The National Party looks like it's picked a winner on guns. Post March 15, the support for the immediate reaction was almost unanimous. But, like so much of what this government does, the rest looked loose, disorganised, unwieldy and in this specific case, not all that connected to what they set out to do in the first place.
If we go back and accept that the original intent was to stop a Christchurch ever happening again. You could put some weight on the gun buy back. Does it follow logically?
The fewer guns you have, the less chance there is of a nutter getting their hands on one? Yes, you could. I was never completely convinced, based on the simple premise that this sort of event had never happened here, chances are it may never again. And even if it did, it's possible to do anything if you're mad enough and determined enough.
The resentment built fairly fast and fairly early from gun owners, and from people like me who aren't gun owners but like to be convinced about any given idea using logic. And the logic started to look shaky. Who's selling their guns? Law abiding gun owners. Tighten the rules up all you want, make it harder to get a licence. But crooks aren't selling their guns to police, and mad people lie below the radar.
Then came the registration idea, gun club licensing, increases in penalties, the medical profession given more power, and all of that is aimed not at nutters but regular, ordinary New Zealanders who have done nothing, but yet are the prime target for the changes.
Not surprisingly, patience has worn thin. Good law is only good law if it makes sense, not just because it's new. The stats back the frustration. We are a country of a lot of guns, but we don’t kill people with them, never have.
The government has blitzed an issue with rules, regulations, and red tape. And along with the buy back, will not be able to stand at the end of it, hand on heart, and say "another Christchurch will never happen". And they wont, because the real answer, if in fact there is one, will be found in the security review.
You want to make us safe from nutters? Find them on the dark web before they go rogue. Have the red flags on young, single, white blokes with no means of income, who travel to Paksitan, Turkey and Montenegro. That's where your answer lies, not with a rabbit shooter in Taihape.
And so, the Nats have seen this, and never forget their traditional connection to rural New Zealand anyway. And by not supporting more red tape, there are votes to be hoovered up. They have a credible and cogent argument, that what we have seen from the government post-March, is misguided, un-targeted and scattergun, no pun intended. There are votes in that.
Major reform must carry the support of the majority. The immediate reaction in the aftermath, probably had that support. In the ensuing period it's been lost. And National has seen it, and are seizing on it. It's not just common sense - its smart politics.