The recent surge in mass shootings has resulted in gun control conversations across the world. Some feel that weapons, especially military-style weapons, are not needed and cause more harm than good. Others argue that they have every right to own any firearm and that innocent gun owners should not be penalized for these shootings.
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The most recent mass shooting, which took place in Christchurch, New Zealand, and killed 50 people, prompted swift action from the country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Within a week of the shooting that occurred at two separate mosques, Ardern announced that the country will ban assault rifles, high capacity magazines, and certain modification parts.
“In short, every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country,” she said. “We are confident as a government that the vast majority of New Zealanders will support this change.”
Perhaps to the surprise of many, the country does have support from its citizens to remove the aforementioned firearms and modifications as over 70,000 people signed a petition asking the prime minister to do so.
According to the Daily Mail, there are around 1.5 million people in New Zealand, which means 1 in 3 people own some type of firearm. Before the attack, the country had no limit on how many firearms or amounts of ammo a person could own.
“On March 15 our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too. We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place,” Ardern explained in a press conference.
To encourage law-abiding citizens to turn over their firearms, Ardern said a buyback program will be implemented and is expected to cost a fortune. Those exempt from the new law include pest control, law enforcement, and military.
“To owners who have legitimate uses for their guns, I want to reiterate that the actions being announced today are not because of you, and are not directed at you. Our actions, on behalf of all New Zealanders, are directed at making sure this never happens again,” Ardern said as she concluded her public speaking.