New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday announced an immediate ban on military-style semi-automatic guns and assault rifles, AFP reported. The ban follows the terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch that killed 50 people.
“I strongly believe that the vast majority of legitimate gun owners in New Zealand will understand that these moves are in the national interest, and will take these changes in their stride,” BBC quoted her as saying.
She said the law will be in place by April 11 and also announced a buyback programme for the banned weapons.
High capacity magazines and devices similar to bump stocks, which make rifles fire faster, will also be banned. “Every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack will be banned in this country,” she said.
Ardern said additional measures against gun usage will follow. “There is more to be done and tranche two will look at issues around licensing, issues around registration, issues around storage,” The Guardian reported.
The New Zealand government’s new law will have exemptions for farmers, she said.
On Wednesday, the prime minister had called for a united global front against social media being used for violence. The attacker, a white supremacist, had live streamed the shooting, following which videos of it had gone viral. Facebook had faced criticism for not taking down his video soon enough.