Moscow, Mar 21: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday banned all military-style semi-automatic weapons, assault rifles and high-capacity magazines following the deadly attack on two mosques in the city of Christchurch which claimed lives of 50 people.
“On 15 March our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too. We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place,” Jacinda Ardern said adding that the Cabinet has agreed to overhaul the law when it met on Monday, 72 hours after the horrific terrorism act in Christchurch. "Now, six days after this attack, we are announcing a ban on all military style semi-automatics (MSSA) and assault rifles in New Zealand. Related parts used to convert these guns into MSSAs are also being banned, along with all high-capacity magazines," she added.
Any part used to convert these guns into MSSAs has been also banned, along with all high-capacity magazines. "All semi-automatic weapons used during the terrorist attack on Friday 15 March will be banned", the PM said.
The New Zealand cabinet has also directed the officials to develop a buyback scheme with an amnesty that should be in place for weapons to be handed over. Arden expressed faith in the several gun owners of the country as they could face severe loss after the ban and termed her move to be in national interest. She also urged them to take changes in their stride.
While mentioning the Australian government's reforms she said, "When Australia undertook similar reforms, their approach was to allow for exemptions for farmers upon application, including for pest control and animal welfare. We have taken similar action to identify the weapons legitimately required in those areas, and preclude them."
“Legislation to give effect to the ban will be introduced when Parliament sits in the first week of April. We will provide a short, sharp Select Committee process for feedback on the technical aspects of the changes. We are looking to progress the amendments to this legislation under urgency and expect these amendments to the Arms Act to be passed within the next session of Parliament,” Jacinda Ardern said.
New Zealand Police Minister Stuart Nash while expressing his support said, "The Bill will include narrow exemptions for legitimate business use, which would include professional pest control. Police and the Defence Force will also have exemptions. Issues like access for mainstream international sporting competitions are also being worked through." UNI