An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER Jacinda Ardern is being hailed as a hero for her fast action in restricting firearms in the wake of the Christchurch massacre.
She and her government are banning what are commonly referred to as “military-style” semi-automatic rifles. And it’s happened almost instantaneously through a cabinet order.
New Zealand, up to this point, has had gun-control laws that look to me as though they aren’t exactly robust.
Their laws on requirements for a firearms possession licence and storage look a lot like ours. While certainly stricter than U.S. gun laws, New Zealand hasn’t previously banned semi-automatic rifles.
Canada doesn’t, either — both countries have restrictions on the capacity of their magazines, though.
The Americans have suffered repeated mass murders by zealots using legal semi-automatic weapons. Canada has experienced the tragedies of the Ecole Polytechnique, Dawson College and the Quebec City mosque.
The U.S. remains mired in political inaction; here at home the Liberal government is taking some tentative steps with Bill C-71.
The difference between our two countries and New Zealand is political will. Ardern might be late to the issue, but at least she’s doing something meaningful about it now, while Canada and the U.S. talk about it.
And we’ll probably keep on talking when it happens again.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.