New Zealand makes sweeping changes to country’s gun laws
Wednesday - 20/03/2019 23:40
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced sweeping changes to the country’s gun laws in the wake of Friday’s attack.
New Zealanders owning newly banned guns will have to surrender them to police in a buyback scheme similar to the one Australia introduced after the Port Arthur massacre.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced sweeping changes to New Zealand’s gun laws this afternoon.
All military-style weapons, all semi-automatic weapons and all devices that allow a firearm to generate semi-automatic, automatic or close to automatic gunfire will be banned effective immediately.
Ms Ardern said the buyback could cost the New Zealand government $200 million. She said changes to gun laws in New Zealand in 1983 and again in 1999, 2005 and 2012 “did not go far enough”.
“What we are banning today are the things that were used in last Friday’s attack,” Ms Ardern said.
“We must make (changes) to prevent an act of terror happening in our country ever again.”
The Prime Minister said she would look to Australia for guidance, while outlining new details about the weapons used by the man responsible for Friday’s attack.
“The attacker on March 15 took a significant number of lives using primarily two weapons,” she said.
“They were assault rifles and they were purchased legally on an A category gun licence — the standard licence held by gun owners in New Zealand.
“The capacity of these assault rifles was then enhanced using 30-plus round magazines, essentially turning them into military-style semi-automatic weapons.
“While the modification of these guns was illegal, it was done easily through a simple online purchase.”
Ms Ardern said her government would be “taking out of circulation both the guns that can be modified in that way easily, and that are designed to essentially take lives”.
The legislation to make way for the changes is in the draft stage, Ms Ardern said, and would be introduced under urgency.
She said she strongly believed there would be a common view amongst New Zealanders — including “those who use guns for legitimate purposes and those who have never touched one” — that the time for mass availablility of semi-automatic and military-style weapons must end.
The response to the sweeping changes on social media was immediate and almost entirely positive.