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New Zealand shooting: Jacinda Ardern bans all military-style semi-automatic guns and assault rifles – live updates New Zealand shooting: Jacinda Ardern bans all military-style semi-automatic guns and assault rifles – live updates
(32 minutes later)
We are expecting a press conference from the police in about 15 minutes, I’ll bring you updates from that when it begins.
Jacinda Ardern’s announcement today was the “first tranche” of reforms to gun laws for New Zealand and will be followed by a second tranche of legislation addressing other issues, like registration of gun owners.
“As I’ve said, what we’ve done here is taken out the guns out of circulation that aremost critical to be addressed urgently and that’s what we’ve announced, with essentially almost immediate effect,” said Ardern.
“There is more to be done and tranche two will look at issues around licensing, issues around registration, issues around storage. There are a range of other amendments that we believe do need to be made and that will be the second tranche of reforms yet to come.”
Cabinet will receive a paper on these issues on Monday about these second order issues. “I expect decisions to be made from there.”
The press conference has wrapped up. I’ll have some more quotes from you as they come through.
Ardern has been asked how many assault rifles there are in the country. Ardern says they don’t have a number for this, just as they don’t have a number for how many military-style semi-automatic weapons (MSSAs) are in the country.
The police minister says: “It’s part of the problem. The prime minister gave a figure for the buyback [$100m - $200m], the reason there’s such a large gap is we have no idea. We have an indicative set of numbers around MSSAs.”
Ardern says she anticipates broad support for these laws across the country, including New Zealanders who hold gun licences.
“In fact, I have had people unprompted tell me that they own guns and use them for legitimate purposes. Members of our rural communities and they support what we are doing.”
A journalist asks whether a decision like this could lead to a “whole lot of guns disappearing from the radar?”
Ardern says: “These guns already aren’t on the radar.”
The press conference is still going on, but Ardern’s press team have sent over this Q&A.
1. What semi-automatic firearms will be affected by the ban?
The ban will apply to all firearms are now defined as Military Style Semi-Automatics (MSSAs) and will also include assault rifles.
2. What semi-automatic firearms will NOT be affected by the ban?
There is a balance to be struck between public safety and legitimate use. The changes exclude two general classes of firearms which are commonly used for hunting, pest control, stock management on farms, and duck shooting:
· Semi-automatic .22 calibre rimfire firearms with a magazine which holds no more than ten rounds
· Semi-automatic and pump action shotguns with a non-detachable tubular magazine which holds no more than five rounds
3. What semi-automatic firearms are affected by today’s Order in Council?
Two types of firearms are now defined as Military Style Semi-Automatics (MSSAs):
· A semi-automatic firearm capable of being used with a detachable magazine which holds more than five cartridges
· A semi-automatic shotgun capable of being used with a detachable magazine which holds more than five cartridges
4. I have an A-Category firearms licence and now own MSSAs. What should I do?
It would normally be an offence for an A-Category licence holder to possess an MSSA, punishable by up to three years in prison or a $4000 fine. However a transitional period gives time for people to comply with the law, if they take certain steps. The transitional period will be confirmed next month. Firearms owners who unlawfully possess an MSSA now have three options:
· Voluntarily surrender the firearm to Police for safe disposal.
· Complete an online form on the Police website to arrange for the MSSA to be collected, while details are finalised for compensation under a buy back scheme
· Sell or gift the firearm to a person who has an E-Category licence and a ‘permit to procure’ the weapon
5. Are Police geared up to receive large numbers of MSSAs?
Yes. They will work with the New Zealand Defence Force to enable safe storage, transport and destruction of MSSAs. Police are establishing an online form which will make it easier for firearms owners to arrange for Police to collect the MSSAs. The online form will go live over the weekend. It will not be practicable for firearms owners to physically return their weapons to Police stations without prior approval. Where extra administrative staff are required they will be hired on fixed-term contracts.
6. Will this lead to stockpiling of semi-automatics?
No. The changes under the Order in Council take effect immediately. Anyone who now unlawfully has an MSSA, which yesterday was a lawful firearm, needs to take steps to comply with the law.
7. Will some firearms dealers be breaking the law if they have these MSSAs in stock?
Some firearms dealers only hold A-category licences. In order to comply with the law, they could sell their stock of semi-automatics to a Category E licence holder or return them to their supplier.
8. What are the statistics for firearms licences and firearms in circulation?
· There are 245,000 firearms licences
· Of these, 7,500 are E-Category licences; and 485 are dealer licences
· There are 13,500 firearms which require the owner to have an E-Cat licence, this is effectively the known number of MSSAs before today’s changes
· The total number of firearms in New Zealand is estimated to be 1.2-1.5 million
9. What further issues are being considered?
Cabinet will consider further steps on 25 March. These will include measures to:
· Tighten firearms licensing and penalties
· Impose greater controls over a range of ammunition
· Address a number of other issues relevant to special interest groups such as international sports shooters and professional pest controllers, such as DoC.
· Future proof the Arms Act to ensure it is able to respond to developments in technology and society
10. How will the buyback work, and who will administer it?
Police, the Treasury and other agencies are working through the detail. More information will be available when the legislation is introduced next month. The compensation will be fair and reasonable based on firearm type, average prices and the age of firearms.
11. What is the cost of the buyback likely to be?
That is very difficult to judge, given the limited information about the total number of firearms affected by this change. Preliminary advice suggests it could be in the range of $100m-$200m. The buyback will ensure these weapons are taken out of circulation and that we fulfil our obligations under the law.
Ardern says that New Zealand has already sought international advice from countries like Australia regarding how to execute a buyback scheme.
She says they don’t know where the money will come from, but they will be able to give more information on this when they announce the details of the legislation.
The police minister says the ban will come into effect in three weeks and that anyone who applies to buy a gun like this in the meantime is wasting their time.
Ardern says they do not know how many of these military-style semi-automatic weapons are in circulation in New Zealand and will need to be bought back.Ardern says they do not know how many of these military-style semi-automatic weapons are in circulation in New Zealand and will need to be bought back.
“We’re very much in the dark as to how many of these are in circulation,” says Ardern.“We’re very much in the dark as to how many of these are in circulation,” says Ardern.
There are lots of questions about the ins and outs of gun licensing. Ardern keen to separate out the administration of licensing, which is done by police, and the banning of these weapons.There are lots of questions about the ins and outs of gun licensing. Ardern keen to separate out the administration of licensing, which is done by police, and the banning of these weapons.
Ardern was asked whether she expects support from the opposition on these reforms. She says she does.Ardern was asked whether she expects support from the opposition on these reforms. She says she does.
“We have briefed the Opposition, but ultimately it is for them to determine their position but our hope is we will have consensus in the House.”“We have briefed the Opposition, but ultimately it is for them to determine their position but our hope is we will have consensus in the House.”
A journalist asks about people who illegally hold MSSAs.A journalist asks about people who illegally hold MSSAs.
Ardern replies: “Amnesty applies. We just want the guns back.”Ardern replies: “Amnesty applies. We just want the guns back.”
Jacinda Ardern says that the penalties will increase for those who don’t hand back these sorts of guns after the full ban comes into effect.Jacinda Ardern says that the penalties will increase for those who don’t hand back these sorts of guns after the full ban comes into effect.
The police minister adds that police have power to go into license dealers and ask for records, and they will be doing this to check who still has these weapons.The police minister adds that police have power to go into license dealers and ask for records, and they will be doing this to check who still has these weapons.
Jacinda Ardern says the main things these laws will target is: weapons that can cause huge loss of life, that ammunition, and the ability to modify other guns to make them capable of taking large numbers of lives.Jacinda Ardern says the main things these laws will target is: weapons that can cause huge loss of life, that ammunition, and the ability to modify other guns to make them capable of taking large numbers of lives.
Journalists are asking about the difference between Australia’s gun laws and these new gun laws.Journalists are asking about the difference between Australia’s gun laws and these new gun laws.
“Essentially the effect of this legislation will close that gap between Australia and New Zealand,” says Ardern.“Essentially the effect of this legislation will close that gap between Australia and New Zealand,” says Ardern.
“Australia had an exemption that allowed, for instance, farmers to seek permits to continue to use weapons like 22 for legitimate use. We have essentially received the same outcome but by looking at the specific weapons used for legitimate use by farmers but are not designed to under take the kind of horror and attack we saw on Friday,” she says.“Australia had an exemption that allowed, for instance, farmers to seek permits to continue to use weapons like 22 for legitimate use. We have essentially received the same outcome but by looking at the specific weapons used for legitimate use by farmers but are not designed to under take the kind of horror and attack we saw on Friday,” she says.
Ardern also says that they have chosen not to have a permit system, as is used in Australia, but instead they have “designated those guns that need to be targeted.”Ardern also says that they have chosen not to have a permit system, as is used in Australia, but instead they have “designated those guns that need to be targeted.”
“We’ve targeted here the guns that are actually doing the harm in our community and we saw that on Friday.”“We’ve targeted here the guns that are actually doing the harm in our community and we saw that on Friday.”
Ardern is now being asked how much this will cost. She says they are not sure of the exact price.Ardern is now being asked how much this will cost. She says they are not sure of the exact price.
“The estimate that has been made by officials is that the buyback could cost anywhere between $100 million and $200 million. But that is the price that we must pay to ensure the safety of our communities,” she says.“The estimate that has been made by officials is that the buyback could cost anywhere between $100 million and $200 million. But that is the price that we must pay to ensure the safety of our communities,” she says.
The minister of police is now speaking, he says that police are “gearing up” to enable these weapons to be taken out of circulation. Police will be supported by the New Zealand defence force.
“Finally, I want to remind that it is a privilege and not a right to own a firearm in New Zealand,” he says.
Ardern reiterates that there are many legitimate reasons for having guns in New Zealand, but she says she believes the majority of New Zealanders will support these measures.
“It is about all of us. It is in the national interest and it is about safety. I will work hard to retain that support as we work on the remaining tranches of reform that we must make to prevent an act of terror happening in our country ever again,” she says.
Cabinet will meet on Monday and consider even further amendments to gun legislation, saying there are yet more loopholes that need to be closed. These will be announced in time, she says.
“This is just the beginning of the work we need to do,” she said.
Ardern acknowledges that many people who have these weapons will have bought them legally. In recognition of this, she is instituting a buyback scheme. “Fair and reasonable compensation” will be paid to owners for their weapons.
Ardern encourages people to visit the police website and fill out an online form to arrange the return of their weapons. She encourages people not to simply walk into a police station with a weapon unannounced.
The ban on these weapons take place from 3pm today. She warns dealers that the sales of these weapons “should now cease” and that stores should return their stock to suppliers.
Ardern says all weapons used in Friday’s terrorist attack will be banned.
She says: “I absolutely believe there will be a common view amongst New Zealanders, those who use guns for legitimate purposes, and those who have never touched one, that the time for the mass and easy availability of these weapons must end. And today they will.
“Today I am announcing that NewZealand will ban all military-style semi-automatic weapons. We will also ban all assault rifles. We will ban all high capacity magazines. We will ban all parts with the ability to convert semi-automatic or any other type of firearm into a military-style semi-automatic weapon. We will ban parts that cause a firearm to generate semi-automatic, automatic or close to automatic gunfire.
“In short, every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country.”
Ardern is speaking about the attempts that have been made to change New Zealand’s gun laws: “Those attempts were in 1999, 2005, 2012 and more recently through a select committee inquiry in early 2017. And still none of the changes that have been made in the past dealt with one of the most glaring issues that we have that sets New Zealand apart from many other nations - the availability of military-style semi-automatic weapons.”
Jacinda Ardern is speaking now. She is discussing gun laws, saying that previous reforms of gun laws “did not go far enough”.
Yesterday we reported that New Zealanders have begun handing in their firearms to police in the wake of Friday’s mass shooting in Christchurch which resulted in the deaths of at least 50 people.
New Zealand police said that, as of Tuesday night, at least 37 firearms had been handed in to police officers around the country.
The prime minister is expected to announce changes to gun laws in the coming days, including measures such as a ban on semi-automatic rifles, a plan that was flagged by her attorney general, David Parker, one day after the massacre.
She emerged from a long cabinet meeting on Monday, Jacinda Ardern said her team would take the rest of the week to work out the details after agreeing to make changes “in principle”, adding: “These aren’t simple areas of law. So that’s simply what we’ll be taking the time to get right.”
Until today I was one of the New Zealanders who owned a semi-automatic rifle. On the farm they are a useful tool in some circumstances, but my convenience doesn’t outweigh the risk of misuse.We don’t need these in our country. We have make sure it’s #NeverAgain pic.twitter.com/crLCQrOuLc
One of those who surrendered a firearm, was John Hart, who has a 20-hectare sheep and beef farm north of Masterton.
Hart, who ran as a Greens party candidate in the 2017 election, handed in his semi-automatic rifle to police on Monday in the wake of the shootings. Hart said that while the gun was useful for some tasks, it was “actually too dangerous to have around as a weapon”.
“For me, it became that trade-off: is my convenience worth the risk to other people’s lives by having these guns in the country? I pretty quickly realised there was no comparison. We’ll cope without semi-automatic weapons, we won’t cope without the people who were taken from us from these events.”
Christchurch shooting: gun owners begin to hand in their weapons
Good afternoon. Jacinda Ardern is set to make a policy announcement from Wellington at 3pm today (in about 10 minutes). We have not been told what sort of policy she will announce, but given the events of the last week, the money is on it being about changes to gun laws.
On Monday, days after Friday’s horrific attacks that left 50 people dead, Ardern announced that her cabinet had agreed “in principle” to reform New Zealand’s gun laws, but did not give any details of what these changes would be.
Yesterday, Ardern said New Zealand had a “large number of loopholes in our laws” when it came to gun ownership and that her team had been “working through the night” to bring forward proposals of changes to laws.
“I reflect, again, Australia, when they experienced a tragedy, a mass shooting in the 1990s, it took them 12 days. We will do it in less but only through extraordinary effort,” she said.