NEWS: 11,000 Sign Petition Opposing Proposed Gun Laws in New Zealand
More than 11,000 people have signed a petition against proposed tougher gun laws in the wake of the Christchurch mosque massacres, criticizing the changes as “unjust to law-abiding New Zealand citizens.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the ban on military-style semi-automatic weapons, assault rifles and high-capacity magazines only days after the mass shootings at two mosques claimed 50 lives on March 15.
New legislation will be introduced in Parliament next week, and Ardern has said it will be passed as a matter of urgency, skipping the normal public consultation process. But the petition — which was launched on Monday and has gained over 11,100 signatures at the time of writing — criticizes the proposal and calls for an in-depth consultation period.
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“We believe that recent changes to New Zealand firearms regulation is ill-advised, partly due to the speed at which they have been implemented and also due to (understandable) emotionally driven public pressure,” the petition states.
Users do not have to verify their New Zealand citizenship or identity to sign the petition.
Gun City, which describes itself as the nation’s largest firearms dealer, is promoting the petition on its website, and demanding that firearms license holders are treated fairly and reasonably. The company’s managing director David Tipple said the Christchurch gunman had bought four weapons from Gun City.
Speaking in the wake of the massacre Tipple said New Zealand was a “country of laws” and “not a country of emotional responses.”
An estimated 1.2 million guns are in circulation in the country — around one for every four people. Many are used by farmers or recreational hunters.
Blair Jones, based in the New Zealand city of Nelson, told CNN that he enjoyed harvesting organic and free range meat, but the ability to do that was being taken away.
“We are law-abiding citizens who have jumped through all their hurdles and abide by all their laws, but we are being labeled as untrustworthy criminals,” he said. “None of us pulled the trigger, but we are the ones being punished.”
“It feels like the whole country is turning on us … We are supposed to be in a democracy.”
Ardern has drawn praise for acting swiftly to tighten the country’s gun laws which are lax compared to many other Western countries. Last week, almost 70,000 people signed a separate petition calling for gun control reform.
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