Christchurch mosque attacks: Mass shootings are rare in New Zealand

Editors

At least 49 people were killed in a terror attack on two mosques in New Zealand on Friday.

A man who claimed responsibility for the shootings left a manifesto, saying he was a 28-year-old Australian racist who had been planning the attack for two years. One man has been charged with murder.

Mass shooting events are rare in New Zealand. Friday's attack is the deadliest shooting in New Zealand since 1990, when David Gray killed 13 people before being shot and killed by police in the town of Aramoana, The Guardian reported.

In 2017, the New Zealand police reported a total of 35 murders in the country, most didn’t involve a gun. That year in the U.S. there were over 17,200 murders in the U.S. in 2017, according to the FBI. 

Guns are not uncommon in New Zealand though, as Swiss nonprofit Small Arms Survey reports 1.2 million registered firearms in the country in 2017.

Police cordon off the area in front of the Masjid al Noor mosque after a shooting incident in Christchurch on March 15, 2019. - Attacks on two Christchurch mosques left at least 49 dead on March 15, with one gunman -- identified as an Australian extremist -- apparently livestreaming the assault that triggered the lockdown of the New Zealand city.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Christchurch mosque attacks: Mass shootings are rare in New Zealand