New Zealand Attacker Purchased All Firearms Legally

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Parts of this image have been pixelated at source to conceal the identity of the defendant due to court order.) The man charged in relation to the Christchurch massacre, Brenton Tarrant, gestures in the dock for his appearance for murder in the Christchurch District Court on March 16, …
Mark Mitchell-Pool/Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Christchurch shooting suspect Brenton Tarrant had a license to own guns and obtained the five guns used in the Mosque attacks via that license.

This means the Tarrant was not only licensed, but passed criminal, mental, and health-related background checks.

Business Standard reports that Tarrant allegedly used “two semi-automatic rifles, two shotguns and a lever-action weapon.” Ardern suggested Tarrant’s acquisition of five such firearms indicates more gun control is needed.

She said, “The mere fact… that this individual had acquired a gun licence and acquired weapons of that range, then obviously I think people will be seeking change, and I’m committing to that.”

Ardern added, “While work is being done as to the chain of events that led to both the holding of this gun licence, and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now our gun laws will change.”

Ardern noted that Tarrant was not on any watchlist, that he had not drawn the government’s attention via “extremism” of any sort. Therefore, as with so many high profile attackers in the U.S., there was nothing to prevent him from passing background checks to acquire a gun license.

Background checks cannot stop a determined attacker because these checks look backward; they search for past crimes and problems. If the would-be attacker has criminal or terror-based intentions but lacks any criminal or terror-based history, gun control will never stop him. However, gun control will render his victims less able to defend themselves.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at Sign up to get Down Range at


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