21 Mar 2019

World reacts to military-style semi-automatic weapons ban in New Zealand

9:51 pm on 21 March 2019

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.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders and Dana Loesch

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders and Dana Loesch Photo: AFP

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.

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Photo: RNZ / Ana Tovey

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."

New York Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was all praise for the law change.

Remembering the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre where 20 children and six adults were killed, was Qasim Rashid, a US Senate candidate.

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."

Furthermore, Australian actress Magda Szubanski coined a new term following the ban announcement.

- with additional reporting from BBC

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