Well, would you look at that: New Zealand is working to reform their gun laws after a neo-Nazi tore through two Christchurch-area mosques and killed 50 people on Friday, injuring tens of others during the terrorist attack.
Speaking after a weekly cabinet meeting on Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters that the country’s government has agreed “in principle” to change its gun policies. “Within 10 days of this horrific act of terrorism we will have announced reforms which will, I believe, make our community safer,” Ardern said.
Ardern said she’d give further details on what the government decides next Monday before the cabinet meets again, according to the Telegraph.
Under current law, according to Vox, gun owners in New Zealand must be licensed to legally purchase, own, and possess guns, and license applicants are vetted for factors such as, but not limited to, criminal records, histories of violence, drug and alcohol use, and relationships to dangerous people. They also must complete a firearms safety course, and renew their licenses every 10 years. Police can revoke a person’s license and also regulate gun sellers, which must also be licensed.
Guns don’t always require registration, though military-style semiautomatic rifles, known as MSSAs, must be registered. There are ways to exploit this requirement, however, under the technicalities of the law. Ardern has previously stated that the shooter legally acquired the five guns he used in the terrorist attack.
Ardern also said an investigation is underway into both the time leading up to the attack and what could have been done differently.
According to the Telegraph, the man charged with murder in the attack reportedly purchased firearms and ammunition online from a New Zealand gun store, according to the owner—four weapons and ammunition between December 2017 and March 2018. However, the shooter didn’t purchase the weapons he used in the mosque attacks from that retailer, only “A-category firearms,” which can be semi-automatic but are limited to seven shots.
This must be what it’s like to have a government capable of responding to crises. What a novel idea.