New Zealand bans Christchurch manifesto

New Zealand has announced a ban of the 74-page manifesto written by the Christchurch shooting suspect. The ban would mean anyone caught with the document in their possession could face up to 10 years in prison and anyone selling it could face up to 14 years in prison.

The issue has sparked a debate about free speech in New Zealand. At the same time, local media organizations have debated over whether or not to release the name of the Australian man charged in the shooting.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said after the shooting, “One thing I can assure you — you won’t hear me speak his name.”

The suspect allegedly attacked two mosques in Christchurch, killing 50 and injuring at least 50 more. The suspect also livestreamed the attacks on Facebook.

The original video was seen fewer than 200 times during the livestream and about 4,000 times before Facebook removed it. In response to the attack Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to shift Facebook’s focus away from a public newsfeed and toward more personal, encrypted communication.

New Zealand Governor General Patsy Reddy also signed an order that reclassifies specific semi-automatic weapons as “military-style.”

Arden announced last week in an executive regulation that the country will stop the sale, possession and licensing of semi-automatic weapons.

This has been followed by legislation to sign the ban into law and institute a buy-back program for any weapons already owned by New Zealand citizens.

The plan is similar to what Australia enacted in 1996 in response to a mass shooting in the country.

Those changes have been linked to fewer gun deaths in the years since. 

“The United States can look to New Zealand and see a willingness to prevent another tragedy by enacting swift gun reform” sophomore history major Kate Roach said.

The full gun reform proposal will be brought in front of the New Zealand Parliament for a vote during the first week of April.

By: Gillen Faenza | Staff Writer