New Zealand has been in the news a lot recently following the vicious attack on two mosques in Christchurch. These mass shootings appeared to be carefully planned, but there is perhaps an unexpected consequence coming from the attacks — a very strong eye on gun control from the government and media.
One individual took it upon himself to open fire on these mosques and even live-streamed it over several popular social media networks. Unfortunately, that one act was enough to shock a normally-calm country into taking immediate action to buy back over $300 million NZD, the equivalent of over $200 million U.S. dollars.
It took only a matter of weeks before a bill was moved quickly through the legislature that will have a dramatic impact on the rights of New Zealanders to own a weapon. The bill proposed banning all semi-automatic firearms, magazines and parts — plus everything that could be used to build one — and it quickly passed through the country’s Parliament.
Gun owners will only have a grace period until September 2019 in which to turn in their weapons for compensation. The government is unable to fully determine the scope of the buyback, but thinks it will run into the hundreds of millions of New Zealand dollars. New Zealand does not currently require citizens to register their weapons, but they do have to have a license. This makes it difficult for the government to estimate exactly how many firearms there are in the small country. The new gun laws are expected to be in effect approximately a month after the mosque attacks, by mid-April at the latest.
What’s unfortunate is if this change makes it through New Zealand’s legislature, it could give American lawmakers something to point at. These large scale changes are being opposed by gun lobbyists in New Zealand, but it’s unclear whether their efforts will have any impact at this point. There seems to be overwhelming support from lawmakers to put these sweeping changes into effect as quickly as possible. While there is a petition started by gun proponents to oppose the law, it currently has about 15,000 signatures — unlikely to be enough to sway lawmakers from their charted course.
This New Zealand ban on semi-automatic weapons follows a previous one in Australia that caused individuals to give up 640,000 prohibited weapons. If a buyback of this scale came into effect in the U.S., it would be devastating for gun owners who are continuing to defend their Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms.
~ Firearm Daily