New Zealand proposes gun regulations in wake of mass shooting

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand – Only a week after attacks on two mosques in New Zealand killed 50 worshippers, the country has banned sales of so-called “military-style” semi-automatic weapons and “high-capacity” magazines.

In the world of politics, it’s a lightning-fast response, especially when compared to the deeply contentious, long-running gun control debate in the United States.

It was 36 minutes of terror that changed New Zealand’s history. Now, the country’s prime minister promised overnight, its laws will change. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stated, “The time for the mass and easy availability of these weapons must end, and today, they will.”

50 lives were lost. The gunman, heavily armed with semi-automatic weapons, killed indiscriminately.

Less than a week later, New Zealand plans to ban the guns he used. “New Zealand will ban all military-style semi-automatic weapons,” Prime Minister Ardern said. “We will also ban all assault rifles. We will ban all high capacity magazines.”

The new law will take effect in just three weeks and includes a “buy back” scheme that could cost the country $138 million dollars. But there’s widespread and bipartisan support.

Mass shootings have sparked intense debate in the US for years, but nothing like new Zealand’s swift action.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez praised the move, tweeting: “Sandy Hook happened 6 years ago and we can’t even get the Senate to hold a vote on universal background checks.”

But NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch tweeting: “The US isn’t NZ. While they do not have an inalienable right to bear arms and to self-defense, we do.”

In New Zealand, more of the fifty funerals were held amid prayers and grieving and tough action.

The dramatic New Zealand plan includes an amnesty for folks to hand in all “military-style” semi-automatic weapons and a ban on parts to convert guns into semi-automatics and all high capacity magazines. But perhaps the most impactful part is how quickly the new law will come into force by April 11th, three weeks from now.

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