New Zealand Attack
WELLINGTON – New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Thursday morning local time that semi-automatic and assault weapons will be banned and that the government will utilize a buy-back program for the soon-to-be illegal guns.
After a mass shooting in Christchurch that resulted in the deaths of 50 people on Mar. 15, Ardern promised that there would be gun reform laws in place within 10 days. The prime minister said she expects the new law to be in place by April 11.
“In short, every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country,” Ardern said, adding that the ban will also include high-capacity magazines, plus parts that turns guns into military-style weapons.
As of 3 p.m. local time, all weapons that will be banned will need a “category E” licence from New Zealand police. For owners who already have these weapons, they will be tightly regulated and for others, they will now be out of circulation.
After a reasonable period for returns, those who continue to possess these guns will be in contravention of the law — the fine would be $4,000 to three years in prison.
On the buy-back program, the prime minister said estimates say that the government could spend between $100 and $200 million dollars, adding that it is “the price that we must pay for the safety of our communities”.
‘In the national interest’
“Be assured this is just the beginning of the work we’ll be doing,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told gathered reporters in a press conference.
“It’s in the national interest and it’s about safety…to prevent an act of terror from ever happening again in our country,” she added.
Arden explained that the only suspects in the mass shooting — Australian Brenton Tarrant — had purchased his weapons legally and modified the capacity of the guns by buying 30-round magazines “easily through a simple online purchase”.
Mr. Tarrant has been charged with murder in the aftermath of the assault which he took live video of and posted to social media. The suspect is due back in court on April 5, when police say he will likely face more charges.
Image of Jacinda Ardern from Breaking911.