When tragedy strikes, we tend to wonder why. Why did this happen? What could we have done to prevent this? Who could have done something like this? Why these people? When will events like this one stop happening? How can we prevent this from ever happening again? Worry, doubt and sadness take over our feelings and we question how it is possible that another human being could hurt people that way. This happened once again when news broke out about the mass shooting in New Zealand on March 15th. The world was grieving for the lives that were lost, and the New Zealand government decided something had to be done to prevent future tragedies.
Photo: Tobias Keller on Unsplash
Friday, March 15th, the people of Christchurch – a city on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island – attended their mosques believing it would be like any other day. Sadly, this was not the case. Two mosques were under attack when a gunman opened fire injuring many and taking the lives of 50 people. According to the media, the attack occurred because of an 87-page manifest the shooter had e-mailed the Prime Minister with an anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim tone.
After the tragedy, the people of New Zealand demanded something was done to avoid having to suffer like this again, to protect their neighborhoods. The Prime Minister, the government, listened to the demands and, six days after the tragic mass shooting, they banned assault rifles. According to Christ Cahill – president of the Police Association – this ban “addresses the key concerns we have” and “it’s exactly what we wanted.” This shows the authorities in New Zealand took the attack very seriously and decided to make the right changes to keep their people safe.
What does this ban mean? What kind of weapons will be prohibited? How will this work? When will the ban begin?
Those are the kind of questions people – and particularly gun owners – started asking themselves after the news. This ban represents an enormous change that will not happen overnight and will take some adjustment. However, Jacinda Ardern – the Prime Minister – was very clear about the weapons that will be banned come April 11th: military-style semi-automatic rifles, assault rifles, all high-capacity magazines, all parts with the ability to convert semi-automatic or any firearm into military-style semi-automatic rifles, and parts that allow firearms to create semi-automatic, automatic or close to automatic gunfire. This means regulation regarding firearms and ammunition plus the buyback of any banned weapons which are already in circulation.
When announcing the Ban, the Prime Minister remarked that her actions were “about all of us, it’s in the national interest and it’s about safety.” Her words have truly echoed around the world. As citizens of any country, we always expect – or hope – our leaders will do everything in their power to protect us. This new law is proof that governments can make changes for the benefit of an entire nation. It is not just about taking guns away from their owners. It is about protecting their people and honoring the lives that were lost. It is just like Ardern said: “to prevent an act of terror from happening again in our country ever again.”
Sadly, we have gotten used to tragedies like this one happening around the world. We hear about our own people being killed over their religion, the way they look, where they come from, or who they love. Hatred combined with an easy access to weapons always ends up badly. That is why the love we put out into the world has to be stronger. Why every government should follow New Zealand’s lead. Why bans on assault rifles should be more common than tweets about thoughts and prayers.
Lara was born in Argentina on Christmas; raised there and in Mexico. She graduated university with a BA in Latin American Literature and then moved to America where she currently lives with her girlfriend and cat. She works at a daycare as an Infant Teacher and during her free time you’ll find her reading or watching several TV shows while drinking diet coke.