After Mosque Massacre, New Zealand Has Its Gun-Debate Moment – The New York Times

“First of all, this is insanity,” said Mike Loder, a contributor to Kiwi Gun Blog. “We know why he did it. He did it in revenge for a Muslim killing people with a truck. It wasn’t about guns.” Mr. Loder was referring to the shooter’s own widely reported account of his radicalization.

But compared with those in the United States, conversations about guns tend to be calmer and less ideological in New Zealand. Many New Zealanders seem eager to find some middle ground, with the latest round of arguments over the country’s gun laws inevitably being shaped by countervailing forces.

On the one hand, with its current gun laws, New Zealand had one of the lowest murder rates in the world, as of a week ago. But the horrific bloodshed at the two mosques has clearly shaken what had been the country’s prevailing sense of safety.

“We’ve lived in a utopia, but the world’s caught up with us,” said Chris Cahill, head of the Police Association, a union of police officers. “Our innocence is gone.”

A shift may already be rippling through the country.

On Sunday morning, Raymond Healey, 49, a member of the Christchurch Pistol Club, arrived at a local shooting range, hoping to get some time firing at targets. He was greeted with a white sign, painted in red capital letters: “range closed.”


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