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New Zealand’s New Gun Laws, Do Citizens Support Them?
After a gruesome mass shooting event fueled by Islamophobia took the lives of 50 Muslim worshippers at two Mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, the country immediately sprang into action to enact new gun legislation to prevent another similar tragedy from happening. Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern of the Social Democratic Labour Party, immediately condemned the attacks of March 15th.
“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced at a news conference that New Zealand “gun laws will change” and it has also been proclaimed that semi-automatic weapons will be banned,” Caracal Reports published last week. “In regards to the suspect, Ardern told reporters in Christchurch that “it absolutely was his intention to continue with his attack” but he was fortunately too quickly apprehended.”
The New Gun Laws
From the Associated Press:
The ban includes any “military-style” semi-automatic guns or shotguns that are capable of being used with a detachable magazine that holds more than five rounds. It also extends to accessories, such as bump stocks, used to convert guns into what the government called “military-style” weapons.
Military-style semi-automatics have been defined under New Zealand law as rifles with magazines exceeding seven shots, or with pistol grips, folding or telescopic butts, bayonet attachments or flash suppressors at the end of the barrel.
Many different types of firearms, from pistols to rifles and shotguns, can be semi-automatic. Semi-automatic refers to a firearm’s ability to self-load, not only firing a bullet with each trigger pull, but also reloading and making the firearm capable of firing again.
From the official Arms (Military Style Semi-automatic Firearms) Order 2019 which addresses the specifics of the weapons which are being banned.
This order, which comes into force at 3 pm on 21 March 2019, declares the following firearms to be military style semi-automatic firearms:
a semi-automatic firearm that is capable of being used in combination with a detachable magazine (other than one designed to hold 0.22-inch or less rimfire cartridges) that is capable of holding more than 5 cartridges:
a semi-automatic firearm that is a shotgun and that is capable of being used in combination with a detachable magazine that is capable of holding more than 5 cartridges.
This order is a confirmable instrument under section 47B of the Legislation Act 2012. It is revoked at the close of 30 June 2020, unless earlier confirmed by an Act of Parliament. That stated time is the applicable deadline under section 47C(1)(a) of the Legislation Act 2012.
As stated within the legislation the new laws do not ban semi-automatic .22 caliber or smaller guns that hold up to ten rounds. The law also does not include semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns that hold up to five rounds, as they are commonly used by farmers and hunters and the low capacity magazine makes them less effective for mass murder attempts.
Prime Minster Ardern stated citizens could turn over their guns under amnesty while an official buyback plan is put into effect. The government is expecting to spend $140 million dollars on the program. From readily available information, the government is unsure of exactly how many firearms fall under the new ban and will need to be turned over to officials.
Do Citizens Support The New Laws?
According to the Associated Press, one of New Zealand’s largest retailers, Hunting & Fishing New Zealand are in support of the new laws and fully support the banning of the semi-automatic weapons outlined with the law. Professor Kevin Clements at the University of Otago who is a firearms expert and the chairman of Peace and Conflicts studies told Associated Press that citizens in New Zealand widely support the law.
“What (Ardern’s) done is a very brave move, and it’s the kind of move that can only be done in a common-law country where guns are not a right. Guns are a real privilege,” began International law Professor Alexander Gillespie of Waikato University. “Guns are a real privilege. If there was a legal right like there is in the United States, this would be much more difficult,” he told the outlet before cautioning on how expensive the process could be.