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New Zealand tightens gun laws again after mosque attack

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New Zealand announced plans for a national firearms register Monday in its second round of gun law reforms following the Christchurch mosque attacks which killed 51 Muslim worshippers.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said regulations around who could hold firearm licences would also be tightened to “stop weapons falling into the wrong hands”.

Ardern said the March 15 killings, when a gunman opened fire at two Christchurch mosques as worshippers gathered for Friday prayers, had changed attitudes towards gun ownership in New Zealand.

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“There is a new normal around firearms, it is a change of mindset,” she told reporters.

“The most dangerous weapons are being taken out of circulation.”

The government’s initial response to the attack was an immediate ban on the military style semi-automatic rifles (MSSAs) used in the worst massacre in modern New Zealand history.

Police Minister Stuart Nash said the latest changes were needed to keep track of firearms in the community.

“Under the current law, we do not know exactly how many guns are in circulation, who owns them, who is selling them, who is buying them or how securely they are stored,” he said.

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The register, which is expected to take five years to complete, will contain details of the estimated 1.2 million firearms in New Zealand, for a population of around five million.

The second round of gun law reform also includes a ban on foreign nationals purchasing firearms — the accused Christchurch gunman Brenton Tarrant is an Australian who allegedly bought an arsenal of rifles while living on the South Island.

It also bars people with convictions for violence, gang activity, drug or firearm offences from holding a licence.

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A nationwide buyback scheme including 250 “collection events” run by police, was launched this month, allowing members of the public to hand in weapons before a six-month amnesty expires.

Nash said there had been a strong response during the first week of the buyback, with more than 11,000 prohibited firearms and parts handed in.

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“Firearms owners want to do the right thing. Many events have seen people queueing before the doors open, ready to hand in firearms, parts and ammunition,” he said.


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There are 51 votes to approve calling witnesses in Trump impeachment trial: PBS

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After pieces of John Bolton's manuscript leaked to the press confirming President Donald Trump's bribery of Ukraine, Republicans have turned to support the witnesses they once opposed.

Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) both voted against witnesses and were leaning against them until Bolton's manuscript was leaked to the press after it was turned over to the White House for approval.

PBS News Hour reporter Lisa Desjardins tweeted Monday evening that the news tipped the scales and there were officially 51 votes to approve witnesses.

https://twitter.com/LisaDNews/status/1221951089647538177

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CNN

‘Give me a break’: CNN analyst explains why Trump defense of Rudy Giuliani was terrible

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While the Senate impeachment trial against President Donald Trump paused for a dinner break, CNN analysts responded to the White House's afternoon defense of the president was by blaming the Biden family.

Political commentator Gloria Borger noted that Trump lawyer, Eric Herschmann, going after former President Barack Obama just seemed desperate.

"Give me a break," she said. "What does that have to do with any of this right now? His defense boiled down to, 'He did it, so what? He did it. He was trying to root out corruption.' But if he was concerned about rooting out corruption, why haven't we seen more of that? His defense was, 'He had a reason to do it. It's OK. Therefore it was in the national interest.' This wasn't just about Joe Biden."

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2020 Election

State Department retaliated against NPR by kicking reporter off Mike Pompeo’s plane: report

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The U.S. State Department appears to be retaliating against National Public Radio (NPR) after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suffered a caught-on-tape meltdown following an interview with NPR "All Things Considered" co-host Mary Louise Kelly.

According to PBS "Newshour" reporter Nick Schifrin, the State Department kicked NPR diplomatic correspondent Michele Kelemen off of Pompeo's jet.

"State Department removes NPR’s Michele Kelemen from Sec. Pompeo plane--where she was scheduled for a pool radio rotation--during upcoming trip to London, Kiev," Schifrin reported.

AFP State Department correspondent Shaun Tandon blasted the move on behalf of the State Department Correspondent's Association.

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