Love is stronger than hate.
Together we changed our gun laws forever. But this is just the beginning.
Just six days after the horrific terror attack on our Muslim whānau, New Zealand’s gun laws changed for good.
New Zealand bans military style semi-automatics and assault rifles
Military style semi-automatics and assault rifles will be banned in New Zealand under stronger new gun laws announced…
People power helped make that happen.
“Many of our brothers and sisters have been scared of more attacks happening but the sense of community of locals and government [action on gun law reform] has put many of us at ease.” — President of the Hawke’s Bay Islamic Centre Sayed Ahmed
Like many of us last Saturday, Wellingtonian Nik Green, Industrial Designer Brad Knewstubb and mum-of-three Hannah Clarke were looking for ways they could help make change in the wake of the attack.
They launched three separate petitions calling for a ban on semi-automatic weapons and stronger gun advertising regulation.
The ActionStation staff team leapt into action to help Nik, Hannah and Brad join forces and grow and deliver their petitions as quickly as possible.
In just five days, the petitioners gathered the support of 70,000 people.
1,500 of those signatures were collected by hand by volunteers at the Wellington vigil.
Those signatures were then manually entered by more volunteers.
At 11am on Thursday Nik, Hannah and Brad delivered their petitions to Labour’s Grant Robertson, National’s Chris Bishop, and Greens co-leader James Shaw.
At least 100 supporters of the petition gathered on Parliament lawn to support the delivery.
Journalists from every major news outlet came to cover the story.
Nik, Hannah and Brad spoke compassionately and courageously into a huddle of microphones, TV cameras and recording devices. You can see more photos from the delivery event here.
At 3pm that same day, the Prime Minister announced the government will ban:
- All military-style semi-automatic weapons;
- All assault rifles;
- All high capacity magazines;
- All parts able to convert any semi-automatic into military-style assault guns.
An amnesty will be put in place for weapons to be handed in, and Cabinet has directed officials to develop a weapon buyback scheme.
Further changes will be consulted on and that’s where we will need to take action once again.
Beyond the ban, we need tighter controls around what weapons people can own, a register for all guns, and stricter licensing.
But what we have now is a clear commitment to gun law reform from MPs across the political spectrum, and that should give us reason to hope.
It is immensely sad that it took 50 lives being taken for us to change our gun laws.
I don’t have the right words to reconcile that feeling of guilt that we didn’t already have these laws in place.
But I take some solace in knowing that our role as a community over the coming weeks and months will be to continue to show up for our Muslim whānau.
To continue to speak up and out for law and attitude change.
To continue to take political and community action so this never, ever, happens again.
As-salam alaikum (peace be with you),
Laura for the team at ActionStation.
References and further reading:
- Hawke’s Bay Muslim community praises Government’s immediate change in gun laws, NZ Herald, 21 March 2019
- Parliament welcomes petition to ban semi-automatic weapons and regulate firearms advertising, Stuff, 21 March 2019
- Christchurch terror attack: MPs accept petition calling for ban on semi-automatic weapons, Newshub, 21 March 2019
- Banning semi-automatic weapons: 65,000 sign petition, RNZ, 21 March 2019
- Support for Government’s gun ban in wake of Christchurch shooting, Stuff, 21 March 2019