Should the U.S. ban assault rifles? | The Tylt

Should the U.S. ban assault rifles?

Mere days after a white nationalist murdered 50 people in two mosques in New Zealand, the country's prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced a nationwide ban on semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles. Mirroring a similar ban in Australia that went into effect in the '90s, New Zealand is instating a buy-back program. Many activists and politicians think the U.S. should take a page from New Zealand's book. Others say gun ownership is a right in the U.S. and that should not change. What do you think?

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New Zealand had a strong culture of gun ownership and use. According to NPR, there are 1.2 million guns registered in the country—roughly one for every four people. But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took swift action after the shooting in Christchurch and enjoyed roundly bipartisan support in her effort to change the laws. Per Refinery29:

"I strongly believe that the vast majority of legitimate gun owners in New Zealand will understand that these moves are in the national interest, and will take these changes in their stride," Ardern said on Thursday. "What we're banning today are the things that were used in last Friday’s attack."
...Gun reform advocates praised Ardern's leadership. "It is heartening to see Jacinda Ardern's incredible leadership and how quickly her administration is acting in the wake of this horrific mass shooting," Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, the grassroots arm of Everytown for Gun Safety, told Refinery29 earlier this week. "We've had at least 200 mass shootings in America since 2009...and yet our leaders have done very little."
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The plan in New Zealand mirrors similar reform in Australia, which allows individuals to request exemptions. Per Vox

The plan seems similar to what Australia did in response to a mass shooting in 1996 — changes that have been linked to fewer gun deaths in the subsequent years.
“When Australia undertook similar reforms, their approach was to allow for exemptions for farmers upon application, including for pest control and animal welfare,” Ardern said. “We have taken similar action to identify the weapons legitimately required in those areas, and preclude them.”
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American politicians, including presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, praised Ardern's actions and called for similar reforms in the U.S.

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Not everyone in New Zealand supported the reforms. NPR talked to several gun owners in the country who were concerned about the lack of protections for gun owners in the country's laws. 

ROB SCHMITZ, BYLINE: ...[Gun owner Thomas] Jones says gun ownership isn't enshrined into New Zealand's constitution like it is in the U.S. And gun enthusiasts like him don't have an organization like the NRA to represent them. That's left him and his friends feeling vulnerable after Friday's attack.
THOMAS JONES: And it's really disappointing to have the government throw on us what one person did and punish 250,000 gun owners at least just because of what one man's done.
SCHMITZ: A quarter-million new Zealanders would have to give up their semi-automatic guns if the government bans them. For Jones, that would mean giving up four of his 12 guns. He says he uses these semi-automatic guns as part of his livelihood. He owns a hunting business. 
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Conservative political pundits decried the action in New Zealand and emphasized that American gun owners are protected by the Constitution.

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The Washington Post reported that making similar changes in the United States would be far more difficult, given the power of the gun lobby and precedent set by the Supreme Court. 

Ardern is also less likely to face challenges from the courts than politicians would in the United States, where the Supreme Court has interpreted the Second Amendment as giving people the right to own guns. Those legal hurdles have been exacerbated by a gun lobby that has conveyed a perception that tighter laws are by definition a violation of the Second Amendment.
“The gun lobby has been very influential in convincing people the [Second Amendment prohibits any] form of gun control, which affects the politics over even modest measures,” Webster said.
As a result, the United States is likely to remain an outlier on gun reform.
FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Should the U.S. ban assault rifles?
A festive crown for the winner
#NoMoreAssaultWeapons
#KeepAllGunsLegal