In the wake of the worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s history, in which 50 people were killed whilst praying in two mosques, the country’s gun owners have been re-evaluating their need for weapons.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has vowed to tighten gun control laws and ban semi-automatic weapons after a man went into Muslim places of worship and killed men, women and children who had been praying.
“To make our community safer, the time to act is now,” Ardern told reporters earlier this week.,
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.
Meanwhile, some New Zealanders decided that they didn’t need a law change to surrender their automatic firearms.
Instead, they’ve been handing their guns into the police for destruction.
A person on Twitter who did not reveal their identity was one of the first to hand in their semi-automatic to be destroyed.
Since I first heard about the atrocity on Friday afternoon I have reflected and reserved my thoughts. Monday morning - this is one of the easiest decisions I have ever made. Have owned a firearm for 31 years.
He wasn’t the only one to do so.
As we reported this week, farmer John Hart gave up his semi-automatic rifle.
Speaking of his decision, he wrote on Twitter:
Until today I was one of the New Zealanders who owned a semi-automatic rifle. On the farm they are a useful tool in some circumstances, but my convenience doesn’t outweigh the risk of misuse.
We don’t need these in our country.
We have [to] make sure it’s #NeverAgain
Another Twitter user who goes by the username @FeyHag decided to hand in her late husband’s guns.
She wrote on Twitter:
When my husband died his guns were handed to family holding the requisite license. Daughter of crack shot food hunting parents, I have used guns from the age of 9.
Today I requested that those guns be handed in for destruction.
Major gun store Hunting & Fishing stopped online sales of firearms and is calling for a ban on the practice.
In addition, they removed “all military-style assault weapons” from their shelves for good.
"As far as we are concerned, they will never return," chief executive Darren Jacobs said.
We stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow New Zealanders in condemning this cowardly attack, and in grief and solidarity with the loved ones of all those killed and injured. We are ready to play our part.