New Zealand bans semi-automatic weapons after the Christchurch mosque shootings
The New Zealand government have moved to ban semi-automatic weapons in the country, less than 48 hours after 50 people died in a mass shooting.
The decision comes less than two days after 50 people were killed and several more injured in two shootings in mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in what was the worst mass shooting in the country's history.
Taking a press conference in Wellington, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed that work was being done to change the laws around firearms in the country.
"The offender was in possession of a gun licence. While work is being done as to the chain of events that lead to both the holding of this gun license and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now. Our gun laws will change," she said, and attorney general David Parker confirmed that semi-automatic rifles have now been banned.
"There is a dimming of enlightenment in many parts of the world," said Parker, as Newstalk ZB reports.
"How can it be right for this atrocity to be filmed by the murderer using a go-pro and live-streamed across the world by social media companies? How can that be right? Who should be held accountable for that?"
Stating that none of the suspects were on any kind of watch list prior to the events - where improvised explosives were also found attached to cars - Ardern underlined New Zealand's desire to tackle all different types of extremism.
"Given global indicators around far-right extremism, our intelligence community has been stepping up their investigations in this area. The individual charged with murder had not come to the attention of the intelligence community – nor the police – for extremism."
News of the gun law change was met with praise across the internet, none more so than in America, where mass shootings occur on a regular basis, and movement on firearm restriction is met with heavy resistance, with advocates keen to cite the Second Amendment as a reason not to restrict firearms in the country.
On Twitter, many drew the parallels between what occurred in New Zealand - including the government's response - and what happens in America on all-too-regular an occasion.
"New Zealand has just banned semi-automatic weapons. Within 48 hours of the country’s worst shooting. This is how it’s done," tweeted @clairenelson, while Kim Kardashian was one of the more vocal after the announcement, saying that she would like a similar initiative introduced in the United States, where there were 58 mass shootings (defined as four or more people shot in one incident) in 2019 alone.
"Just 24 hours after the Christchurch shooting New Zealand bans semiautomatic guns! America take note! Why can’t our elected officials put public safety over gun manufacturers’ profits?!?!"
Prime minister Ardern explained that while there had been three previous attempts to change gun laws in 2005, 2012 and 2017, she reiterated: "now is the time for change."