Within six days of the Christchurch terror attacks where 50 people were shot to death, the New Zealand Prime Minister outlawed certain weapons. While some were all praise for the move, others saw bearing arms as a right.
Jacinda Ardern announced a ban on all military-style semi-automatic (MSSA) weapons and all assault rifles.
The changes to the regulations would mean the firearms were now categorised as needing an E-class licence endorsement.
This means no one will be able to buy the weapons without police approval. Ms Ardern said there was no point in applying for one.
She also said the government would be establishing a buyback scheme to take the firearms out of circulation.
After a reasonable period for returns, those who continue to possess these firearms will be in contravention of the law. Anyone in breach of the law would be liable to a $4000 fine or up to three years' imprisonment.
While the attacks made headlines around the globe, the prompt gun law change too turned heads the world over.
The move drew strong responses in the US, where campaigners against gun violence frequently clashed with the pro-gun lobby.
Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders called for America to follow New Zealand's lead, tweeting: "This is what real action to stop gun violence looks like."
This is what real action to stop gun violence looks like. We must follow New Zealand's lead, take on the NRA and ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons in the United States. https://t.co/lSAisDG9Ur— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 21, 2019
In one sweeping announcement, New Zealand Prime Minister @jacindaardern not only banned all assault rifles, but all high capacity clips, and all accessories that turn rifles into machine guns.— Shaun King (@shaunking) March 21, 2019
Of course she did. This is the sane, humane response to a massacre. pic.twitter.com/oxdCOyt0Ec
New York Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was all praise for the law change.
Sandy Hook happened 6 years ago and we can’t even get the Senate to hold a vote on universal background checks w/ #HR8.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 21, 2019
Christchurch happened, and within days New Zealand acted to get weapons of war out of the consumer market.
This is what leadership looks like ⬇️ https://t.co/TcdR63anBt
Remembering the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre where 20 children and six adults were killed, was Qasim Rashid, a US Senate candidate.
USA 6 yrs after Sandy Hook— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@MuslimIQ) March 21, 2019
•Thoughts & prayers
New Zealand 6 days after Christchurch
•Ban semi automatic assault weapons
•Pay for all funerals
•Provide income for harmed
•Wear solidarity scarf
•AND Thoughts & prayerspic.twitter.com/cdOXkr1BqI
Oscar-winning American actress Julianne Moore too weighed in.
In response, National Rifle Association (NRA) spokeswoman Dana Loesch cited the Second Amendment of the US constitution, which gives Americans the right to carry guns.
"The US isn't NZ," she tweeted. "While they do not have an inalienable right to bear arms and to self-defense we do."
First, define “assault weapon.” Words are important and certain laws come into play depending on which words are used, so define this.— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) March 21, 2019
Secondly, the US isn’t NZ. While they do not have an inalienable right to bear arms and to self defense, we do. https://t.co/E3M7Qh1fbV
BREAKING: The Prime Minister of New Zealand just banned all semi-automatic guns.— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) March 21, 2019
This shows us as Americans how important the Second Amendment is. #2A
Furthermore, Australian actress Magda Szubanski coined a new term following the ban announcement.
- with additional reporting from BBC