Democrats praised New Zealand when they announced their mandatory gun buyback, but a recent report shows the program is a disaster.
Following the horrific mosque shootings that left more than 50 dead, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a mandatory gun buyback program. The mandate called for all gun owners — with the exception of some specific economic groups, such as farmers — turn over all semi-automatic “military style” weapons to the government.
At the time, Democrats praised Ardern’s leadership on gun confiscation. As IJR previously reported, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and her fellow Democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) praised the decision and called on the United States to do the same thing.
Several 2020 Democrats have joined Sanders in supporting a large scale gun buyback and ban on “military-style” weapons.
- Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) vowed to use executive action to target gun sales within her first 100 days in office.
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) agreed to implement a “no-fly, no-buy” policy for those on the no-fly list.
- Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke promised a ban on the sale of new AR-15s.
- Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) proposed the requirement of a “gun licenses” to own a gun.
The most extreme gun proposal came from Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), who proposed a mandatory gun buyback on “military style” weapons, just like New Zealand. As IJR previously reported, Swalwell even announced that gun owners who refused to participate would go to prison.
Swalwell may want to check out how things are going in New Zealand before he gets too excited.
According to a new report from the Washington Post, only 700 of the estimated 1.2 to 1.5 million firearms in New Zealand have been turned over to authorities.
Gun owners have until December 20 before it becomes a crime to own the weapons, but many are waiting it out in hopes that some laws will change in the meantime. Activists have vowed to take the issue to the courts through a class action lawsuit against the government of New Zealand.
They’re hoping they can sue on grounds that the buyback is an unfair confiscation of property because the buyback rates are so low that some owners would receive only 30% of the market price for their weapons.
But money isn’t the only reason gun owners aren’t turning over their weapons.
Paul Clark, the owner of New Zealand Ammunition, told the Radio New Zealand that he could see this leading to a “revolution,” which is clearly a worst-case scenario. Clark later noted that he was not calling for violence, but the tension between gun owners and the government is clear.
Mike Clement, New Zealand Police’s deputy commissioner of national operations, told The Washington Post, “We urge people to stay calm.”
Despite the clear evidence that the buyback is a disaster, that hasn’t slowed down Ardern. She’s proposing even stricter requirements for the non-military-style weapons that have not yet been confiscated, including a national gun registry and a “more comprehensive vetting process” for those who wish to own firearms.
Many conservatives took to Twitter to mock the buyback for failing, as many expected.
There around 1.2 million to 1.5 million firearms in New Zealand. Only 700, of the firearms that were banned, have been turned in so far.
It's almost as if this would not work at all in the U.S. https://t.co/ma4CBqUbJU
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) July 1, 2019
what a mystery. better get encyclopedia brown on the case. https://t.co/jMtfI5ihwi
— T. Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) July 1, 2019
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 1, 2019
It remains unclear if the struggles in New Zealand will deter any of the 2020 Democrats from pursuing a large scale buyback.