‘Restrictive’ Gun Control Did Not Prevent Christchurch Massacre

Gun Rights

Police Guard Auckland Mosques Following Christchurch Attacks New Zealand requires licensing and in-depth background checks for would-be gun owners, but neither gun control policy prevented Friday’s attacks in Christchurch that killed nearly 50 people. The University of Sydney’s GunPolicy.org describes New Zealand’s gun control as “restrictive,” because owning guns in that nation is not a guaranteed right but a privilege extended by the government. Moreover, before legally owning a gun, residents must acquire a license. The acquisition of that license involves passage of a background check that “considers criminal, mental health, medical, addiction and domestic violence records.” Third party references must also be provided to authorities during the license procurement process and interviews are conducted with the applicant’s immediate family. Even after licensing, New Zealanders cannot buy a handgun or “military style” semiautomatic without providing an acceptable explanation for why they want such a firearm. Additionally, those firearms must be registered with the central government upon acquisition. It is illegal to sell a gun to anyone without a license, which means the background checks for license acquisition are universal; they cover all gun sales and transfers. And in the event that an individual is buying a gun from a friend or neighbor instead of retail, “the buyer… is obliged to pass official background checks before taking possession.” Also, “the number and type of firearms which can be sold by a licensed gun dealer to a single gun owner is limited to one pistol, military style semi-automatic firearm, or restricted […]

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