We’re enabling extremists

50 innocent people are dead and dozens more injured because a lone self-proclaimed racist had access to assault weapons, several of which he acquired legally. If you see it any other way, you’re part of the problem. Every time a mass shooting occurs, I want to ask gun enthusiasts who don’t think guns are the problem a very simple question.

Would these murderers kill as many people in so short a time if they didn’t have those weapons? I have no doubt the answer would be a resounding “No”. If it were up to me, only security guards and Law Enforcement Officers would have access to guns.

I associate guns with violence, and to each their own but I think it’s ridiculous that some people collect guns or attend gun shows, fairs and auctions. It’s true that not every gun owner is some crazy extremist ready to shoot anything or anyone in sight. It’s also true that some people have a passion for hunting or sports that involve the use of guns.

However, I don’t think there’s anyone who does this on a daily basis to warrant possession of firearms in their home. Most people practice or learn to shoot at gun ranges. I believe they find the guns and ammunition they use on the ranges which is a good idea. Gun use should be restricted to certain times and places to reduce the risks involved and if a civilian must own a gun, then let it be on record and not just with whoever sells them the gun but the general public as well.

 We need to know the people stocking up on guns. If they’re okay with buying them, then they shouldn’t have a problem with the public knowing, right? That would also help authorities better track these weapons, say when the owner dies. Ever wondered what happens to those guns? We can’t fold our arms and expect gun violence to magically end. We have to take concrete steps to end the madness and we need to support efforts like New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s.

In the wake of last week’s attacks, she’s calling for a ban on military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines. Other countries where civilians are allowed to purchase similar weapons should do the same. We also need to draw a line between freedom of speech and extremism.

Anyone who calls for annihilation of any race, religion or gender should not just be denied a platform on traditional and social media but should be prosecuted as well and so should his or her followers because it’s in tolerating and sharing these radical ideologies that bigotry spreads. My other plea regarding this case is to spare the victims’ families and the rest of us a lengthy trial.

Brenton Tarrant is guilty of all the murders he committed. He knew exactly what he was doing when he travelled all the way from his native Australia to Christchurch, planned the attacks in detail and even took the time to wear a body cam so he could live-stream the shooting to his sick followers who in my opinion should also be held accountable for sitting back and “enjoying” the live broadcast instead of alerting the authorities. Tarrant can have his day in court but let it literally be just that. One day to receive his life sentence