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New Zealand cabinet agrees on tougher gun laws in principle: PM

New Zealand cabinet agrees on tougher gun laws in principle: PM

Brenton Tarrant was charged with one count of murder and appeared at Christchurch District Court on Saturday after the rampage during Friday prayers which left 50 people dead.

The calm and compassion shown by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in response to the killing of 50 Muslims by a suspected white supremacist has burnished the credentials of a leader whose youth and celebrity had given critics' doubts.

Tarrant, who formerly lived in Grafton in the same region where the police searches took place, has been remanded without a plea and is due back in court on April 5 where police said he was likely to face more charges.

Police in New Zealand said the video was now classified as an "objectionable publication", making it an offence to distribute or possess the material.

New Zealand's top online marketplace Trade Me Group said it was halting the sale of semi-automatic weapons after Friday's attack.

Sputnik discussed the issue of firearms in New Zealand with Rebecca Peters, former chair of the Australian National Coalition for Gun Control at the time of the Port Arthur massacre in 1996. Because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion, a home for those who share our values, refuge for those who need it. The guns laws in Australia used to be like the gun laws in New Zealand but they were tightened in 1996-1997 after the tragedy that occurred here.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said Mr Tarrant was not on any watch lists, while NSW Police said he was known in Australia only for minor traffic matters.

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"On behalf of all New Zealanders, we grieve together".

Authorities say they hope to release all the bodies by Wednesday. For previous governments, it has not been a priority as despite rising ownership, New Zealand has until now had relatively few gun-related deaths.

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

A Radio New Zealand report, based on police data secured through an Official Information Act request, said more than 99 per cent of people who applied for a firearms licence in 2017 were successful. After the country's last mass shooting in 1990, where 13 people including local police were killed in the seaside town of Aramoana, changes were made to firearm legislation including some restrictions on semiautomatic firearms and the requirement for 10-year licenses.

Reigning Super Rugby champions Canterbury Crusaders, who play in Christchurch, said on Monday they would consider changing their name after criticism that it was historically insensitive.

The events have shocked New Zealand, a peaceful nation of just under five million people in the South Pacific where gun violence is relatively rare.

She also said there were "questions to be answered" about the role social media played in disseminating video of the attack and confirmed she had been contacted by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, in the wake of the shootings.