On Wednesday, New Zealand members of parliament voted 119 to 1 in favor of banning military-style semi-automatic weapons.
The vote came a few weeks after an armed gunman shot and killed 50 Muslims worshiping at two separate mosques.
After countless mass murders in the U.S. as a result of gun violence, Americans wonder when it will be enough. Many continue to fight for stricter gun legislation.
It took less than a month for New Zealand to almost unanimously agree in favor of changing their gun laws after the Christchurch attacks on March 15.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told lawmakers they were giving a voice to the 50 victims killed at the hands of a white supremacist gunman.
She refuses to acknowledge the person by name.
"None of them had just one gun shot wound... in every case they spoke of multiple debilitating injuries" New Zeala… https://t.co/nsWqqcVjM4— BBC News (World) (@BBC News (World))1554917130.0
A visibly emotional Ardern told parliament on Wednesday:
"These weapons were designed to kill, and they were designed to maim and that is what they did on the 15th of March."
"We are ultimately here because 50 people died, and they do not have a voice. We in this house are their voice, and today, we have used that voice wisely."
@BBCWorld Why can't we have this lady to fight every gun law in EVERY country of the world?!— Luke (@Luke)1554920964.0
@nytimesworld it's been a long time since I have been this proud of our country.— paul le comte (@paul le comte)1554899098.0
The new changes to the 1983 gun reform will ban military-style semi-automatic weapons and parts that can be used to assemble firearms, according to BBC News.
It is believed the Christchurch gunman used high-capacity magazines in order for his AR-15 to accommodate more bullets.
Those in violation of the new laws will face between two to ten years in jail.
Thoughts and prayers, while appreciated, can only get us so far in the wake of multiple tragedies in the U.S.
@nytimesworld @JohnJCampbell In New Zealand we decided not to try thought and prayers, our government decided to act!— Brotwn (@Brotwn)1554886123.0
@nytimesworld That's because the USA has the second amendment. That and we're not cowards that restrict rights beca… https://t.co/ylOIKkQTUf— JeepFu (@JeepFu)1554895366.0
All eyes are on the United States.
When is it going to be our turn for tighter gun reform?
@BBCWorld Great news. NZ has joined Australia and UK in banning these weapons. US never will, but I would like to… https://t.co/9RJasjHhZS— Miles Lunn (@Miles Lunn)1554917524.0
@BBCWorld Take notes, America.— Jacob T. Sherrington (@Jacob T. Sherrington)1554917836.0
@nytimesworld @HomeAndHoused This is what can happen when the gun lobby don’t own politicians....— Sarah Chambers (@Sarah Chambers)1554928275.0
@CNN Must be nice to live somewhere where swift change can happen.— Zakee Kinlaw (@Zakee Kinlaw)1554898879.0
New Zealand's gun reform bill is expected to become a law as early as Friday, as soon as the governor general grants royal assent, which is the method by which a monarch officially approves a piece of legislation.
New Zealand is part of the British commonwealth.
New Zealand Biker Groups Pledge To Stand Guard Outside Mosques For First Friday Prayers Since Christchurch Shooting
The world has been reeling since a white supremacist murdered 50 people in a terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, a week ago, and the response from local biker groups to the tragedy is making headlines.
Biker groups like The Mongrel Mob, King Cobra, and The Black Power have vowed to stand guard outside mosques as Muslims ready to take part in their first Friday prayer services since the shootings last week.
"We will support and assist our Muslim brothers and sisters for however long they need us," Waikato Mongrel Mob president Sonny Fatu said in his offer to shield the Jamia Masjid Mosque in Hamilton.
Fatu said the Mongrel Mob were contacted by representatives who said members of the Muslim community had expressed fears and reservations about taking part in Friday prayers:
"The question was posed whether we could be a part of the safety net for them to allow them to pray in peace without fear. Of course we would do that, there was no question about that and we will be dressed appropriately. We will not be armed. We are peacefully securing the inner gated perimeter, with other community members, to allow them to feel at ease."
Black Power member Dennis O'Reilly says other groups are happy to support their Muslim neighbors in their time of need:
"We're particularly keen that where people have been divided they be able to come together. Also, no-one likes to see women and children shot and maimed, especially in the context of prayer, so all of those things start to come together, people feel empathy, and a desire to protect and support."
The groups have been repeatedly linked to organized crime over the years, but Waikato Muslim Association president Dr. Asad Mohsin believes that focusing on that at the present time would do little other than devalue their service:
"It all gives us strength to overcome the grief we are undergoing. We would welcome them to come into the mosque and pray with us. They are part of us as we are part of them. Islam is inclusive, free of judgement — we don't see gang members, as we see them. We value them as humans and we appreciate that they value us too."
The bikers' actions have received praise from around the world.
A biker group made headlines the weekend immediately after the shooting after its members performed the haka, a ceremonial dance in Māori culture, to honor the deceased.
Members of the Mangu Kaha Aotearoa biker gang payed tribute to the victims of the Christchurch mosque terror attack… https://t.co/W6Hr4OPgyp— On Demand News (@On Demand News)1552906904.0
That's what love and tolerance look like.
A 28-year-old shooter took the lives of 50 people and injured 50 more at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The violent assault was a hate crime directed at New Zealand's Muslim community.
Tributes have poured in from all over the world.
On Sunday, a group of Māori bikers decided to pay tribute to the victims with a traditional Haka.
Members of Māori community perform #Haka in tribute to those murdered in #Christchurch. https://t.co/YjhqdWtSHx— Hassan Ghani (@Hassan Ghani)1552807584.0
The Māori are indigenous to New Zealand and make up the second largest ethnic group in the country. The Haka is a ceremony involving chants, movements and facial expressions that is performed at special events, including funerals.
New Zealand's cabinet will meet on Monday to discuss stricter gun control regulations. The United States should take note.
People were touched by the Māori tribute.
@hassan_ghani @rcp123456 This more than anything shows the beautiful nature of New Zealand, standing strong & resil… https://t.co/tdcSTqKe7p— Jessie's diets (@Jessie's diets)1552811893.0
@hassan_ghani @bairdjulia Love and respect from the bikers of NZ. The Haka is so powerful it speaks to us all.— Jill Walker (@Jill Walker)1552826141.0
@hassan_ghani Thank you for including his opening remarks. This is so powerful! I can't stop crying!— MajimeKoala (@MajimeKoala)1552839299.0
@hassan_ghani Watching this touched me in such a profound way. The beauty of this tribute has brought me to tears.… https://t.co/MNVL53iihz— Heidi Katherine (@Heidi Katherine)1552835246.0
Many sent their love and respect to the Māori.
@hassan_ghani Honour and Respect.— Skoti Adams (@Skoti Adams)1552867297.0
@hassan_ghani This is beautiful! ❤️ I have so much love and respect for them.— Adela Setara (@Adela Setara)1552837368.0
@hassan_ghani Respect to the beautiful Maori people I can call family! ❣️❣️❣️— Melanie PurvisFoleti (@Melanie PurvisFoleti)1552873480.0
Our hearts are with New Zealand.