After the Christchurch massacre, New Zealand bans semi-automatic rifles

Apr 04, 2019

ATTEMPTS TO STRENGTHEN New Zealand’s gun-control laws have failed in parliament four times over the past 20 years. That was before a white supremacist laid siege to two mosques in the city of Christchurch on March 15th, killing 50 people. This week a bill to ban the kind of high-powered semi-automatic weapons that he used was introduced; every MP but one supports it. It should sail into law in days.

New Zealand has one of the world’s highest rates of gun ownership, with 26 guns per 100 people. That puts it 20th out of the 230 countries and territories ranked by the Small Arms Survey, a research institute. Despite this, it ranks only 172nd out of 195 countries in terms of deaths per person from firearms, according to data from the University of Washington (see chart). Total killings with guns are typically in the single digits each year, out of a population of 4.8m.

The already low rate of killings with guns is one reason why it will be hard to discern the new...

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