New Zealand to tighten gun laws

Photo: EPA PM Jacinda Ardern (C) meets with members of the Muslim community in Christchurch, 16 March.

New Zealand's PM Jacinda Ardern said on Monday she would announce new gun laws within days after her government agreed in principle to tougher legislation. New Zealand, a country that has traditionally had very low homicide rates, has been placed on its highest security threat level after its worst peacetime mass killing. Fifty people were killed and dozens wounded in the attack at two mosques in the South Island city during last Friday prayers.

"Within 10 days of this horrific act of terrorism we will have announced reforms which will, I believe, make our community safer," Ardern said at a news conference. Arms dealer David Tipple said the gunman Brenton Tarrant bought four weapons and ammunition online from his Gun City store between December 2017 and March 2018, but it did not sell him the high-powered weapon used in the massacre.

Under New Zealand gun laws, A-category weapons can be semi-automatic but limited to seven shots. Live-streamed video of a gunman in one mosque showed a semi-automatic weapon with a large magazine round.

Ardern did not detail the new gun laws, but has said she supports a ban on automatic weapons.

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