Six months after the mass shooting in Christchurch that left 51 Muslim worshippers dead the New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced legislation on Friday that aims to further tighten the country’s gun laws.
Weak laws on firearms were identified as a key reason why a self-proclaimed white supremacist was able to own semi-automatic weapons, which he then used to kill people gathered at two mosques for Friday prayers on March 15.
Australian Brenton Tarrant has been charged for the attack and has pleaded not guilty. His trial will begin in June 2020.
The government had near-unanimous parliamentary support when it earlier banned military-style semi-automatics (MSSAs) in the first round of reforms, which took place within weeks of the attack, New Zealand’s worst peacetime, peacekeeping, peacekeepers mass shooting.
“Owning a firearm is a privilege not a right,” Ardern said in a statement announcing the latest reforms on Friday.
“That attack exposed weaknesses in legislation, which we have the power to fix. We would not be a responsible government if we didn’t address them,” she said.
The new bill, details of which have already been made public, will have its first reading on September 24 and includes the creation of a registry to monitor and track every firearm legally held in New Zealand.
It also tightens rules on a licensing and will mean individuals have to renew their licence every five years instead of every 10.