World: New Zealand prime minister says, 'Our gun laws will change' - PressFrom - US

WorldNew Zealand prime minister says, 'Our gun laws will change'

01:40  16 march  2019
01:40  16 march  2019 Source:

As a national security expert, here's how I try to make sense of the senseless

As a national security expert, here's how I try to make sense of the senseless I am now sadly practiced at processing atrocities like the appalling shootings in New Zealand. This is a list of questions I always ask myself in order to make sense of the senseless. What happened? Despite the temptation to rush to judgment, my rule is to wait for the facts, and let the facts speak for themselves. In this case, the facts came out really fast, in part because the perpetrators broadcasted them to the world. The shootings at the Christchurch mosques are the very definition of terrorism: the willful intention to do violence on innocents to serve a political agenda.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has signalled New Zealand 's gun laws " will change " following one The safety of New Zealanders is our highest priority." She said MFAT staff were dealing with offers of A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister was not able to confirm which other ministers would be

Jacinda Ardern says she will consider banning semi-automatic weapons altogether and insists: ‘I can tell you one thing – our gun laws will change ’.

New Zealand prime minister says, 'Our gun laws will change'© Joe Raedle/Getty Images North America/Getty Images DELRAY BEACH, FL - JANUARY 05: Weapons are seen on display at the K&W Gunworks store on the day that U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, DC announced his executive action on guns on January 5, 2016 in Delray Beach, Florida. President Obama announced several measures that he says are intended to advance his gun safety agenda. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Saturday morning that "our gun laws will change" following the mass shooting at two Christchurch mosques that left 49 people dead.

"There were five guns used by the primary perpetrator," she said at a news conference in Wellington. "There were two semi-automatic weapons and two shotguns. The offender was in possession of a gun license. I'm advised this was acquired in November of 2017. A lever-action firearm was also found."

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> New Zealand ’s gun control laws will be strengthened following the massacre of 49 people in Christchurch mosques, the country’s prime minister has >“I can tell you one thing right now: our gun laws will change ,” said Ardern. Kiwis on Twitter are applauding their leader for "taking a stance

Our gun laws will change ." Less than a day after a terrorist attack at two mosques that left 49 people dead and several fighting for their lives, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she will change gun laws of the country, with the prime minister noting that the New Zealand

She said the suspect, who has not been publicly identified, obtained a gun license in November 2017 and began purchasing guns legally in December 2017.

"While work is being done as to the chain of events that lead to both the holding of this gun license and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now. Our gun laws will change." Ardern said.

Nation's last mass shooting 3 decades ago

The Christchurch attack has highlighted flaws in New Zealand's gun control laws.

Until Friday, the biggest massacre in the country's history happened 30 years ago, when a man named David Gray went on a shooting rampage, killing 13 people.

Following that attack, the nation's gun laws -- which were first passed in 1983 -- came under scrutiny. The ensuing debate led to a 1992 amendment on the regulation of military-style semi-automatic firearms.

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While New Zealand ’s laws governing the purchase of semiautomatic rifles are more restrictive than those in the United States Helen Clark, the country’s former prime minister , told The New Zealand Herald “I can’t think of a country that’s more likely to change its gun laws after something like this.”

During my time as Prime Minister the Government has positioned New Zealand so that our economy could harness the opportunities offered by a burgeoning Asia and a more connected world. Reforms have been far reaching, including substantial changes to our tax, welfare, planning and labour laws

Despite those laws, New Zealand's weapons legislation is considered more relaxed than most Western countries outside of the USA. Gun owners do need a license but they aren't required to register their guns -- unlike in neighboring Australia.

While authorities do not know exactly how many legally or illegally owned firearms are currently in circulation in New Zealand, estimates put the number at about 1.2 million, according to New Zealand Police. This figure equates to about one gun for every three people -- a rate that is considered high when compared with Australia, which has 3.15 million guns, approximately one for every eight people.

That said, gun-inflicted fatalities remain relatively low in New Zealand. The number of gun homicides per year in the decade up to 2015 was in the dozens, according to figures compiled by the University of Sydney. This equated to an annual rate of about one death per 100,000 people -- in contrast to the United States, which had 12 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017.

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The Prime Minister of New Zealand (Māori: Te Pirimia o Aotearoa) is the head of government of New Zealand . The incumbent Prime Minister , Jacinda Ardern, leader of the New Zealand Labour Party

The former New Zealand prime minister Jenny Shipley said it was “brilliant” news. “It’s a wonderful choice of our outstanding young woman leader “We’re going to make this work and New Zealand is going to help us raise our first child,” Ardern said . She told her partner Gayford about the pregnancy

Potential gun owners in New Zealand must be over the age of 16 and pass a police background check, according to and its founder Professor Philip Alpers.

According to Alpers, New Zealand firearm legislation has remained substantially unaltered since 1992. Five years later retired High Court judge Thomas Thorp's year-long Review of Firearms Control in New Zealand (1997) recommended major changes, among them that all firearms be individually registered; that restricted weapons like privately held machine guns be permanently disabled; and for a buy-back of military-style semi-automatic weapons.

Alpers, who is based at the University of Sydney but originally from New Zealand, told CNN: "Not one of these measures has been addressed by legislation. Government has since considered a range of similar recommendations, but special interest groups prevent meaningful change."

In 79 countries surveyed by the United Nations, firearm registration is the accepted norm and a cornerstone of gun control, according to Among developed nations, New Zealand's decision not to register 96% of civilian firearms makes it a stand-out exception, alone with the United States and Canada, Alpers said.

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Weapons legislation in Australia

Gun laws in Australia were tightened following a 1996 mass shooting in which 35 people were killed by a lone gunman in Port Arthur, Tasmania. Within two weeks, Australian lawmakers banned rapid-fire rifles and shotguns and introduced tighter laws governing ownership of other weapons. New applicants must undergo thorough background checks and present a "justifiable reason" for ownership -- with self defense not applicable.

The laws have had a dramatic effect on the frequency of mass shootings, as well as homicides. In the years after the Port Arthur massacre, the risk of dying by gunshot in Australia fell by more than 50% -- and stayed there.

A 2012 study by Andrew Leigh of Australian National University and Christine Neill of Wilfrid Laurier University also found the two nationwide, federally funded gun buybacks and voluntary surrenders of firearms led to a drop in firearm suicide rates of almost 80% in the following decade.

Using those measures, Australia collected and destroyed more than a million firearms, perhaps a third of the national stock, according to Alpers. The national government also banned the importation of new automatic and semiautomatic weapons. And the buyback was paid for by a special one-off tax on all Australians.

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Nearly 250,000 licensed firearms owners own and use New Zealand 's estimated 1.5 million firearms. As in Australia, but unlike the US and Canada

The Prime Minister of New Zealand is the head of government of New Zealand , and the leader of the Cabinet of New Zealand , with various powers and responsibilities defined by convention.

The gun lobby is "small but very strong," in New Zealand, according to Alpers. He told CNN: "They are very vocal and have managed to foil every attempt to tighten the gun laws since 1992. It's a powerful little lobby group, whereas the gun lobby in Australia had its back broken by the Port Arthur massacre.

"In New Zealand the gun lobby has gone from strength to strength and has dominated policy advice to the police and government."

That said, Alpers believes things will now have to change. He told CNN: "It's always a terrible surprise when this sort of thing happens. You can never predict where it's going to happen. The most common comment you get from people when this sort of thing happens is that they never thought it could happen here and that's how the people of Christchurch must be feeling."

Despite the relatively lax controls, "guns are rarely used in the way they are in the US so to New Zealanders this will be a tremendous shock," said Alpers. He added: "It has shocked the country to the core and I can't imagine any country less likely to let this slide."

New Zealand police support carrying guns

New Zealand police officers are not routinely armed, but recent figures suggest more officers are in favor of carrying guns.

A 2017 survey from the New Zealand Police Association showed that that 66% of its members support arming officers, according to TVNZ.

That figure has significantly increased from a decade ago, when 48% of officers supported general arming in 2008.

New Zealand also has a low murder rate, with a total of 35 homicides in 2017 -- fewer than the number of people who died in Friday's double mosque attack.

Iain Overton, author of "Gun Baby Gun" and executive director of London-based charity Action on Armed Violence, told CNN: "The gun laws of New Zealand are not that contentious and fit into broad line with many other nations, with one exception -- the reported permission to use, albeit with a special permit, pistols, semi-automatic weapons and machine guns.

"Many European nations outlaw semi-automatic weapons full stop, and the UK -- for example -- bans handguns, except under exceptional and rare circumstances. The possible, more concerning issue is the ubiquity of firearm ownership in New Zealand -- with as many as 1.5 million guns there.

"People may cite that as many as one in three New Zealanders will be gun owners based on this, but this would be wrong. Gun owners often have multiple weapons, so it is likely that it is a smaller group of rural gun owners holding the most guns there. The presence of so many guns, though, in a small nation raises challenges when it comes to over-burdening a police force with regulation."

Jacinda Ardern image projected onto Dubai's Burj Khalifa, world's tallest building.
Through her stoic resolve and empathy for the victims, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern became the reluctant face of the terror attack that left 50 Muslim worshipers dead in Christchurch earlier this month. The response earned Ardern plaudits around the world -- and has now prompted a towering tribute to the leader. Ardern's face was projected onto Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, on Friday. "Thank you PM @jacindaardern and New Zealand for your sincere empathy and support that has won the respect of 1.

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