New Zealand Bans All Assault Weapons Immediately, Says PM

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to media during a press conference at Parliament n Wellington, New Zealand, on March 21, 2019. (Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Courtesy of The Epoch Times.

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand—Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on March 21 an immediate ban on semi-automatic and automatic weapons like the ones used in the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch that killed 50 people.

The man charged in the attack had purchased his weapons legally using a standard firearms license and enhanced their capacity by using 30-round magazines “done easily through a simple online purchase,” she said.

“Every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned,” she said.

Ardern’s announcement comes less than a week after the killings, as more of the dead were being buried. At least six funerals took place on March 21.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to journalists during a press conference at the Justice Precinct in Christchurch on March 20, 2019. (Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images)

Ardern said she expects the new laws to be in place by April 11 and a buy-back scheme will be established for banned weapons.

The buyback would cost up to NZ$200 million ($138 million), she said.

All military style semi-automatics (MSSA) and assault rifles would be banned, along with parts used to convert weapons into MSSAs and all high-capacity magazines.

Under existing New Zealand gun laws, A-category weapons can be semi-automatic but limited to seven shots. The live-streamed video of the gunman in one of the mosques showed a semi-automatic weapon with a large magazine.

Firearms are displayed at Gun City gunshop in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 19, 2019. (Jorge Silva/Reuters)

Since the mass shooting on March 15, 37 firearms have been voluntarily surrendered out of an estimated 1.2 million civilian-registered guns—1 for every 4 people—in the usually peaceful country, BuzzFeed News reported. According to New Zealand’s Newsroom, it is estimated that 15,000 guns are semi-automatic weapons.

Over the years, New Zealand’s Police Association has been calling for a register of firearms for the country’s 250,000 registered firearms licence holders. But there has been consistent pushback from those who own firearms who say that their rights as responsible gun owners are being eroded by a criminal minority, according to Newsroom.

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” the community has been saying.

New Zealand has relatively high levels of firearm ownership for recreational, sporting, and employment purposes, the left-leaning Labor party’s Police Minister Stuart Nash said during a briefing in 2017 when he identified firearms laws as a priority issue for the government.

Since the mass shooting on March 15, 37 firearms have been voluntarily surrendered out of an estimated 1.2 million civilian-registered guns—1 for every 4 people—in the usually peaceful country, BuzzFeed News reported. According to New Zealand’s Newsroom, it is estimated that 15,000 guns are semi-automatic weapons.

Over the years, New Zealand’s Police Association has been calling for a register of firearms for the country’s 250,000 registered firearms licence holders but there has been consistent pushback from those who own firearms who say that their rights as responsible gun owners are being eroded by a criminal minority, according to Newsroom.

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” the community has been saying.

New Zealand has relatively high levels of firearm ownership for recreational, sporting, and employment purposes, the left-leaning Labor party’s Police Minister Stuart Nash said during a briefing in 2017 when he identified firearms laws as a priority issue for the country.

Christchurch Gun Shop Sold Rifles Online to Accused Shooter

The owner of Christchurch’s “Gun City” store said it sold four guns and ammunition to the alleged mosque shooter through a “police-verified online mail order process.”

David Tipple said in a statement that he has provided police with the purchase records and full details of the sales, which did not include military style semi-automatic weapons.

Tipple said he and staff are “dismayed and disgusted” by Friday’s shootings.

Referring to the man arrested after the shootings at two mosques, Tipple said, “We detected nothing extraordinary about this (gun) license holder.”

Flowers and signs laid at a memorial for victims of the Christchurch mosque attacks outside Masjid Al Noor in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 17, 2019. (Jorge Silva/Reuters)

Police: Gunman Acted Alone, May Have Had Support

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the gunman who killed 50 people and wounded others at two Christchurch mosques acted alone but may have had support.

Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, was arrested moments after the shootings on Friday. He was charged with a single count of murder and a judge said March 16 that he may face other charges.

Bush said at a news conference on March 18, that “We believe absolutely there was only one attacker responsible for this.”

But he added that the support of other people hasn’t been ruled out and is “a very, very important part of our investigation.”

Brenton Tarrant, charged for murder in relation to the mosque attacks, is lead into the dock for his appearance in the Christchurch District Court, New Zealand, on March 16, 2019. (Mark Mitchell/New Zealand Herald/Pool via Reuters)

Funerals for Victims

An imam said he’s expecting thousands of people at an emotional Friday prayer service a week after the attack.

Six more funerals were being held on March 21 for the 50 people killed last Friday, March 16.

Mourners carry the body of a victim of the Friday March 15 mosque shootings for a burial at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Iman Gamal Fouda says he’s been discussing plans for the prayer service with city officials and lawmakers and expects it will take place in a park across from Al Noor mosque, where at least 42 were killed.

Fouda expects 3,000 to 4,000 people, including many from abroad. He said members of the Linwood mosque, where the gunman killed seven people, also would attend the joint prayer.

The first funerals for some of the 50 victims of last week’s shootings at two mosques in New Zealand have begun. Christchurch authorities spent four days constructing a special grave at a city cemetery that is designated for the Muslim burials.

He says mosque workers have been working to repair the destruction from the attack. They will bury the blood-soaked carpet.

Reuters and The Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.