By John Waters
In the wake of the Christchurch Mosque shooting, which took place on 15th March, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, has announced that changes will soon be made to the country’s gun laws.
50 People were killed during Friday prayers at the Al Noor Mosque, when a gunman opened fire on worshippers. Part of the attack was live-streamed on facebook. After fleeing the scene, the gunman attempted a second attack at the Linwood Islamic Centre, but at least one worshipper distracted the gunman enough to prevent many more deaths.
The guns used in the attack, a mixture of semi automatics and shotguns, had all been acquired legally.
Prime Minister Arden announced that the cabinet met immediately after the shootings took place, and had reached a unanimous agreement within 72 hours, to change the gun laws in the country. The prime minister contrasted this swift agreement with the decision made to change Australian gun laws after the 1996 Port Arthur shootings. The Australian government at the time took 12 days to reach an agreement to change its gun laws.
“There is still some detail to work through” Prime Minister Arden acknowledged, “but I want to work through that as quickly as we can. I think the fact that we’re here now, giving you an assurance that we have made a decision as a cabinet, shows that we’re unified.” The prime Minister repeated that it is the details of the changes to the law which need to be examined and implemented, rather than the change itself.
“That is simply what we’ll be taking the time to get right” said Jacinda Arden.
Under the present gun laws in New Zealand “Some lawful, proper and sufficient purpose is needed to use, carry and discharge any firearm.” Reasons approved by the laws include hunting, sport shooting, pest control and theatrics. They do not include self defence or personal protection. The laws also presently focus more on vetting the potential gun owner rather than restricting the sale of particular types of gun.