New Zealand Parliament votes to ban semi-automatic weapons

Elias Hubbard
April 10, 2019

The new laws also prohibit "semi-automatic firearms, magazines and parts that can be used to assemble prohibited firearms".

Tarrant has been charged with 50 counts of murder and 39 counts of attempted murder, and is due to next appear in court on June 14.

"They will carry disabilities for a lifetime and that's before you consider the psychological impact", she said.

Ardern, who has won worldwide praise for her compassion and leadership since the shootings, was able to win rare bi-partisan support for a bill that makes it illegal to own a military-style semi-automatic rifle.

"We are ultimately here because 50 people died and they do not have a voice", she said.

Ardern said the police commissioner Mike Bush had told her shortly after the attack that the gunman had obtained his arms legally.

Ardern banned the sale of all military style semi-automatics (MSSA) and assault rifles just six days after the March 15 shooting, and announced plans to tighten gun laws.

An amnesty has been imposed so the owners of affected weapons can hand them in, followed by a buy-back scheme.

National MP Andrew Bailey said the bill was a moment for Parliament to act in unity and he hoped it would send the right message to the families of the 50 victims.

"As we walk our kids to school, as we catch a bus late at night, as we gather in our community hubs, we now live with the fear of mass violence and this house recognises that and the job of making New Zealand safe". "We, in this house, are their voice and today we have used that voice wisely". The only dissenting voice was from the libertarian ACT Party, which has one lawmaker in Parliament.

A flower tribute is seen outside Al Noor mosque where more than 40 people were killed by a suspected white supremacist during Friday prayers on March 15, in Christchurch, New Zealand March 27, 2019.

"This is one of the most important pieces of legislation we will pass this Parliament because it's not only about keeping people safe, it's about putting a marker in the sand for our New Zealand culture".

Ardern said that there was some opposition from firearms owners, but that the response to the proposed legislation was overwhelmingly positive.

Ms Ardern said there were few occasions where she had seen parliament come together in this way, and said in the circumstances it was necessary.

"My question here is simple", she said.

The government initially estimated the buyback would cost up to NZ$200 million ($135 million) however as New Zealand does not require the vast majority of individual firearms to be registered, the exact number of banned weapons is unknown. If you believe, like us, that they do not, you should be able to believe we can move swiftly.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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