HOUSTON (FOX 26) - New Zealand's prime minister announced a ban on all assault rifles, military-style semiautomatic rifles, and high capacity magazines. It comes about a week after 50 people were killed in attacks on two mosques. The self-described white supremacist who attacked the worshippers used to assault rifles that were legally purchased and then modified to enhance firing capability.
The prime minister vows never to say the gunman's name, so why don't we do the same thing in the United States?
"It sends a signal out to would-be copycats. He was seeking attention, and by slamming his name shut, he doesn't get the attention that he wants," said Andy Kahn with Crime Stoppers Houston. "There was a study done recently that found school shooters and wannabe school shooters actually emulated the Columbine shooters, because we gave them the infamy and immortality they don't deserve."
Kahn makes a point to ask people if they've heard of household names like Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and John Wayne Gacy, to which the reply is always, yes. However, no one can ever name any of their victims. Such is the sad reality of immortalizing serial killers and mass shooters.
"When you have massive critical events, like in Newtown, we had the entire media descend on us," said Cody McCubbin, former Newtown, Connecticut school board member. "So how can you possibly keep anything secret in that environment? If by somehow we could stop this, and keep them from becoming household names, I think it would be a wonderful thing."
The prime minister has also garnered global media attention for her swift ban of assault weapons. McCubbins was less enthusiastic about translating this aspect to American society.
"Will [banning assault weapons] do any good? From a realistic standpoint, probably not," said McCubbin. "We have over 300 million weapons in this country, there's no way you're going to be able to get rid of all of them. You have to come at this with an approach that's going to work."