World News

New Zealand passes gun law reform bill

New Zealand passes gun law reform bill

New Zealand lawmakers have nearly unanimously passed sweeping gun reforms, paving the way for a ban on military-style semi-automatic weapons to enter into force as soon as Friday.

"I struggled to recall any single gunshot wounds". We are here for them.

Ms Ardern said it would be hard to access the number of military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles that would be handed over during the buyback.

"Every time we legislate in this house, we balance the rights of different citizens and different groups within our communities and on this occasion we say that the right of all New Zealanders to live peacefully and free from the terror that inflicted our country on the 15th of March is a more important right than the right to own these weapons".

The bill is expected to receive its Royal Assent, which rubber stamps legislation, on Thursday and take effect by the following day, four weeks to the Friday that saw 50 people killed and dozens of others injured after a gunman targeted two mosques in the South Island city of Christchurch.

The new law bans military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles and states that violators will face five years in prison.

There are some narrow exemptions including for pest control, collectors, heirlooms and mementos. More than 300 weapons had already been handed in, police minister Stuart Nash told Parliament.

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Current owners of the now-banned firearms will have until the end of September to return their weapons for compensation under a buyback program.

She told them that by voting near-unanimously in favour of the bill they were doing the right thing for the victims of the 15 March massacre.

Standing alone against the ban was the libertarian Act party's sole MP, David Seymour, who lamented the pace the legislation was passed, despite agreeing some change was needed.

Ardern said that there was some opposition from firearms owners, but that the response to the proposed legislation was overwhelmingly positive.

"We are ultimately here because 50 people died and they do not have a voice. We in this House are their voice, and today Mr Speaker, we have used that voice wisely", Ms Ardern said. If you believe, like us, that they do not, you should be able to believe we can move swiftly. "There have been very few occasions when I have seen Parliament come together in this way and I can not imagine circumstances where that is more necessary than it is now".

"My question here is simple", she said.

The law makes it illegal to possess the prohibited weapons in New Zealand. "An argument about process is an argument to do nothing".


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