Firearms Involvement and Gun Control in New Zealand

Firearms Involvement and Gun Control in New Zealand

MARCH 2019

On Friday March 15, 2019, one gunman armed with a semi-automatic weapon entered two Christchurch mosques – the Al Noor mosque, and a mosque in nearby Linwood – and opened fire on people gathered for afternoon prayers. Fifty people were killed, 42 at the Al Noor mosque, and seven in Linwood. One person later died in hospital. A 28-year-old Australian man has been charged with
murder.

This terrorist attack has sparked renewed debate surrounding gun control in New Zealand. The attacker used five weapons, including two semi-automatic weapons (reinforced with high-capacity magazines), and two shotguns. He was in possession of a gun license, and therefore possessed these firearms legally. In the wake of the attack, the New Zealand government acted quickly to strengthen gun control laws. Prior to the Christchurch attack, New Zealand firearm legislation had remained largely unaltered since 1992.

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