New Zealand To Ban All Military-Style And Assault Rifles Following Christchurch Mosque Shooting

Following the mass shooting at two Christchurch mosques, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Thursday a ban on all military-style semi-automatic weapons, assault rifles, and high-capacity magazines. “On 15 March our history changed forever. Now our laws 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,” Ardern said at a press conference in Wellington, New Zealand.

“Every semi-automatic weapon used in the terror attack on Friday will be banned,” she said. “This legislation will be drafted and introduced in urgency,” she said with a hope that the law will be implemented by April 11. In the first week of April, the parliament will be introduced with the gun reform proposal and the proposal will come into effect once the lawmakers vote on amending the existing legislation, the Arms Act 1983.

Also, all the 50 bodies from the shooting have been identified according to the New Zealand police. “This means that all victims are now able to be released to their families,” Police Commissioner Mike Bush said in a statement. A “nationwide reflection” for the dead would be held on Friday, one week after the attack.

Bush said that police stations will be set up with gun drops so that citizens can safely hand in guns. “I can’t emphasize enough that in the current environment it is important you do not take your now-unlawful firearm anywhere without notifying police … It is absolutely vital that we manage the safe and organized transport of all firearms into police custody,” Bush said.

Fine of up to NZ $4,000 and three years in jail would be given to anyone in possession of a banned weapon once the amnesty period ends. 72 hours after the Christchurch attack, the country’s cabinet agreed to overhaul the law and ban military-style semi-automatics and assault rifles.


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