New Zealand vows to change gun laws following Christchurch shooting

New Zealand vows to change gun laws following Christchurch shooting

UPDATE: New Zealand’s Attorney General David Parker has since clarified his initial comments regarding the banning of automatic weapons in the country saying that the "decision has not yet been finalised" and that he did not intend to go further than PM Jacinda Ardern’s own statements regarding the attacks.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand he said:

“We need to ban some semi-automatics, perhaps all of them. Those decisions have yet to be taken, but the prime minister has signalled that we are going to look at that issue.”

His earlier comments came during a vigil on Saturday where he appeared to tell the crowd that a key part of the New Zealand’s government's response would be to ban semi-automatic weapons.

In a press conference in Wellington, a day after a gunman charged into two mosques killing 50 people, prime minister Jacinda Ardern stated that her country's gun laws will change.

She said:

While work is being done as to the chain of events that lead to both the holding of this gun license and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now. Our gun laws will change.

Attorney general David Parker later confirmed these statements by appearing to announce that the government would ban semi-automatic rifles, he has since clarified these comments saying that "those decisions have yet to be taken" but that it is a consideration.

The perpetrator, who was in possession of a gun license, used five different guns during the attack, including two semi-automatic weapons and two shotguns. Improvised explosives were also found at the scene.

The initial statements made by Parker were applauded on social media with many drawing comparisons to the way in which America has responded to similar incidents.

Until Friday, the biggest massacre in New Zealand's history happened nearly 30 years ago, when a man killed 13 people in a shooting rampage.

America has witnessed 58 mass shootings in 2019 alone (definition of a mass shooting: 4+ people shot in one incident). Last year, the country had a total of 340 mass shootings, with a school shooting in Parkland, Florida causing thousands to protest against American gun laws.

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