"Cabinet agreed to overhaul the law when it met on Monday, 72 hours after the horrific terrorism act in Christchurch. Now, six days after this attack, we are announcing a ban on all military style semi-automatics (MSSA) and assault rifles in New Zealand. Related parts used to convert these guns into MSSAs are also being banned, along with all high-capacity magazines," Ardern said in a statement published on the government’s website.
The bill imposing the ban will be introduced in the parliament in the first week of April. The authorities expect it to be passed within the legislature’s next session.
Ardern explained that the legislation would include exemptions for legitimate business use, duck hunting and the use by police and defence forces. Access to arms for those engaged in international sporting competitions would also be considered by the authorities.
"While the legislation is being drafted, I am announcing the Government will take immediate action today to restrict the potential stock-piling of these guns and encourage people to continue to surrender their firearms… We are introducing transitionary measures for gun owners to hand in their guns to Police to hold until details of a buy-back are announced. Likewise, the Police continue to accept guns for destruction," Ardern pointed out.
Meanwhile, New Zealand police commissioner Mike Bush said that all of the victims of the Christchurch attack had now been identified. He also warned that people that once the amnesty period of three weeks is over, people who are still in possession of their MSSA or assault rifle will be “in all likelihood will be prosecuted,” urging people to take it seriously and to hand in their firearms.
On Friday, a gunman killed 50 people after opening fire at two mosques in the town of Christchurch in eastern New Zealand. New Zealand's Prime Minister called the shooting a terrorist act, saying it was the country's "darkest day." The suspected shooter is Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian national and a Dunedin resident. On Saturday, a court in New Zealand ruled to place Tarrant in custody until April 5.