At a vigil for the victims of Friday’s horrific terror attack targeting two Christchurch mosques, New Zealand Attorney General David Parker promised a ban on the weapons used by the white supremacist shooter.
The crowd in attendance at a vigil at Auckland’s Aotea Square cheered loudly when Attorney-General David Parker said the Government would ban semi-automatic rifles.
He warned of a global rise of extremism.
“There is a dimming of enlightenment in many parts of the world,” he said.
He followed Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who boldly stated gun laws are going to change in her country after 49 Muslim worshippers were shot down during their sacred Friday prayers.
“I can tell you one thing right now: Our gun laws will change. There have been attempts to change our laws in 2005, 2012, and after an inquiry in 2017. Now is the time for change.
Not “we need to have this discussion,” or “we have to do better,” or “thoughts and prayers.” Instead, Ardern offered the one thing that she could promise: Gun laws will change.
This is what happens when your nation does not have a Russian-backed terror organization dedicated to promoting the killing of your own citizens. (Actually, New Zealand does have an NRA, but it’s an actual sportsman’s shooting club.)
No American president could say this. In fact, our last president announced in his final year, after yet another deadly massacre, that nothing was going to change. In 2016, Barack Obama said that as long as we elect Republicans who are bought and paid by the gun lobby, we could expect more of the same. And he was right.
Our current president is even worse—he couldn’t even muster the courage to unequivocally condemn the mosque shooting because the shooter resembles his base.
When two Boeing 737 MAX 8s went down, and we grounded all of them, it wasn’t a bold move, it was common sense. Common sense is the one thing lacking in America’s gun debate. Curbing the flow to deranged criminals shouldn’t be controversial.
The Christchurch shooter had a gun license and was able to amass a large collection of weapons, yet in the right wing’s topsy-turvy world, concern should never be focused on the victims, only the shooters.
Gun laws should have changed after worshipers were slaughtered in a synagogue in Pittsburgh; or in a church in South Carolina; or a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. They should have changed after the shootings at music festivals, nightclubs, offices, warehouses, and countless schools.
In Orlando, Marco Rubio wouldn’t even call the massacre at the Pulse nightclub a ”shooting.”
I had completely lost hope after Sandy Hook—when 20 elementary schoolchildren were murdered with a high-powered assault rifle, and America just decided to be okay with that.
What started to give me real hope was the brave kids of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., who decided to turn their tragedy into a movement. These young people helped expose the NRA for what we always suspected it was—a paper tiger.
New Zealand will now likely bring its gun laws up to neighboring Australia’s standards. This includes not only requiring licensing of a firearm, but also weapon registration, and a ban on military-grade weapons.
Australia put these gun reform measures in place after suffering from over a dozen mass shootings that culminated into a 1996 massacre that left 35 people dead. Do you know how many mass shootings Australia has had in the 23 years since? Zero.
Gun laws work. We just need brave politicians to implement them.