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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”.

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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.

“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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

“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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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Ex-Houston cop is charged with murder after his fraudulent search warrant got a couple killed

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Former Houston police officer Gerald Goines has been indicted on felony murder charges in relation to a drug raid in January that left a couple dead, the Houston Chronicle reported this Friday.

Questions about the raid, which took place January 28, began to swirl when it was revealed that Goines had lied to obtain the search warrant. The raid resulted in a shootout that killed 58-year-old Rhogena Nicholas and 59-year-old Dennis Tuttle. Goines was also wounded in the shootout as were four other officers.

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‘Making things worse’: National Farmer’s Union chief unloads on Trump in blistering statement on trade war

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Roger Johnson, the president of the National Farmers Union, delivered a blistering rebuke to President Donald Trump after he responded to new tariffs from China by issuing a purported "order" telling American companies to look for alternative places to manufacture their goods.

In an official statement, Johnson pointed out that farmers so far have felt the brunt of the president's trade war, as China has slapped heavy tariffs on key agricultural products such as soybeans.

He also crushed the president for failing to make any progress on reopening the Chinese market to American goods.

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Google tells workers to avoid arguing politics in house

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Google on Friday told employees to focus on work instead of heated debates about politics with colleagues at the internet company, which has long been known for encouraging people to speak their minds.

Updated workplace guidelines for "Googlers" called on them to be responsible, helpful, and thoughtful during exchanges on internal message boards or other conversation forums.

"While sharing information and ideas with colleagues helps build community, disrupting the workday to have a raging debate over politics or the latest news story does not," the updated guidelines stated.

"Our primary responsibility is to do the work we?ve each been hired to do, not to spend working time on debates about non-work topics."

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