At least six people have been killed and dozens wounded at a mass shooting at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, apparently during weekly Friday prayers. A second mosque was also reportedly attacked shortly thereafter.
A video posted online shows the gunman, who appears to be a white man in his thirties, driving into an alley near the first mosque and retrieving several rifles in succession from the trunk of his car, along with several extra clips of ammunition. Each of the rifles is scrawled with white writing.
In the footage, which Breitbart News will not post, the gunman approaches the door of the mosque and shoots the people standing there. He then enters the mosque and shoots people in the hallway and in the prayer area. As people duck for cover and try to escape, or huddle together for protection, he shoots them repeatedly. He then returns to his car, retrieves another rifle, and returns, shooting into the pile of bodies and then leaving. He also fires down the street; as he drives away, he is seen firing shots from the car, though the targets are unclear.
A Twitter profile under the name “Brenton Tarrant” posted a manifesto, as well as several close-up shots of what appear to be the rifles used in the attack, where the white writing is more legible. It appears to contain anti-migrant statements. The manifesto itself is an ideological hodgepodge, from socialism to white supremacy to environmentalism. He identifies himself as a fascist and talks about a racial war in the U.S.
New Zealand has restrictive gun laws, of the sort proposed by gun control advocates in the United States.
As one American who emigrated to New Zealand, and who favors gun control, wrote in a 2012 article:
Purchase or import of military style semi-automatics and all handguns must be individually approved by, and registered with, the New Zealand police.
Without a valid and current firearms license, you cannot legally purchase any firearm other than a pellet gun anywhere in New Zealand. There is probably a black market or some other means of acquiring a firearm illegally, but firearms recovered from drug busts or other organised criminal activities typically amount to hunting rifles or pump action shot guns. Handguns and military style semi-automatics are rare, difficult to obtain, and very expensive.
So how do Kiwis go about getting their hands on guns?
The process for obtaining a basic firearms license is long, complicated and expensive. In other words, designed to weed out a broad portion of the population that the law deems unsuitable to possess a firearm.
This story is developing.
Update: A second mosque shooting is now being reported in Christchurch, via the Associated Press: “New Zealand media say a shooting has occurred in a second mosque in the city of Christchurch.
“No details were immediately available.”
The first mosque has been identified as the Masjid Al Noor.
The number of wounded has risen to 50 and one man is reported to be in custody.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.