New Zealand Government Pledges Semiautomatic Rifle Ban

Saturday, March 16, 2019
By Paul Martin

16 Mar 2019

New Zealand’s government is responding to the Christchurch attacks by pledging to ban all semiautomatic rifles.

Newstalk ZB reports that Attorney General David Parker announced the pending ban on semiautomatic rifles during a vigil in Auckland. He couched the announcement in comments about “a dimming of enlightenment” in various places around the world.

The Guardian reports that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also plans to “focus on the ease with which legal weapons can be modified to become military-style assault rifles, which are more strictly controlled.”

Ardern notes that the gunman was a licensed gun owner who used five firearms in his attack. Two of the five were semiautomatic rifles, two were shotguns, and the fifth was a lever-action long gun.

Ardern will stress that the attacker’s guns were legally owned as a way of increasing public support for stricter gun control. ThinkProgress quotes her saying, “As soon as New Zealanders hear that someone was legally able to acquire, as I’m advised, those weapons and carry out this event, that will raise enormous questions with our gun laws, and that is why we will respond swiftly.”

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