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New Zealand to Ban Military-Style Semiautomatic Guns, Jacinda Ardern Says New Zealand to Ban Military-Style Semiautomatic Guns, Jacinda Ardern Says
(32 minutes later)
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday announced a national ban on all military-style semiautomatic weapons, all high-capacity ammunition magazines and all parts that allow weapons to be modified into the kinds of guns used to kill 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, last week.CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday announced a national ban on all military-style semiautomatic weapons, all high-capacity ammunition magazines and all parts that allow weapons to be modified into the kinds of guns used to kill 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, last week.
“What we’re banning today are the things used in last Friday’s attack,” she said, adding: “It’s about all of us, it’s in the national interest and it’s about safety.”“What we’re banning today are the things used in last Friday’s attack,” she said, adding: “It’s about all of us, it’s in the national interest and it’s about safety.”
Ms. Ardern is expected to encounter little resistance to the weapons ban in Parliament, where the largest opposition party supports the measures. She said she expected the new law to be in place by April 11, with the next session of Parliament.Ms. Ardern is expected to encounter little resistance to the weapons ban in Parliament, where the largest opposition party supports the measures. She said she expected the new law to be in place by April 11, with the next session of Parliament.
Ms. Ardern said her goal was to eliminate from New Zealand the weapons that the killer used in Christchurch. She emphasized that it will require a mix of regulation around both firearms and ammunition.Ms. Ardern said her goal was to eliminate from New Zealand the weapons that the killer used in Christchurch. She emphasized that it will require a mix of regulation around both firearms and ammunition.
“The guns used in these terrorist attacks had important distinguishing features,” she said at a news conference at Parliament in Wellington, the capital. “First, big capacity, and also their delivery. They had the power to shoot continuously but they also had large capacity magazines.”“The guns used in these terrorist attacks had important distinguishing features,” she said at a news conference at Parliament in Wellington, the capital. “First, big capacity, and also their delivery. They had the power to shoot continuously but they also had large capacity magazines.”
New Zealand’s plan for immediate gun policy changes, announced less than a week after a mass shooting, stands in stark contrast to the stalemate and resistance to change that has stymied similar calls for restrictions on firearms in the United States, where mass shootings have become more common, more deadly and more widely ignored by lawmakers. New Zealand’s plan for immediate gun policy changes, announced less than a week after a mass shooting, stands in stark contrast to the stalemate and resistance to change that have stymied similar calls for restrictions on firearms in the United States, where mass shootings have become more common, more deadly and more widely ignored by lawmakers.
[Read more about the victims of the attack, who spanned generations and nationalities.][Read more about the victims of the attack, who spanned generations and nationalities.]
Chris Cahill, president of the Police Association, the union representing New Zealand’s police officers, praised Ms. Ardern’s plan, saying his group had been calling for such measures for years.Chris Cahill, president of the Police Association, the union representing New Zealand’s police officers, praised Ms. Ardern’s plan, saying his group had been calling for such measures for years.
“This addresses the key concerns we have,” he said. “It’s hitting those military-style semiautomatics. It’s exactly what we wanted.”“This addresses the key concerns we have,” he said. “It’s hitting those military-style semiautomatics. It’s exactly what we wanted.”
Her swift action comes as Christchurch has begun holding the first burials of those who died in the massacre, a burst of violence that has forced New Zealand to examine its culture of weapons and the extremist vitriol on its social media.Her swift action comes as Christchurch has begun holding the first burials of those who died in the massacre, a burst of violence that has forced New Zealand to examine its culture of weapons and the extremist vitriol on its social media.
“Today, I’m announcing New Zealand will ban all military-style semiautomatic weapons,” she said in outlining the changes. “We will also ban all assault rifles, we will ban all high-capacity magazines. We will ban all parts with the ability to convert semiautomatic or any other type of firearm into a military-style semiautomatic weapon.”“Today, I’m announcing New Zealand will ban all military-style semiautomatic weapons,” she said in outlining the changes. “We will also ban all assault rifles, we will ban all high-capacity magazines. We will ban all parts with the ability to convert semiautomatic or any other type of firearm into a military-style semiautomatic weapon.”
“We will ban parts that cause a firearm to generate semiautomatic, automatic or close-to-automatic gunfire,” she added. “In short, every semiautomatic weapon used in the terror attack on Friday will be banned in this country.”“We will ban parts that cause a firearm to generate semiautomatic, automatic or close-to-automatic gunfire,” she added. “In short, every semiautomatic weapon used in the terror attack on Friday will be banned in this country.”
In the interim, as of Thursday afternoon, a change in regulations would alter the licensing rules for the weapons that would eventually be banned, meaning they would require an E Class gun license, which is already much harder to obtain, and that the prime minister said would now be impossible to get.In the interim, as of Thursday afternoon, a change in regulations would alter the licensing rules for the weapons that would eventually be banned, meaning they would require an E Class gun license, which is already much harder to obtain, and that the prime minister said would now be impossible to get.
“I can assure people there is no point in applying for such a permit,” she said.“I can assure people there is no point in applying for such a permit,” she said.
The suspected killer, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, was a licensed gun owner and member of a local gun club. An official with one gun retailer said his company had sold Mr. Tarrant four firearms along with ammunition between December 2017 — a month after Mr. Tarrant received his gun license — and March 2018.The suspected killer, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, was a licensed gun owner and member of a local gun club. An official with one gun retailer said his company had sold Mr. Tarrant four firearms along with ammunition between December 2017 — a month after Mr. Tarrant received his gun license — and March 2018.
But officials still do not know the source of a semiautomatic rifle that can be seen in a video of the attack on Al Noor Mosque, one of the two mosques the gunman targeted. The authorities say that in the assault, the suspect used five guns he had acquired legally, including two semiautomatic assault weapons.But officials still do not know the source of a semiautomatic rifle that can be seen in a video of the attack on Al Noor Mosque, one of the two mosques the gunman targeted. The authorities say that in the assault, the suspect used five guns he had acquired legally, including two semiautomatic assault weapons.
The gunman’s efforts were optimized for internet fame and to broadcast a message of white supremacy. Minutes before the attacks started, he published a manifesto to message boards where white supremacists gather, and included a link to the page where the streaming video of the shooting would appear.The gunman’s efforts were optimized for internet fame and to broadcast a message of white supremacy. Minutes before the attacks started, he published a manifesto to message boards where white supremacists gather, and included a link to the page where the streaming video of the shooting would appear.
Ms. Ardern’s announcement of the gun restrictions comes as New Zealand officials are struggling to handle the burials of the victims of the attack, causing rifts between families and some officials as coroners work overtime to identify the victims while many wonder what is taking so long to bury the dead.Ms. Ardern’s announcement of the gun restrictions comes as New Zealand officials are struggling to handle the burials of the victims of the attack, causing rifts between families and some officials as coroners work overtime to identify the victims while many wonder what is taking so long to bury the dead.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush said on Wednesday that the authorities were working long hours to deal with identifying the victims. He also corrected the timeline of the attack, noting that the police had arrested the suspect 21 minutes after the first distress call, down from the initial police report of 36 minutes.Police Commissioner Mike Bush said on Wednesday that the authorities were working long hours to deal with identifying the victims. He also corrected the timeline of the attack, noting that the police had arrested the suspect 21 minutes after the first distress call, down from the initial police report of 36 minutes.
With the suspect seeking to represent himself in court, Ms. Ardern has made a plea that he not be given more attention, to avoid further publicizing extremist beliefs, even going so far to urge people to not to mention the suspected gunman’s name, saying, “He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist” who should “be nameless.”With the suspect seeking to represent himself in court, Ms. Ardern has made a plea that he not be given more attention, to avoid further publicizing extremist beliefs, even going so far to urge people to not to mention the suspected gunman’s name, saying, “He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist” who should “be nameless.”
Gun policy experts called Ms. Ardern’s plans to restrict access to certain forms of guns and ammunition far-reaching in scope.Gun policy experts called Ms. Ardern’s plans to restrict access to certain forms of guns and ammunition far-reaching in scope.
“It’s a very bold move and it has a very good chance of achieving the same things as Australia,” said Philip Alpers, who runs GunPolicy.org, an international clearinghouse on gun policy.“It’s a very bold move and it has a very good chance of achieving the same things as Australia,” said Philip Alpers, who runs GunPolicy.org, an international clearinghouse on gun policy.
In fact, he said, by banning any weapon capable of automatic or semiautomatic fire, he said New Zealand would most likely be going further than Australia and most countries around the world — but he warned of serious challenges ahead.In fact, he said, by banning any weapon capable of automatic or semiautomatic fire, he said New Zealand would most likely be going further than Australia and most countries around the world — but he warned of serious challenges ahead.
Because New Zealand does not register the vast majority of its guns (at least 96 percent) the government will be relying on the honesty of gun owners to return the weapons that will be banned. And in the next two weeks, before the laws are introduced, Mr. Alpersr said that there will be furious lobbying by gun owners and gun retailers seeking to have particular weapons exempted. Because New Zealand does not register the vast majority of its guns (at least 96 percent) the government will be relying on the honesty of gun owners to return the weapons that will be banned. And in the next two weeks, before the laws are introduced, Mr. Alpers said that there will be furious lobbying by gun owners and gun retailers seeking to have particular weapons exempted.