Home Politics Christchurch shooting: New Zealand bans military-style firearms

Christchurch shooting: New Zealand bans military-style firearms

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New Zealand will ban all types of semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles following the Christchurch attacks, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said.

The announcement comes less than a week after 50 people were killed at two mosques, allegedly by a lone gunman.

Ms Ardern said she expected new legislation to be in place by 11 April, saying: “Our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too.”

All of the dead have now been formally identified, police have confirmed.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, a self-proclaimed white supremacist, has been charged with one murder and was expected to face further charges.

However, police said on Thursday that the person he was formally accused of killing had been wrongly declared dead.

They said they had apologised to the woman and her family, and that the charge sheet would be updated when the suspect appeared in court on 5 April.

An amnesty has been imposed so the owners of affected weapons can hand them in, and a buy-back scheme will follow.

Ms Ardern said the buy-back could cost up to NZ$200m ($138m; £104m), but “that is the price that we must pay to ensure the safety of our communities”.

The prime minister has called the Christchurch attacker a terrorist and said she will not utter his name.

The lone gunman, armed with semi-automatic rifles including an AR-15, is believed to have modified his weapons with high-capacity magazines – the part of the gun which stores ammunition – so they could hold more bullets.

Ms Ardern said measures had also been introduced to prevent gun stockpiling before the law changes.

As of Thursday, several weapons have been reclassified as military style semi-automatic firearms, making them harder to buy.

“For many people, you will now be in unlawful possession of your firearm,” Police Commissioner Mike Bush said.

He urged affected gun owners to call police or access their website for instructions, and to avoid turning up at police stations with their weapons.

BBC

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