The tragedy that unfolded at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in recent days has captured headlines all over the world. 50 people are reported to have been killed as a result of shootings that occurred on March 15th, with police stating that victims may now be released to their families. A ‘nationwide reflection’ took place on Friday, marking one week after the killings.
As a result of the tragedy, New Zealand authorities will now be taking a hardline stance on certain guns and weapons currently still in circulation across the country. It’s being reported that assault rifles, certain magazines and semi-automatic weapons built in a military style will be outright banned across the country. This is according to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has continued to remain outspoken about the shootings.
“On 15 March our history changed forever,” PM Ardern stated in a press conference. “Now our laws will, too. We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealander’s to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place.”
“Every semi-automatic weapon used in the terror attack on Friday will be banned. This legislation will be drafted and introduced in urgency.”
New Zealand Bans Semi-Automatics [video: Wochit News]
The move to ban certain weapons outright nationwide comes as international outcry continues to reverberate over the killings which took place last week. New Zealand police authorities claim that there are thought to be up to 1.2 million guns circulating throughout the country. The proposal for gun reform will be introduced in early April as a result of amending the Arms Act of 1983, which already clearly outlines how such weapons are consumed and used in the country.
“I can’t emphasize enough that in the current environment it is important you do not take your now-unlawful firearm anywhere without notifying police,” Police Commissioner Mike Bush advised. “It is absolutely vital that we manage the safe and organized transport of all firearms into police custody.”
The move for greater gun control in New Zealand has reportedly been met with praise. There had already been a number of public petitions launched and signed by thousands in favor of such reformation. It’s also been welcomed by the New Zealand Police Association. “I hope that the moves immediately attract cross-party support because it is important for New Zealander’s to know that their political leaders are all on board with this extremely important move,” Chris Cahill, Police Association President, confirmed via statement.