New Zealand Changes Gun Laws After Terrorist Attack

Julia Johnson, Journalism Student

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On Friday, March 15, fifty people were killed. The deaths were caused by carefully planned out mass shootings carried out by an Australian terrorist.

Brenton Tarrant organized two mass murders in Christchurch, New Zealand. He murdered 41 worshipers at one mosque, Al Noor Mosque. At the next mosque the shooter targeted, only three miles away from the first, seven people were killed. Finally, the last victim died in the hospital after the attacks. It was estimated that at least 48 other worshipers were injured and being treated in hospitals. The shooter originally used a semi-automatic rifle that had been covered in white-nationalist slogans, along with catch phrases linked to Adolf Hitler. He had even added a strobe light onto his weapon, in hopes to make his victims disoriented. After firing several shots, he went to grab another weapon from his car. Here, he had two more firearms and other sorts of lethal weapons.   

The shooter spent less than 200 seconds in the mosque.

He was on his way to a third location to carry out another shooting. He was caught and stopped by authorities before doing so.

Within 24 hours of the mosque shootings, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stated that the New Zealand “gun laws will change”. Keeping to her word, she announced changes to increase the country’s gun laws less than a week later. This drastic changes, such as banning all semi automatic and assault rifles, are planned to go into full effect sometime in April.

This was the first terrorist attack of this kind in New Zealand and the worst mass shooting the country has had to face.

Not only the Muslim community, but the entire country of New Zealand have been affected by the mosque shootings.

A Pennridge High School student who practices Islam stated, “It’s devastating that this is what the world has come to, what my world has come to.” When asked about the shootings and her feelings on them, she said she felt upset and doesn’t understand why this happens.

Recently after the shootings, tens of thousands of New Zealand citizens began praying with the Muslim community. The country even took two minutes of silence to recognize and remember the heartbreaking event. Many women, including the Prime Minister, wore head scarves with Muslim women, in hopes to not only support them, but make them feel less afraid and alone for externally proclaiming their faith.

After prayers on Friday, the mosques were ready to open and handed back to the communities that Saturday.