Before Thursday the last mass shooting in New Zealand took place decades ago, in 1997. In response to the horrific terror attacks overnight that left 49 people slaughtered and 48 or more hospitalized, the Prime Minister of New Zealand wasted no time promising action.
“I can tell you one thing right now. Our gun laws will change,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, 38, told reporters Friday afternoon (U.S. Eastern time), as the New Zealand website The Spinoff reported.
“I want to speak specifically about the firearms used in this terrorist act,” she said, clearly labeling it terrorism, which President Trump now three times has refused to do. The suspects are believed to be white nationalists and white supremacists, the victims were slaughtered while praying in mosques.
“I’m advised that there were five guns used by the primary perpetrator. There were two semi-automatic weapons, and two shotguns. The offender was in possession of a gun licence,” she noted.
“There have been attempts to change our laws in 2005, 2012 and after an inquiry in 2017. Now is the time for change.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern: “I can tell you one thing right now: Our gun laws will change.”pic.twitter.com/LtpiWOgxOo
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) March 15, 2019
The Atlantic notes Thursday’s terror attack was “the deadliest shooting in the modern history of New Zealand, a country where gun violence is rare and annual gun homicides don’t usually reach the double digits.”
In 1997, six people were murdered in a mass shooting by a man with a history of deep mental illness. In 1990 a gunman shot and killed 13 people.
“After that shooting, the country amended its laws to limit firearm access. Since then, New Zealand has experienced approximately four incidents of gun violence in which more than five people were killed.”
Instead of saying, “now is not the time to talk about gun violence,” the Prime Minister announced, less than 24 hours after the attack, “I can tell you one thing right now. Our gun laws will change.”