GUN RIGHTS ZEAL IN NEW ZEALAND

Written by Sylvester Lim

What Happened?

New Zealand, a country located in an isolated area of the globe has mostly been safe from the terror attacks which have plagued many European and Middle Eastern countries in recent years. On 15 March 2019, a 28-year-old Australian citizen struck terror to the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, when he brazenly attacked the Al-Noor Mosque and then Linwood Mosque during the mid-day Friday prayer session. In an unprecedented act of cruelty on  New Zealand soil, his attack caused the death of some 50 Muslims, with many more wounded and some in critical condition. In addition to committing this violence, Brenton even live streamed this merciless act of macabre violence on Facebook and published a hate-filled manifesto on Twitter on the morning of the attack which contained his extremist ideologies and inspirations for committing the attack. The manifesto also cites references to previously-committed attacks fueled by a similar white supremacist motivation. This incident has revealed the dangers of the deep-web, where it is believed the extreme-right propagate radical racist ideologies which fuel such hate-crimes.

 

Gun Rights?

It is not a constitutional right to own firearms in New Zealand as it is in the United States. Before owning firearms in New Zealand, potential owners are required to undergo an extensive background check inclusive of interviews and home security inspections before being issued a license. However, in light of the sudden and severe nature of this heinous crime, New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern, has announced that she will put forward further gun control legislation, proposing as much as to ban semi-automatic rifle ownership for the general public. Although current New Zealand law only allows for semi-automatic rifle owners to purchase magazines that contain seven bullets, it has no restrictions on the number of magazines that can be purchased. It remains to be seen what the future of gun ownership rights will be like in New Zealand following this shocking incident.

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