Letter: Gun reform in New Zealand and the United States: A world apart

(Vincent Yu | The Associated Press) In this March 18, 2019, file photo, a student lights candle during a vigil to commemorate victims of March 15 shooting, outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. New Zealanders are debating the limits of free speech after their chief censor banned a 74-page manifesto written by a man accused of massacring 50 people at two mosques.

I was intrigued by New Zealander Elliot Dawson’s recent comment that, “New Zealand is not America. America is a totally different situation. I think in America it would be probably more dangerous to take people's guns away. But here, I don't think we need them at all.” (New Zealand citizens open to gun reform after massacre at mosques,” Tribune March 17.)

What would lead a mass shooting survivor to feel that reforming gun laws in the United States would be more dangerous than allowing individuals to maintain their current firearms? Prior to the recent tragedy in Christchurch, the last mass shooting the country experienced was 22 years ago in Raurimu, in which six individuals were killed. Between 2009 and 2017, the United States alone had 173 mass shootings.

Considering this past history, what makes citizens of the United States more resistant to gun reform? Might it be our attachment to the Second Amendment, multiple gun manufacturers’ financial contributions to political agendas or, perhaps, our perception of crime rates and safety?

What makes citizens of New Zealand more open to gun reform? Maybe for these citizens, one mass shooting in the last 10 years is one too many.

Kaitlin Bodily, Salt Lake City

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