The people of Christchurch, NZ, will forever see March 15 as a day of infamy. It was the day a mentally ill, white supremacist shooter executed a racially-charged attack on two mosques, killing 50 muslims. While the shooting was tragic, guns were not at fault. An apparent insufficiency of mental health awareness allowed the shooter to live without receiving treatment for his traumatic emotions.
The shooter wrote a deranged, egomaniacal manifesto explaining his motives for the mass murder.
The immediate response was to explore restrictions on firearms, especially since one in four New Zealand residents own a gun. According to the New York Times, New Zealand generally has stricter gun purchasing laws than the United States.
While it is still unclear how the shooter obtained the weapon he used, officials believe it is unlikely he purchased the weapon by legitimate means, as he would have failed the mandatory background check.
It is likely there were no such responsible gun owners at Christchurch, which probably contributed to the high death toll.
The anti-gun movement has largely focused their criticism toward the National Rifle Association, and has partially blamed the collector culture surrounding assault rifles for the New Zealand attack.
But according to the shooter’s manifesto, he was not in any way interested in collecting guns, or even guns at all.
Gun enthusiasts are generally responsible citizens who intend on safely using their firearms, hence their interest. They tend to be people who had parents introduce them to guns at a young age and teach them responsibility.
If we do not address the mental health crisis that is inciting terror attacks, we could create violence on the verge of war.