New Zealand bans sale of semi-automatic rifles

NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the house at Parliament

NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the house at Parliament

New Zealand will urgently ban the sale of all semi-automatic rifles, its government has announced after a shooting at two mosques killed 50 people.

A police official stands guard in front of the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 19, 2019.

Ardern said that similar to Australia, the law would allow for strictly enforced exemptions for farmers for pest control and animal welfare.

"When I think about the reaction after shootings in the United States, it has been awesome to see how many people in New Zealand are rallying behind the Prime Minister's push to strengthen the country's gun laws", Cahill added.

When asked whether people who might hold such guns illegally would be arrested if they turned them in, she said that would not happen: "Amnesty applies".

New Zealand recently banned all automatic and semi-automatic weapons in the country after it emerged that the attacker had legally purchased the four weapons used in the attack. Solemn farewells were made for high school student Sayyad Ahmad Milne, 14.

The interim measure is to ensure that the trade of the weapons ceases immediately and that all gun sellers stop selling the guns.

Six days ago, 50 people were killed in a terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch.

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Linwood mosque Imam Alabi Lateef Zirullah said his congregation will join the Friday prayer at Al Noor.

Lobby group Federated Farmers issued a statement backing tougher gun laws but acknowledged that many of its members would not support its decision.

"I can't emphasize enough that in the current environment it is important you do not take your now-unlawful firearm anywhere without notifying police", Bush said.

An army of carpenters, glaziers, gardeners and carpet layers could be seen entering the Al Noor grounds Thursday and the police spokesman said they were trying to return the mosque to its original state.

"And I've got to give all my respect to the New Zealand prime minister, with her position and her actions, and it speaks loud", he said.

The ban started 3:00 p.m. local time on Thursday, said Ardern, who is confident that the vast majority of New Zealanders will support the changes.

Addressing other world leaders in an interview this week, Ardern said white nationalism must be confronted "where it exists", and nations must make sure they "never create an environment where it can flourish".

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