Precedent set with Ardern’s activism


By Ali Qazi

Leaders around the world need to step up in regards to gun laws and follow the example set by Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand. Arden has been recognized for her swift action regarding gun laws and for showing solidarity with the victims of the Christchurch shooting by wearing a hijab.

A terrorist opened fire March 15 on the Al Noor Mosque and at the Linwood Mosque in New Zealand, killing 50 people, according to The Guardian. When an attack of this magnitude occurs, leaders need to move forward with legislative action. Sometimes thoughts and prayers alone are not enough — they need to be followed with actions, not empty promises.

“Every semi-automatic weapon used in the terror attack on Friday will be banned,” Ardern said, according to a March 21 CNN article. “This legislation will be drafted and introduced in urgency.” She also said she hoped the law would be passed by April 11.

This is an example of the kind of laws that should be introduced in order for survivors and the public to feel safe. A proposal to ban weapons that were directly related to the shooting with urgency is a step in the right direction.

“People don’t protest for no reason; they are telling you what they want and how they want it, and you can start there — with listening and [figuring] out solutions,” senior psychology major Brittany White said. “People want to know what you are trying to do to prevent [senseless shootings] from happening again.”

When the Muslim community was grieving, Arden was right next to it, comforting those affected. Ardern showed up to the mosque wearing a hijab. Many other New Zealand women joined in, including police officers, security guards and television reporters.

Actions like these help survivors get back up on their feet and feel secure knowing the community is on their side.

There are many leaders who could learn from this measure alone by taking steps to help minimize damage and stop hateful rhetoric from being spread.

“On [March 15], our history [in New Zealand] changed forever,” Ardern said at a news conference March 15 in Wellington. “Now our laws [in New Zealand] will too. We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place.”

There have been countless shootings in the U.S. where AR-15 style guns were used, resulting in devastating losses. Parkland, Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, Texas Church, San Bernardino and Aurora, Colorado are a few instances in which this style of weapon was used in a mass shooting.

In Illinois, to purchase a firearm, a person most have a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification card and will be subject to a 72-hour waiting period from the seller, according to the NRA explore website.

Since 2002 through 2018, only seven states have reached the  agreement to ban the AR-15. After the shootings regarding the Ar-15, it seems clear some senators don’t care enough to prevent future damage.

“If you can trace back the roots of a certain [cause], which is being a specific weapon, then why not just get rid of it?” sophomore accounting major Sahar Baig said.

If leaders started to act in the interest of the people, the country would progress in regards to gun laws. Gun violence is an issue that affects all of us, and the prime minister of New Zealand took action to stop it. If lawmakers want change they should look to her as an example. Leaders need to lead their constituents to a better tomorrow, not hand out empty promises.