The government of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand has, with the support of the opposition, decided to enact fundamental changes in the nation’s firearms laws less than a week after the massacre at two Christchurch mosques.
This is the opposite of leadership. It is also an example of why Americans should cherish our Bill of Rights and resist current progressive attempts to gut the first two of its amendments.
New Zealand is prohibiting and seizing certain common firearms, including semi-automatic rifles described as “military-style,” a term with no substantive meaning. American progressives — the ones who are always reassuring us that they don’t want to seize anybody’s guns but seek only “commonsense” regulation — are so green with envy that they may spontaneously begin photosynthesis.
Prohibiting ordinary firearms is not a good policy, but if it were a good one, it would have been a good one a year ago — and it would still be a good one a year from now. Acting with a minimum of debate and reflection in the wake of a convulsive national horror may be the easiest way to enact sweeping legal changes, but it also is the worst way.
This is especially true when the question involves the fundamental rights of citizens. That the government of New Zealand does not recognize the right to keep and bear arms as a civil right — a right that distinguishes citizens from subjects — is no more relevant to the question than the censorship enacted by the junta in Beijing is to the status of free speech as a civil right. Governments do not create human rights — they only recognize them or violate them.