Many people are in a state of shock at the moment after one of the worst mass shootings occurred in Christchurch, New Zealand. The incident has only just occurred, but there are many questions about what will happen. Many people speculated about possible gun law reforms, just as what happened in 1996 in Australia after it had its own massive shooting spree at Port Arthur.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a press conference has boldly announced:
I can tell you one thing right now: our gun laws will change.
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She mentions at least twice that she believes that New Zealanders will welcome gun law reform given the shocking nature of the event and loss of life, and that the gunman was easily able to obtain a license and legally able to purchase the firearms.
But the mere fact, when people hear that this individual acquired a gun license, and acquired weapons of that range, then obviously I think people will be seeking change, and I'm committing to that.
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I've done reading on New Zealand gun laws, and the Category A firearm is one with a magazine capacity of 7 or fewer cartridges. Adding any of a number of prescribed modifications to the firearm, eg., fitting a larger magazine, a folding stock, flash suppressor etc., turns the firearm into a Category E firearm, also known as the military-style semi-automatic firearm, introduced in the 1992 legislation after the 1990 massacre.
I don't know if anyone has seen the footage of the shooting (as it was filmed by the murderer), but the gunman is clearly firing over 20 rounds before having to reload his AR-15 style rifles.
Here she emphasized that he held a Category A license and that with that license was able to legally acquire the guns he held:
My understanding is he held a Category A gun license, and again I preface this, that my advice currently is that he under that gun license was able to legally acquire the guns he held. That will give you an indication of why we need to change our gun laws.
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Now, this is where it subtle. Technically she says that with the Category A license the gunman was legally able to purchase the guns he held, that would be the semi-auto shotguns and the AR-15 style rifles, and that this is why gun law reform is needed. However the guns actually used in the shooting I'm pretty were Category E firearms, which would make them illegal firearms in his hands in any case. I find this to be quite misleading. Though I don't live in New Zealand and won't be affected by any changes, the results of any gun law change will likely be very significant, as it will most likely be a complete ban on semi-automatics, at least at Category A, which is what most New Zealanders have. Essentially it would be similar to doing what Australia did back in 1996, where most Australian recreational users own a Category A and B license, and being prohibited from owning a semi-automatic, which would fall under Category C.