An increase in charges over gun crime in New Zealand – despite sweeping reforms introduced after the Christchurch mosque attacks in 2019 – has shown the need for further restrictions, the government and campaigners agree.
The deaths of 51 people at al-Noor mosque and Linwood Islamic centre two years ago led to a sweeping ban on a range of semi-automatic rifles and large ammunition magazines and a gun buy-back scheme, which removed about 60,000 guns from circulation.
But Radio New Zealand reported on Monday that the reform “has had no impact on a rise in gun crime and violence”, pointing to police statistics that show charges reached a new peak in 2020. Nearly 2,400 people were charged with 4,542 firearms-related offences, nearly double that of a decade earlier, while 1,862 firearms were seized under the Search and Surveillance Act, compared with 860 10 years ago.
Nicole McKee of the Act party, which strongly opposed the gun law reforms, told RNZ the legislation had been rushed through and “the unintended consequences … are starting to be realised”. [full article]