Will New Zealand's Gun Laws Change After Mosque Attacks?
In the aftermath of the attacks against two mosques in New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was quick to address gun control legislation.
"I can tell you right now, our gun laws will change," Ardern told a television audience Saturday, promising a probe into how the gunman was able to procure a firearm license in 2017 to purchase five weapons, two of which (https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/15/asia/christchurch-mosque-shooting-intl/index.html) were semi-automatics.
"Now is the time for change," Ardern said.
Ardern's reaction to Friday's shootings was vastly different from President Trump's response to a similar attack in October at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, where Robert Gregory Bowers, a self-proclaimed white nationalist, shot and killed 11 congregants.
Trump (https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/27/politics/trump-jba-death-penalty-pittsburgh/index.html) said that the synagogue should have had "armed guards" and that gun laws had "little to do with [the shooting.]"
"It already has shaken the country to the core," Philip Alpers, the founding director of GunPolicy.org, which examines gun legislation on a global scale, (https://www.apnews.com/fb7a5aff98b84200b9e19f9829c592fe) told the Associated Press.
"I can't imagine a country less likely to just offer 'thoughts and prayers' and then just move on."
New Zealand's attorney general David Parker on Saturday even alluded to a possible ban on all semiautomatic weapons.
New Zealand's minimum age for owning a gun is 16 years old and is 18 for military-style semi-automatic weapons. Licenses to own firearms are mandatory and can be granted after a license applicant passes a criminal and medical background check. Records of domestic abuse, mental health, and substance addiction can count against licensees.
Once a license is procured, gun-owners do not have to register each individual weapon they purchase, which makes New Zealand one of the few countries in the world that allows licensees to own multiple firearms without registering them. Those who are granted a license can buy as many guns as they want.
Special applications are sent to law enforcement for those who wish to purchase military-style semi-automatic weapons, pistols and other firearms considered "restricted."
According to GunPolicy.Org, New Zealand's (https://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/new-zealand) estimated rate of private gun ownership per 100 people was 33.26 in 2017. When it comes to privately owned firearms, New Zealand globally ranks 54 out of 178 countries when comparing actual numbers of weapons.
When it comes to carrying firearms in public, both open carry and conceal carry are prohibited by law.
Of the 43,509 people who (https://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/media/New-Zealand-s-Ardern-says-gun-laws-will-change-1465297.php) applied for firearms licenses in 2017, 43,321 were granted them, or 99.56 percent of applicants.
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|Publication:||International Business Times - US ed.|
|Date:||Mar 17, 2019|
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