New Zealand Bans Sales Of Assault & Semi-Automatic Weapons After Christchurch Shootings
Less than one week after the terror attacks that killed 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, the country is taking action on gun reform.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Thursday that New Zealand would immediately ban semi-automatic weapons, assault rifles and other military-style arms in the wake of Friday’s shootings. The Christchurch attacks drew an outpouring of prayers and support for the victims and their families and led to condemnations of Islamophobia and white supremacy from several world leaders, although notably not from President Donald Trump, who instead stoked fear of illegal immigrants yet again.
Many prominent American politicians and celebrities also praised 38-year-old Ardern for her leadership and overall response to the attacks, which also included visiting those affected and briefly wearing a hijab as an act of solidarity with Muslims in New Zealand. Ardern also emphasized in an address to Parliament that she would strive not to use the Australian terrorist’s name so as not to shift the attention to him. Only some of the victims of the attacks have received funerals thus far. Many vigils and other prayer services have also been held throughout the country and the world.
Under @jacindaardern‘s leadership, New Zealand has banned assault rifles and military-style semi-automatic weapons just six days after the Christchurch mosque attacks.
Public servants didn’t stop at offering thoughts and prayers. They chose to act. pic.twitter.com/HuodopsJFp
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 21, 2019
“Every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned,” Ardern said.
Brenton Tarrant, the man who committed the attacks, live-streamed part of the shootings on Facebook. Law enforcement eventually found his white nationalist manifesto, which mentioned Trump. Tarrant, 28, is set to appear in court on April 5.
Ardern did not specify what punishments would be handed down to anyone in New Zealand who violated the new weapons ban, although she stressed their would now be much stricter regulations on sales of semi-automatic and automatic weapons.
“For other dealers, sales should essentially now cease. My expectation is that these weapons will now be returned to your suppliers and never enter into the New Zealand market again,” the prime minister said.
Unlike in the United States — where often times a simple background check is the only requirement to purchase a weapon — many developed countries like New Zealand, Australia, and Switzerland have a long list of requirements for arms sales, including providing references, securing a license, being interviewed and enrolling in gun safety courses.