New Zealand Bans Military-Style Rifles Used in Attack

[Content Note: Gun violence.]

Just six days after a mass shooting at two mosques in which 50 people were killed and 40 people were injured, New Zealand has banned the military-style semiautomatic weapons and assault rifles of the sort used in the attack.

Anna Fifield at the Washington Post reports:
A buyback program will be launched to take existing weapons out of circulation, and gun owners who do not comply will be subject to fines, [Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Thursday].

"On 15 March, our history changed forever. Now, our laws will, too," Ardern said. "We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place."

...Ardern has said there is no reason for New Zealanders to own these kinds of weapons, and there is broad consensus on that argument.

The center-right opposition National Party supported the ban. Its leader, Simon Bridges, said it was "imperative in the national interest to keep New Zealanders safe."

The changes mean that the weapons will now be removed from circulation.
Even before today's announcement, I saw reports that owners were voluntarily handing in their weapons.

This is such a fundamental and heartbreaking difference from the United States, where owners of such weaponry are more likely to be marching through towns with their rifles on display, making a statement about their Second Amendment rights, than they are to be offering to get rid of their weapons for the safety of the nation.

Gun laws aside, we all, from the U.S. to New Zealand and everywhere in between, need to embrace effective strategies to challenge and dismantle the white supremacy and toxic masculinity underwriting these vile acts of public violence.

Getting rid of the guns is crucial. Getting rid of resentful men's urge to pick up weapons and slaughter other humans is even more urgent. And far more difficult.

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