Reporting by Emily DiSalvo and Jeremy Troetti
Just days after the deadly attack on a New Zealand mosque, New Zealand leaders and some Quinnipiac students are already supportive of gun control policy reform.
“I was really impressed with how New Zealand’s government reacted really quickly in implementing gun control reform,” said Kassidy Berger, a freshman public relations major. “I wish we would see that change in our country, but it made me really sad because after Newtown we didn’t even see that, so I think it says a lot about our current political situation.”
Roughly 9,000 miles away from Hamden, a suspected white supremacist opened fire in two Christchurch mosques in New Zealand killing 50 people and injuring dozens more Friday, March 15. Hours later, New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Arden promised to tighten the nation’s gun laws, according to CNN.
Freshman political science major Jeremy Gustafson thinks she made a smart decision.
“Prime Minister Ardern is making the right decision enacting gun control laws,” Gustafson said. “The U.S. should have done similar gun control actions.”
In the U.S. alone, there have been 32 mass shootings involving a single gunman as of February 2018, according to Metro.us. The last mass shooting in New Zealand took place in 1997 and killed six people, according to the Atlantic.
Freshman occupational therapy major Ashley Amarante pointed out the disparity between New Zealand’s fast response to the mosque shooting and the United States’ non-response to the numerous shootings.
“It only took New Zealand 24 hours to change their gun laws,” Amarante said. “The U.S. hasn’t changed [ours] even though we have had many more massacres.”
The non-response that Amarante speaks of was illustrated by the Trump administration’s response to the 2017 Las Vegas shooting which killed 58 concertgoers. Unlike Arden, after the shooting, the Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it was too soon to discuss gun control measures.
“There is a time and place for political debate but now is a time to unite as a country,” Sanders said at an October 2017 press conference following the shooting.
Junior journalism major Mike Clement thinks waiting to enact gun control laws in America has weakened the country’s reputation as the ‘greatest nation.’
“It took just one horrific event in New Zealand for their legislators to come together to take a unified stance on gun control,” Clement said. “If the United States truly is the ‘greatest nation,’ then why have we chosen to remain silent on the issue while we wait for the next mass murder to happen?”
University President Judy Olian called on students to take action against any form of bias and bigotry in a statement sent out via email on the morning of Monday, March 18.
Olian also listed various on campus religious resources that students can utilize, and closed the statement with uplifting words for the student body.
“Let us not be discouraged,” she said. “Let’s all speak loudly and frequently against the hate and intolerance that propels such violence. And because we’re QU I know you will.”