NZ Passes Law Banning Most Semiautomatic Weapons
“Less than a month after 50 Muslim worshipers in the city of Christchurch were fatally shot in terrorist attacks on two mosques, New Zealand passed a law banning most semiautomatic weapons on Wednesday — a measure supported by all but one of Parliament’s 120 lawmakers.” Charlotte Graham-McLay reports for the New York Times.
“The passage of the bill means temporary restrictions imposed by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern six days after the massacre, to prevent New Zealanders from stockpiling guns before the law went into effect, will now be permanent. “
“New Zealand stands apart in its widespread availability of weapons of such destructive nature and force,” Ardern told Parliament on Wednesday. “Today that anomaly ends.”
“She said she could not have faced the surviving victims of the Christchurch attack ‘hand on heart’ and told them ‘our system and our laws allow these guns to be available and that is O.K. It is not’.”
“The law outlaws military-style semiautomatic weapons and assault rifles, and violators face five years in prison,” Graham-McLay reports.
“While sports shooters and farmers were among those who pleaded for exemptions to the restrictions, lawmakers allowed just two: for commercial pest-control businesses and for licensed collectors of guns, or those who want to keep particular guns as heirlooms or mementos. Collectors will be required to remove a part, making the weapons nonoperational, and store that part at a different location.”
“Ardern had dismissed concerns that Parliament was moving too fast.”
“My question here is simple: you either believe that in New Zealand these weapons have a place or you do not. And if you do not, you should be able to agree that we can move swiftly,” she said. “My view is that an argument about process is an argument to do nothing.”
“The government has also established a gun buyback plan, which will run for six months for legal owners of the weapons now banned.”
Article Source: New York Times, Charlotte Graham-McLay, April 10, 2019
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