Military style semi-automatic guns will soon be banned in New Zealand following the Christchurch terror attack, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced in a press conference this afternoon.
Ms Ardern had previously stated that New Zealand would see gun law reforms “within 10 days” of the Christchurch mosque shootings which left 50 people dead. She took six days to act.
“The attacker took a significant number of lives using primarily two guns, assault rifles purchased legally on an A class licence.
“The time for the easy availability of these weapons must end, and today it will.
“In short, every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country,” Ms Ardern said in a press conference this afternoon.
High-capacity magazines and attachments will also be banned along with the “military style weapons.”
Low calibre .22 semi-automatic firearms used mainly for pest control and duck hunting will be exempt.
The Prime Minister also announced a “buyback scheme” will be made available to those who possess any of the now banned weapons.
The buyback scheme could cost anywhere between $100 to $200 million dollars, according to officials.
“As the legislation develops we will determine the time available for the return of these weapons and the duration of the buyback scheme.
“There will be time for the returns to be made and people will not be criminalised overnight.
“After a reasonable period for returns those that continue to possess these guns will be in contravention of the law
“Currently the penalties for this range of fines up to $4000 or three years in jail, legislation will look to increase these policies,” Ms Ardern said of the buyback scheme.
She also announced possible exemptions.
“We will as a Cabinet work through exemptions for agencies who use these weapons for mass culling’s such as DOC, but they will be tightly regulated,” Ms Ardern said.
Immediately after the announcement Federated Farmers and Fish & Game NZ released statements supporting the ban.
“This will not be popular among some of our members but after a week of intense debate and careful consideration by our elected representatives and staff, we believe this is the only practicable solution,” Feds Rural Security spokesperson Miles Anderson says.
National Party leader Simon Bridges has also welcomed the changes proposed by the Government today to reform New Zealand’s firearms legislation.
“We agree that the public doesn’t need access to military style semi-automatic weapons. National supports them being banned along with assault rifles,” Mr Bridges says.