New Zealand bans assault rifles in aftermath of Christchurch mosque shootings
New Zealand's prime minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that all military-style semi-automatic weapons, assault rifles and high-capacity magazines will be banned in New Zealand following the mass shootings at two Christchurch mosques that killed 50 people.
In a statement during a press conference in Wellington, Ardern said: "On 15 March, our history changed forever. Now our laws will too. We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place.
"Every semi-automatic weapon used in the terror attack on Friday will be banned. This legislation will be drafted and introduced in urgency".
Ardern said she hopes the law would be in place by 11 April.
Legislation will allow owners of the soon-to-be banned weapons to hand them in at any police station and a buy-back scheme will follow. The government estimates this will cost NZ$100 - $200 million.
Once a three-week amnesty period ends, anyone in possession of a banned weapon would face a fine of up to NZ$4,000 and three years in jail.
Police commissioner Mike Bush added: "The first step is to encourage people to do it voluntarily. I’m sure that the majority of people will do so. We will then be working with people to ascertain if they haven’t complied and once that period of grace or amnesty goes those people can, and in all likelihood will be prosecuted.
"So I encourage everyone in that situation so that you don’t become subject to prosecution, to contact us immediately or within the next few days at least."