New Zealand mosque massacre provokes gun reform

By Danielle Schwartz, News Editor

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White supremacist and gunman Brenton Tarrant streamed live footage on social media while he killed 50 people in New Zealand’s deadliest massacre March 15. Tarrant opened fire in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, using modified semi-automatic rifles.

Tarrant’s livestream on Facebook showed the killer driving to the Al Noor mosque, the first location, where he killed 42 people. While driving, Tarrant listened to a song that idolized Radovan Karadžić, a war criminal jailed for genocide against Bosnian Muslims. Shortly after, Tarrant killed seven more at the Linwood Islamic Centre before he was captured by police. Another victim died later at a hospital.

Tarrant also posted a manifesto online, listing neofascist aims such as the creation of an Islamophobic atmosphere. He indicated that one of his stated goals was to specifically stoke political reactions in the United States.

On March 21, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden announced a nationwide ban on all military-style semi-automatic weapons in a televised press conference.

“As a cabinet, we were absolutely unified and very clear,” Arden said. “It has exposed a range of weaknesses in New Zealand’s gun laws. The clear lesson from history around the world is that to make our community safe, the time to act is now.”