Moscow, Mar 16: New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that the country's firearms regulations would change following the violent attacks on two mosques in the city of Christchurch.
A gunman attacked the mosques on Friday, killing 49 people and leaving dozens badly injured. "I'm advised that there were five guns used by the primary perpetrator ... The offender was in possession of a gun license. I'm advised that this was acquired in November of 2017 ... I can tell you one thing right now — our gun laws will change," Ardern said on Saturday.
The prime minister recalled that there were attempts to change the gun laws in New Zealand back in 2005, 2012 and in 2017. "Now is the time for change," Ardern argued. Three individuals had been arrested by the law enforcement in the wake of the attacks, the prime minister continued, adding that one of them, an Australian national, would appear in court later on Saturday, charged with murder.
Ardern noted that this individual traveled around the world and spent "sporadic periods of time" in New Zealand. He was not a resident of Christchurch, the prime minister added. The police initially said that four people had been detained in the wake of the attacks. The fourth person, arrested by law enforcement, was a member of the public member in possession of a firearm, who wanted to assist the police, according to Ardern.
None of those arrested by the police had been on any watchlists of the authorities either in New Zealand or in Australia, Ardern argued. Moreover, the person charged with murder had not been "on the radar" of the intelligence community for extremism, the prime minister explained.
The video of Ardern's press conference in Wellington was published online by local broadcaster. On Friday, Ardern characterized the incident as a terrorist act. Media reports have suggested that the attacker had had extremist and nationalist views. Moreover, footage related to the massacre, which showed the supposed perpetrator livestreaming his attack, has been circulating online. (UNI-SPUTNIK)