April 2019Opinion2019

The Concern for Gun Reform Amidst the Christchurch Shooting

Tien Phan

Staff Writer

Nearly a month has passed since the tragic event of the Christchurch shooting in New Zealand, where 50 worshipers either lost their lives or must now live with this horrific story ingrained in their minds, according to NBC News. The event is unprecedented in its nature as it is currently taking New Zealand in a different trajectory in terms of public security. These measures need to be taken seriously and thoughtfully before anything is implemented for the sake of freedom and privacy of its individuals.

Such tragedy has not been a new phenomenon in recent years as people see news of mass shootings happening worldwide in the name of religious disputes. However, no one would have thought it could happen in New Zealand, as this country has a history of positive connotation.

The New York Times notes that the changing nature of normal conversation to online threads is a subtly dangerous occurrence in terms of being a potential reason for such atrocious actions, especially when such conversations happen with people who have radical ideologies in their minds toward another ideology. In this case, people with fundamental hatred toward other groups get fueled more by going online and being encouraged by those who hold similar feelings. It is likened to an “adrenaline” dose that allows such people to commit crimes like these.

Another explanation, which also involves the use of online presence, is the social media phenomenon where the perpetrator’s existence is seen throughout media outlets reporting the atrocity. CNN reports the Christchurch shooting was live-streamed at the time it occurred. It subsequently became a publicity stunt for the gunman, which, in a way, elevates his status in the online world. As the internet grows exponentially each day, the audience also increases with this growth, hence the sensationalization of the event.

Measures have been taken to further investigate the nature of what exactly occurred. According to News Now, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that Supreme Court Justice Sir William Young will have the opportunity to further examine what went wrong by using an order of inquiry to justifiably ensure that circumstances as such will not happen again in New Zealand.

Specifically, the commission and Justice Young will be able to touch base with Muslims in New Zealand for further understanding of the community. If they do not understand the relevancy of the culture itself, it will be hard to reconnect with the community, especially with the recent attack which can be seen as hatred toward foreigners. Other measures range from trying to more strongly regulate guns, as well as background checks.

In less than a month, a new law was passed, banning military style semi-automatic weapons, according to the Spinoff. This is definitely a good sign moving forward as the new law is expected to create a safer environment. However, the concern will be about how far this ban will go.

On the other hand, people who are currently buying and selling arms are facing scrutiny from the public due to the event. Would it be fair to those people who are just trying to make a living to ban them from their business? Understanding the real enemy is crucial, because if misunderstanding gets out of hand, divisiveness is inevitable, which will create more conflicts than intended.

Examining one scenario, in case there is another shooting despite the fact that the law is already present, Will the government push further until no one will be allowed to have arms for self-defense purposes? Will the police have the authority to publicly and legally search someone’s possessions if they are suspected to be carrying a firearm? Those are instances where New Zealand government has to be extremely careful about moving forward if they want to strengthen the unity instead of the divisiveness.

At least, the call for humanity in these circumstances will never be irrelevant. The Spinoff reports on their conversation with Prime Minister Ardern, saying that “I think it’s just the nature of an event like this. There is very little time to sit and think in those terms. You just do what feels right.”

Felipe Bueno

FELIPE BUENO is a senior at Seton Hall University double majoring in Diplomacy and International Relations and Economics, with a minor in French. He currently works as an Intern at Business Insider editorial. Previously, Felipe worked as an intern at the Modern War Institute at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

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