pretty much no one.

The weight of the terror attacks on two mosques in New Zealand and the thought of what could happen if the gun fell into the wrong hands made John Hart voluntarily turn in his firearm, he said.

“I had had that gun since it was made. I was glad it had never harmed a person,” Hart, 46, told CNN. “Now I can know that it never harmed a person, so I have some reassurance in that.”

That doesn’t even make sense. What risk? How is him not having a gun keeping an unrelated, evil person from committing murder? If this seems like completely useless virtue signaling, that’s because it is. It’s only good to drive media agendas, not save lives. If you read his twitter account, Hart runs the gambit from bashing the NRA to going off about Russian bots. I’m going to risk getting myself in trouble and suggest he might be politically motivated. CNN was happy to give him coverage though because it fit their narrative.

So is there a mad rush in New Zealand of citizens giving up their guns? As usual, the truth is far different than the media framing.

Buzzfeed reported how many firearms have since been surrendered: 37. Thirty-seven guns have been turned in, by an unknown number of people (at least three). New Zealand has a population of nearly 4.8 million and has an estimated 1.2 million registered guns.

The media is obviously trying to make this look like a trend.

37 guns have been turned in. Out of 1.2M firearms in the country, and that’s just registered.

That’s a completely insignificant number by any definition. In fact, it seems like New Zealand is doing what you’d pretty much expect ahead of the threats of a ban firearms. They are running to buy more of guns.

There has been a rush on gun shops, with people “panic buying”, in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack and in anticipation of the Government tightening gun laws.

Following the Christchurch shooting, which killed 49 people on Friday, the Prime Minister promised to tighten gun laws.

Following Jacinda Ardern’s comments on Saturday morning, gun shop owners – at bricks and mortar stores, and online – experienced a jump in sales.

This is what always happens. When you tell law abiding citizens you are going to take something away from them, they will try to stockpile it. Instead of getting guns out of the hands of the public, the result of these governmental threats is to raise the number of guns owned.

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There’s also no logical correlation between a farmer giving up a rifle and a mass murderer (who used altered guns I might add) committing mass murder. Evil people will find a way to bring harm to those they despise. It’s an unfortunate reality but one that exists nonetheless.

Trying to ban semi-automatic firearms will have no tangible effect on crime in New Zealand. It’ll just punish people who don’t deserve to be punished and leave others vulnerable. Enacting ineffective laws just to sooth emotions is bad policy, period.

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