New Zealand prime minister announces semi-automatic weapons ban after Christchurch attack

New Zealand prime minister announces semi-automatic weapons ban after Christchurch attack

New Zealand prime minister announces semi-automatic weapons ban after Christchurch attack

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that Friday's call to prayers for Muslims will be broadcast nationally and there will be a two minute silence.

Concerns have been raised about the availability of military-style semi-automatic rifles after the man charged over last week's attack used two of the weapons, legally bought with a licence, in the attack.

He said anyone found to still have a banned weapon after an initial amnesty period could be prosecuted.

Although the exact weapons used in the mosque attacks have not been announced, images posted by the gunman show at least one of them to be a semi-automatic rifle similar to an AR-15 that is widely available in New Zealand. "Now, our laws will, too", she added. "This legislation will be drafted and introduced in urgency".

The attack is the worst mass shooting in New Zealand's history.

One of New Zealand's largest gun retailers, Hunting & Fishing New Zealand, said it supports "any government measure to permanently ban such weapons".

Author Mike Tommasiello said: "Wow that's weird that New Zealand didn't go with thoughts and prayers first". Some U.S. companies decided they would stop selling assault rifles or high-capacity magazines in the immediate aftermath of the Parkland murders but while Florida's new law raises the gun purchase age from 18 to 21, it also allows for local school districts to arm teachers.

Americans remain deeply divided about the issue of guns.

"The name was supposed to represent many victims and someone was just trying to do the right thing. Our gun laws will change", the prime minister said.

New Zealand, a country of less than 5 million people, has an estimated 1.2 to 1.5 million firearms, around 13,500 of them MSSA type weapons.

Ardern brushed aside suggestions of opposition to the ban.

"We agree that the public doesn't need access to military style semi-automatic weapons".

The New Zealand government believes the scheme will cost up to $150 million.

Residents caught with the banned guns will face the penalties, including fines of up to $4,000 and/or three years in prison, she said, noting that the new law could increase these penalties.

Most farmers in the South Pacific country own guns, which they use for killing pests such as possums and rabbits, and for putting down injured stock.

"For other dealers, sales should essentially now cease".

Christchurch happened, and within days New Zealand acted to get weapons of war out of the consumer market.

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