World

New Zealand votes to amend gun laws after Christchurch attack

10 April 2019 - 23   - 0

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Lawmakers in New Zealand voted almost unanimously on Wednesday to change gun laws, less than a month after its worst peacetime mass shooting, in which 50 people were killed in attacks on two mosques in Christchurch.

Parliament passed the gun reform bill, the first substantial changes to New Zealand’s gun laws in decades, by 119 to 1. It must now receive royal assent from the governor general to become law.

“There have been very few occasions when I have seen parliament come together in this way, and I can’t imagine circumstances when it is more necessary,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in presenting the legislation.

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.

A lone gunman used semi-automatic guns in the Christchurch mosque attacks, killing 50 people as they attended Friday prayers.

Authorities have charged Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, with 50 counts of murder following the attacks.

The new curbs bar the circulation and use of most semi-automatic firearms, parts that convert firearms into semi-automatic firearms, magazines over a certain capacity, and some shotguns.

Existing gun laws had provided for a standard A-category gun license covering semi-automatics limited to seven shots.

The bill grants an amnesty until Sept. 30 for people to surrender prohibited items. More than 300 weapons had already been handed in, police minister Stuart Nash told parliament.

The government has begun work on a second arms amendment bill it hopes to introduce in June, he said, adding that the measure would tackle issues regarding a gun registry, among others.

The government has faced criticism from some quarters for rushing through the bill. Wednesday’s dissenting vote came from David Seymour, leader of the small free-market ACT Party, who questioned why the measure was being rushed through.

Ardern said majority lawmakers believe such guns had no place in New Zealand.

“We are ultimately here because 50 people died and they do not have a voice,” she added. “We, in this house, are their voice and today we have used that voice wisely.”

Since last month’s shooting, New Zealand has tightened security and cancelled several events in Auckland, its largest city, intended to commemorate ANZAC Day on April 25.

  Comments - 0

  • Leave a comment



Top Stories

SL's first research satellite reaches NASA's International Space Station

Sri Lanka's first research statellite 'Raavana 1' which was released yesterday reached NASA's International Space Station at around...

19 April 2019 - Views : 50

No division among opposition parties on presidential candidate : Opp. Leader

19 April 2019

One arrested over murder of a couple in Devahuwa

19 April 2019

Suspect arrested with 1.3 kilos of heroin in Wattala

19 April 2019



style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px"
data-ad-client="ca-pub-6200193111498313"
data-ad-slot="1999573490">

 

Features & Analysis

People’s Church, Narahenpita launches a celebration of Hope from April 19-21

People’s Church, Narahenpita launches a celebration of Hope from  April 19 -21, 2019 from 5.30 p...

'Victoria' TV star Laurence Fox indulges in Ayurvedic 'no-frills detox' in Beruwela

Playing the “charismatic and wayward” Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston in ITV's 'Victoria&#...

Disney's video streaming service sets November launch

Disney announced Thursday that its video streaming service would launch in the US in November, spotlighting its block...

Scholarships for Sri Lankan students to study Ayurveda, Yoga, Homepathy in India

The High Commission of India in Colombo has initiated a scholarship programme for  Sri Lankan nationals und...



style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px"
data-ad-client="ca-pub-6200193111498313"
data-ad-slot="1999573490">