On Saturday, July 13, 2019 New Zealand launched its gun buyback program.
150 gun owners turned over the recently banned semiautomatic weapons and parts in exchange for money.
This buyback came in the wake of the Christchurch massacre, where a madman claimed the lives of 51 people in several Mosque shootings.
According to NPR, the Christchurch buyback is the first of many buybacks planned for this year.
Police commander for the Canterbury Region, Mike Johnson, claims that gun owners turned over 224 semiautomatic weapons, as well as 200 gun parts.
Johnson told reporters that he was “ecstatic” by the amount of gun owners that showed up to turn in their guns.
After the massacre, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the country would ban the sale of so-called “assault weapons” and semi-automatic guns. While announcing this gun control scheme, Ardern said that a buyback program would be enacted to offer “fair and reasonable compensation” to gun owners.
Ardern estimated at the time that the buyback program was expected to cost between $100 million and $200 million but justified it by saying that it was a necessary price “to ensure the safety of our communities.”
NPR highlighted how 250 buyback exchanges are expected to go through this year.
Despite the zealous calls for gun control, New Zealand has very strict gun control laws. Firearm ownership is a regulated privilege and the country features universal background checks on all gun sales and transfers.
None of these laws prevented the murderer from committing his atrocity. Nor would additional laws do any better in future instances of gun violence.
For countries such as New Zealand, who have no real tradition of gun ownership, these inconveniences will likely be ignored by its political class.
Such ignorance comes with a price to pay for would be victims of gun violence.