New Zealand is making some big changes. Their Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, made the announcement that: “Every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country,” less than a week after a white supremacist allegedly carried out a mass shooting that left 50 worshippers dead in two New Zealand mosques in Christchurch.
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Thanks to a push from New Zealand’s Muslim community gun policy experts and politicians alike are already recognizing that this attack was directly connected to holes in the legal system.
In less than a week after the shooting, she laid out specific legislative plans: A ban on all military-style semi-automatic weapons, assault rifles, high-capacity ammunition magazines, as well as accessories that can modify guns into military-style weapons.
But when we zoom out, we see that New Zealand’s gun laws are less stringent than those in other developed countries like the U.K and Australia. Although when compared to looser gun laws, like those in the U.S., they could seem very strict.
While New Zealand’s gun culture doesn’t quite rival the U.S.’s, (firearm ownership is considered a privilege, not a right) it’s is a big part of many people’s lives.That’s especially true in rural and farming communities, where hunters rely on firearms to eradicate pests like possums. But some of these farmers, including the country’s main farming lobby, are supportive of at least some type of gun reform.
So what are New Zealand’s current gun laws? And… how are they expected to evolve?
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NowThis World is dedicated to bringing you topical explainers about the world around you. Each week we’ll be exploring current stories in international news, by examining the facts, providing historical context, and outlining the key players involved. We’ll also highlight powerful countries, ideologies, influential leaders, and ongoing global conflicts that are shaping the current landscape of the international community across the globe today.