Lawmakers in New Zealand have approved another round of gun control measures, including the mandatory registration of firearms in the country, as authorities say they want to be able to track and trace every gun in the nation. The new gun control measures are part of the government’s response to the Christchurch massacre in 2019, which resulted in the ban and compensated confiscation of around 50,000 legally-owned firearms. Critics of the ban claim that only about one-third of the firearms banned by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern were actually turned in, however, and there are some big questions about compliance with the new laws as well.
The most significant change is the new firearms registry, which license holders will be required to update as they buy or sell guns.
Other changes include prohibiting high-risk firearms like short semi-automatic rifles, tighter rules for gun dealers, and reduced the length of the firearms license from 10 to 5 years for first-time license holders and those who had their license revoked or allowed it to expire.
“The new law is designed to stop firearms falling into the wrong hands. It spells out for the first time that owning a firearm is a privilege, limited to responsible licensed owners,” Minister of Police Stuart Nash said in a statement.
The legislation was an important step in making New Zealand a safer place, Nash said. “But it does not define us, what defines us is the actions we took to stop such a terror attack happening again.”
Nash says that these new laws are about stopping future terror attacks, but Ardern’s government is coming under increased scrutiny after multiple media outlets reported that the suspect in the Christchurch attack was able to legally purchase his firearms thanks to government mistakes.
Stuff has been told that, among other errors, police failed to interview a family member as required, instead relying on two men who met the terrorist through an internet chatroom.The error was overlooked when police granted him the firearms licence, allowing the Australian citizen to stockpile the semi-automatic guns later used to murder 51 people.More than a year on from the March 15 terror attack, police insiders say the error was the product of a long neglected police firearms system that did not have the resources to properly handle applications.“This was avoidable. If police had addressed some of the issues with administering firearms years ago, this could have been avoided,” a source said.