According to Reason’s Jacob Sullum, New Zealand’s new gun ban would be unconstitutional in the U.S. He writes:
American gun control supporters are citing the firearm restrictions that New Zealand’s government plans to impose in response to last week’s mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch as an example that should be emulated by American politicians. But the broad gun and magazine bans that legislators expect to enact by April 11 would never pass muster in the United States. If we can learn anything from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s reaction to the attacks, it has less to do with the merits of her policies than with the slippery language she used in announcing them.
“The guns used in these terrorist attacks had important distinguishing features,” Ardern said at a press conference in Wellington today. “First, big capacity, and also their delivery. They had the power to shoot continuously, but they also had large capacity magazines.”
Contrary to that description, the guns used by the perpetrator of the mosque attacks, which killed 50 people, did not “shoot continuously.” They were semi-automatic rifles, meaning they fired once per trigger pull. And while Ardern referred to “important distinguishing features,” the only one she mentioned (twice) was “big capacity,” which is a characteristic of the magazine rather than the gun itself.
Ardern does plan to ban “high-capacity magazines,” meaning those holding more than five rounds. There will be an exception for magazines holding up to 10 rounds of .22-caliber or smaller rimfire ammunition.
Ardern also intends to “ban all military-style semi-automatic weapons” (MSSAs), which under current law include semi-automatic rifles that have pistol grips, folding or telescoping stocks, bayonet lugs, flash suppressors, internal magazines holding more than seven rounds, or detachable magazines that have “the appearance of holding more than 10 cartridges” (15 for .22-caliber rimfire ammunition). MSSAs already require a special license. Ardern wants to make them entirely illegal, and that includes firearms currently owned by license holders, who will be required to surrender them. They are supposed to receive compensation, but this “buyback” won’t be optional.
Read more here.
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