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New Zealand Shooting Live Updates: Talk of Gun Law Reform Begins as Victim Details Emerge

Category: Politics,War & Conflict

There is no dispute that acquiring a military-style semiautomatic weapon is relatively easy in New Zealand, where guns are plentiful. According to a 2017 small arms survey, there are more than 1.2 million firearms among the population of 4.6 million, or more than one gun for every three people.

Under New Zealand law, anyone 16 or older may seek a firearms license, and anyone 18 or older who has applied for a firearms license can seek a permit to possess a military-style semiautomatic weapon.

In the United States, the National Rifle Association, a leading advocate of gun-owner rights, had no official statement on the massacre as of Saturday morning. At times over the years, the N.R.A. has held up New Zealand’s relatively high rate of gun ownership and low crime as proof that gun laws are misguided, but New Zealand’s laws are already more strict than the United States, which also has a higher rate of gun ownership.

The N.R.A. has tracked efforts in recent years to further tighten gun laws in New Zealand.

Cam Edwards, a host on NRATV, the organization’s online streaming service, placed the blame on social media after the Christchurch massacre.

“What’s really changed in our world over the last 20 years isn’t the design of firearms,” he said in a lengthy Twitter thread. “It’s the revolutionary way we have of communicating with strangers, creating online tribes and subcultures that simply didn’t exist in large numbers a generation ago.”

Abdul Aziz, 48, was in the Linwood mosque praying with his four sons when he heard gunshots. He immediately knew something was wrong.

Rather than running from the sound, he ran toward it and grabbed the first thing he could find — a credit card machine — and flung it at the attacker. He tried to distract the attacker in a move that many fellow worshipers have described as heroic, weaving through cars in the parking lot, attempting to draw the gunman’s attention away from the mosque.

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