Mass shootings have become an unfortunately regular occurence in the United States over the past two decades; in that time, however, no meaningful gun reform has been made. New Zealand has gone the opposite path, though, and a mere five days after the Christchurch Massacre declared that it will be banning all semiautomatic rifles in the country. The announcement came from Jacinda Ardern, the countrie’s Prime Minister; it also comes on the heels of the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand’s history.
Semiautomatic assault weapons were used by a number of gunmen to kill 50 people worshipping in two mosques in Christchurch. Speaking about the ban, Ms. Ardern said:
“Today I am announcing that New Zealand will ban all military-style semiautomatic weapons. We will also ban all assault rifles. We will ban all high-capacity magazines. We will ban all parts with the ability to convert semiautomatic or any other type of firearm into a military-style semiautomatic weapons. We will ban parts that cause a firearm to generate semiautomatic, automatic or close to automatic gunfire. In short, every semiautomatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country.”
Many politicians, both in New Zealand and the United States, have praised the immediate reaction by authorities to the Christchurch Massacre. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), for instance, took to Twitter to note that “Sandy Hook happened 6 years ago and we can’t even get the Senate to hold a vote on universal background checks w/ #HR8. Christchurch happened, and within days New Zealand acted to get weapons of war out of the consumer market.”
Sandy Hook happened 6 years ago and we can’t even get the Senate to hold a vote on universal background checks w/ #HR8.
Christchurch happened, and within days New Zealand acted to get weapons of war out of the consumer market.
This is what leadership looks like ⬇️ https://t.co/TcdR63anBt
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 21, 2019
In contrast to New Zealand and the Christchurch Massacre, the United States has floundered with how it should approach issues should as gun control. Over the past few decades the National Rifle Association has repeatedly lobbied against many gun control measures and have been successful. More recently, President Donald Trump has waffled on gun control in the wake of several notable mass shootings during his presidency.
These include the likes of the 2017 massacre in Las Vegas that left 58 dead, and the 2018 attack in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead at Stoneman Douglas High School. After the second of those two, however, he did indicate that he would be looking to improve the federal background check system.