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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)
Leader of the opposition Simon Bridges has released a statement welcoming the changes proposed by the government today to reform our firearms legislation.
“The terrorist attack in Christchurch last week has changed us as a nation.
“National has been clear since this devastating attack that we support changes to our regime and that we will work constructively with the Government.
“We agree that the public doesn’t need access to military style semi-automatic weapons. National supports them being banned along with assault rifles.
“We also support the Government’s proposals to limit the access to other high powered semi-automatic weapons and ammunition.
“We remain committed to ensuring the safety of New Zealanders and fighting extremism in all forms.
“National will work constructively with the Government to ensure we get this right.”
And the press conference has wrapped up.
Bush is now praising the police officers who brought the suspected gunman into custody. He says it took just 20 minutes for them to intervene and bring the man into custody, from when the attack started.
That’s a new number for us, previously we were told it took more than 30 minutes for the arrest to occur, but Jacinda Ardern said yesterday that the time was even shorter than police had previously said.
“I can tell you that every available armed resource responded so quickly to that event and our people acted with absolute courage with in 20 minutes to intervene with that person and bring them into custody.
“It was a very evolving, fast-moving event. That vehicle was identified by the two officers we know of and they acted with absolute courage, in fact, putting the safety of the public before their own to make that happen. I am hugely proud of what they did.”
“The first step is to encourage people to do it voluntarily,” said Bush. “I’m sure that the majority of people will do so. We will then be working with people to ascertain if they haven’t complied and once that period of grace or amnesty goes those people can, and in all likelihood will be prosecuted. So I encourage everyone in that situation so that you don’t become subject to prosecution, to contact us immediately or within the next few days at least.”
Bush warns people that once the amnesty period of three weeks is over, people who are still in possession of their MSSA or assault rifle will be breaking the law and “in all likelihood will be prosecuted”. He warns people to take it seriously and to hand in their firearms.
Bush has been asked about when the two mosques will be able to be opened again.
“We as investigators are working very hard to release those mosques as early as today,” he says. “Not only have we completed our crime scene investigations, but we are working to restore them in a way that is absolutely respectful to those people.”
Bush, once again, urges people not to simply walk into a police station with a firearm without calling ahead first. But again, he says police would prefer people to register their weapon online or via the phone line.
Bush says that the announcement by Ardern about the ban on sales of gun laws means that people who prior to 3pm were lawfully in possession of semi-automatic assault rifles and other guns “are no longer lawfully in possession” of those weapons.
He urged people to surrender weapons to police.
They are asking people who find themselves unlawfully in possession of the weapon to first contact police online where they will find online forms, contact police, and have the firearms placed into police custody.
For those who do not feel comfortable to do this, police have also set up a phone line for people to call and register with police to surrender their firearm. That number is 0800 311 311
Police commissioner Mike Bush is speaking now. He says as of a few minutes ago, the identification process for all 50 victims has been completed and all next of kin have been advised.
More than 120 people were involved in the identification process.
On the number of guns available in New Zealand, while Stuart Nash, the minister for police, said they “had no idea” how many assault rifles were in circulation, the government estimates there are between 1.2m and 1.5m firearms in the country.
We are expecting a press conference from the police in about 15 minutes, I’ll bring you updates from that when it begins.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.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.“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.”“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.”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.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.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.”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.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.”“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?”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.”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.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?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.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?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: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 .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· 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?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):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 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· 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?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: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.· 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· 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· 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?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.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?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.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?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.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?8. What are the statistics for firearms licences and firearms in circulation?
· There are 245,000 firearms licences· There are 245,000 firearms licences
· Of these, 7,500 are E-Category licences; and 485 are dealer 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· 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· The total number of firearms in New Zealand is estimated to be 1.2-1.5 million
9. What further issues are being considered?9. What further issues are being considered?
Cabinet will consider further steps on 25 March. These will include measures to:Cabinet will consider further steps on 25 March. These will include measures to:
· Tighten firearms licensing and penalties· Tighten firearms licensing and penalties
· Impose greater controls over a range of ammunition· 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.· 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· 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?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.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?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.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.
“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.
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.”
A journalist asks about people who illegally hold MSSAs.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
“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.
“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.