New Zealand Announces New Round of Gun Restrictions

New Zealand on Monday unveiled the second round of restrictions on gun ownership in the aftermath of a deadly shooting at two mosques in Christchurch earlier this year.

The new rules include establishing a gun registry, banning gun purchases by foreign visitors, and requiring gun owners to renew licenses every five years, instead of every 10. 

The proposed changes will “enshrine in law that owning a firearm is a privilege” rather than a right, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

Wellington moved swiftly after the attacks in March that killed 51 people and wounded dozens. 

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the media during a Post Cabinet media press conference at Parliament in Wellington on March 18, 2019.
New Zealand Announces Assault Weapons Ban in Wake of Christchurch Mass Shootings
Nearly one week after 50 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand were gunned down, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern imposed an immediate ban on all military-style semi-automatic and automatic assault rifles.

The ban, which Prime Minister Ardern announced Thursday in Wellington, includes high-capacity magazines, which can hold multiple rounds of ammunition, and accessories that can convert ordinary rifles into fast-acting assault rifles.

Six days after the attack, Ardern announced a ban on semiautomatic weapons, including the type used by the gunman in the attacks. 

Since then the government has launched a buyback program to compensate people for the outlawed semi-automatics, and has collected and destroyed more than 3,200 weapons. The gun buyback and amnesty runs until December.

Police Minister Stuart Nash said the new law would allow police to monitor people’s social media accounts to determine whether they were fit to own weapons.

“What we do know is that the Christchurch terrorist was engaged on some sites which were promoting some pretty horrific material,” Nash said. “So that’s one thing police will have the ability to assess when they determine if someone is fit and proper to have a firearms license.”

The new legislation is expected to be introduced into the Parliament next month. After that, it will be subject to three months of public feedback, before it is voted on by lawmakers.

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