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A Look At New Zealand’s Proposed Gun Laws After The Christchurch Terror Attack

“All of us need to present a united front. When it comes to racism, extremism, violence, we domestically have duties upon us as well.”

The March 15th Islamophobia fueled mass shooting event in Christchurch, New Zealand which led to 50 Muslims dead across two Mosques, led to quick condemnation and calls for gun reform from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The Labour Party of New Zealand is Social Democratic in nature and has led the push for immediate action after the senseless tragedy.

When the parliament of New Zealand comes back into session during the first week of April, a new batch of gun legislation will go through a “short, sharp select committee process” and expectations are for it to overwhelmingly pass in the legislature.

The Proposed Laws

The official Arms (Military Style Semi-automatic Firearms) Order 2019 addresses the specifics of the weapons which are being banned. It can be read below in its entirety.

This order, which comes into force at 3 pm on 21 March 2019, declares the following firearms to be military style semi-automatic firearms:
  1. a semi-automatic firearm that is capable of being used in combination with a detachable magazine (other than one designed to hold 0.22-inch or less rimfire cartridges) that is capable of holding more than 5 cartridges:
  2. a semi-automatic firearm that is a shotgun and that is capable of being used in combination with a detachable magazine that is capable of holding more than 5 cartridges.
This order is a confirmable instrument under section 47B of the Legislation Act 2012. It is revoked at the close of 30 June 2020, unless earlier confirmed by an Act of Parliament. That stated time is the applicable deadline under section 47C(1)(a) of the Legislation Act 2012.

The proposed laws are similar to those enacted in Australia after a horrific mass shooting killed 35 individuals in Port Author. In only took then Prime Minister John Howard of the Liberal-Conservative ideologically based Liberal Party of Australia twelve days to strike a bipartisan deal to enact sweeping measures against some forms of semi-automatic firearms.

Prime Minister Ardern stated New Zealanders can hand over firearms under a promise of amnesty while officials develop an official buyback plan, which is expected to go into place after the bill is voted on in parliament. Police in the country are also going to work with citizens to allow for firearms to be turned in with arrangements made.

Will This Help Heal New Zealand, Can The US Take Note?

After a March 20th, press conference TIME asked Prime Minister Ardern several questions. The first exchange follows:

TIME: Where does the responsibility to fight rising white extremism lie?
Ardern: Domestically with each of us. I have to acknowledge though there are some things that we do need to confront collectively, as leaders internationally. We cannot, for instance, just simply allow some of the challenges that we face with social media to be dealt with on a case by case basis. There is an argument here to be made for us to take a united front on what is a global issue. This is not just an issue for New Zealand. Social media platforms have been used to spread violence, material that incites violence. All of us need to present a united front. When it comes to racism, extremism, violence, we domestically have duties upon us as well.
The conversations ended with TIME asking the Prime Minister if she feared the terrorist attack would change international perception around New Zealand being seen as an open society where all are welcomed:
It is certainly now a part of our history. It is our darkest of days. There is no question. Going forward, what I hope it changes the most is producing a heightened response to extremism, racism, hatred. The risk of who we are is actually the reason we were targeted in the first place. And that won’t change.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, the United States has had 65 mass shooting incidents as of March 25th in 2019. The metric used for mass shootings are, four are more injured during a single shooting incident. Despite a new poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showing that 67 percent of United States citizens favor stricter gun laws — new legislation is virtually impossible to pass through Congress due to the Republican party controlling the Senate and the massive amount of money the National Rifle Associate spends to ensure they do not pass any new gun laws.
Walter Yeates

Walter Yeates is a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter who embedded at Standing Rock with military Veterans and First People in December 2016. He covers a range of topics at Citizen Truth and is open for tips and suggestions. Twitter: www.twitter.com/GentlemansHall or www.twitter.com/SmoothJourno Muckrack: https://muckrack.com/walteryeates

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