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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
(30 minutes later)
Meanwhile in Christchurch the funerals are continuing for those who were killed in Friday’s attacks.
‘These are reforms we can be proud of,’ says Police Association
The Police Association congratulates the government for demonstrating the courage to take decisive action and ban the firearms that have inflicted so much harm in New Zealand.
The Police Association has issued a statement congratulating the government “for demonstrating the courage to take decisive action and ban the firearms that have inflicted so much harm in New Zealand”.
Association President Chris Cahill says the reforms represent a fine balance between the practical requirements of legitimate firearms users throughout the country, and the need to protect society.
“I hope that the moves immediately attract cross party support because it is important for New Zealanders to know that their political leaders are all on board with this extremely important move,” Mr Cahill said.
Today’s order-in-council immediately moves to Category E class, all Category A semi-automatics that are not shotguns or .22 rifles.
“These are weapons that have been used to slaughter innocent children, women and men while they were at their most vulnerable – at prayer. It is a move we, as a community, can be proud of,” Mr Cahill said.
The Association welcomed the pledge to pass, under urgency in parliament, law that will ban all Category E weapons, including all MSSAs.
“These are significant and bold steps from the government and we applaud them for that. However, they are first steps, and the association looks forward to further reforms which need to follow shortly.”
The next steps need to include a reconsideration of a firearms registry so we do know how many firearms are in our country, and we need a review of the Arms Act.
“The act is dated and needs an overhaul sooner rather than later. Today we have the initial steps, but we should bear in mind that way back in 1997 the key recommendation of the Thorp report was for a full review of the act. We didn’t do it then, but we can make up for that by conducting a full review in the very near future,” Mr Cahill said.
“Today is an extraordinary day that was brought about by dreadful events. This Government has acted swiftly and is sending a message nationally and internationally that the types of weapons and equipment used to enhance the capacity of those weapons to kill many people are not welcome here.”
The Green Party is the next to welcome the government’s announcement on gun control changes.
Green Party co-leader James Shaw said: “Banning military style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles makes everyone safer. Banning these guns is the first step towards systemic changes to our gun laws.
“I welcome this announcement today, we just wish it wasn’t in such tragic circumstances.
“We owe it to the 50 people killed last Friday to ensure this never happens again.”
Leader of the opposition Simon Bridges has released a statement welcoming the changes proposed by the government today to reform our firearms legislation.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.“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.“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 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 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.“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.”“National will work constructively with the Government to ensure we get this right.”
And the press conference has wrapped up.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.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.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.“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.”“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.”“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 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.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.”“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, 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.
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.