PM Jacinda Ardern announces new gun laws following the Christchurch attack

scandal 21/03/2019

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced the Government will ban military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles, in light of the Christchurch terror attack.

"I absolutely believe there will be a common view amongst New Zealanders…. that the time for the mass, easy availability must end," she said in Parliament on Thursday. 

Ardern first floated the idea of tightening gun laws on Saturday - the morning after a gunman wielding a legally obtained semi-automatic weapon killed 50 people. 

"There have been attempts to change our laws in 2005, 2012 and after an inquiry in 2017. Now is the time for change," she said on Saturday.

To purchase military-style semi-automatic (MSSA) weapon, New Zealanders must obtain an E Category endorsement on their licence and a police-issued permit for each item.

The standard is an A Category licence, and semi-automatic AR-15 style rifles are permitted in this category provided they can only hold up to seven rounds, as well as meeting the other criteria. 

A weapon requires 15 rounds before it becomes MSSA.

It's understood the alleged Christchurch gunman, a 28-year-old Australian national, used an AR-15 weapon that was modified to be fully automatic. 

Gun laws in New Zealand are covered under the Arms Act 1983, with amendments passed after the 1992 Aramoana massacre when 13 people were killed in Dunedin in a shooting spree.

New gun measures were introduced after Aramoana, including mandatory 10-year photographic licences and tighter restrictions on MSSA firearms.

In March 2010, New Zealand police tried to have types of semi-automatic firearms available for civilians reclassified as MSSA, also known as assault weapons, to make them more difficult to obtain.

SOURCE: Newshub's Zane Small.