Christchurch terror attacks: PM Jacinda Ardern confirms gun laws will change

by RNZ / 18 March, 2019

Photo/RNZ/Rebekah Parsons-King

The Prime Minister has confirmed this morning there will be changes to New Zealand's gun laws following the massacre at Christchurch mosques on Friday.

Fifty people have died in the shootings at Al Noor and Linwood Mosques and a further 50 are injured.

Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with murder and has appeared in the Christchurch District Court.

The shooting has sparked a gun-law reform debate, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pledging the day after the massacre "our gun laws will change".

The Police Association has called for semi-automatic weapons to be banned.

The shooter in the terrorist attacks held a standard firearms licence that allowed them to own limited power semi-automatic weapons. Police said it was possible firearms had been modified.

A Council of Licenced Firearms Owners spokesperson has said there was a stringent vetting process for firearm licences in this country and military-style semi-automatic weapons should not be banned.

But they said changes might still be needed to ensure the wrong people could not get access to firearms.

Ms Ardern confirmed to Morning Report she has a set of proposals on gun-law changes which she would be taking to Cabinet today.

"Rightly ... people are asking the question 'why is it that someone with a firearms licence in New Zealand can obtain a military-style semi automatic weapon?'

"And that will be one of the discussions at Cabinet today."

She said the government would be moving as quickly as it could to make changes.

The legitimate use of firearms, such as pest control, did not require military-style semi automatic weapons, she said.

Ms Ardern said from the information she has been given by security services is they do take the threat from white supremacists seriously.

Questions have been raised as to whether intelligence-gathering efforts have been to focused on Islamic rather then right-wing extremists.

"Over the last nine months specifically [security services have] been doing more work in that space, they take very seriously allegations that are brought to them, but this still just wasn't a person who had come to their attention in that regard.

"But we need to give people an independent assurance of that, in fact the agencies want that.

"I'll be discussing that in Cabinet today."

When asked whether there would be a royal commission of enquiry into the shooting she said she did not want to pre-empt that decision because "there could be classified information that might change what type [of investigation there could be]".

She said a police presence would remain outside mosques for now, and she would be working with agencies to make sure people felt safe.

Ms Ardern said the attack has unquestionably changed New Zealand, but the country now has to ensure it did not change what New Zealanders value.

She said she has heard a strong message over the last few days that this is not the New Zealand anyone knows.

National Party leader Simon Bridges told Morning Report New Zealand's gun laws needed changing and he would make sure his party was a constructive part of the the discussion.

"I'm open to any and all changes," he said.

This article was first published on Radio NZ.

Latest

Simon Bridges searches for a miracle
108491 2019-07-17 00:00:00Z Politics

Simon Bridges searches for a miracle

by Graham Adams

The opposition leader hoped to pick up election-winning tips in Australia.

Read more
Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela on the tragedy of post-apartheid South Africa
108416 2019-07-17 00:00:00Z Profiles

Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela on the tragedy of post-apa…

by Clare de Lore

Scathing critic of South African Government corruption Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, here to give a public lecture, has insights about forgiveness after...

Read more
Writer Robert Macfarlane finds deeps truths in Underland
108287 2019-07-17 00:00:00Z Books

Writer Robert Macfarlane finds deeps truths in Und…

by Tony Murrow

In a new book, Robert Macfarlane heads underground to ponder mankind’s effect on the planet.

Read more
Why extra virgin olive oil is back on the menu for frying
108203 2019-07-17 00:00:00Z Nutrition

Why extra virgin olive oil is back on the menu for…

by Jennifer Bowden

For decades, the word in the kitchen has been that olive oil shouldn’t be used for frying, but new research could change that.

Read more
Abstract artist Gretchen Albrecht's true colours
108108 2019-07-16 00:00:00Z Profiles

Abstract artist Gretchen Albrecht's true colours

by Linda Herrick

Gretchen Albrecht paintings may be intangible, but they are triggered by real-life experience, she tells Linda Herrick.

Read more
That's a Bit Racist is playful, but it packs a punch
108435 2019-07-16 00:00:00Z Television

That's a Bit Racist is playful, but it packs a pun…

by Diana Wichtel

The taboo-busting doco is trying to change our default settings on race, but some people aren't stoked.

Read more
Are there too many tourists in NZ?
108444 2019-07-16 00:00:00Z Life in NZ

Are there too many tourists in NZ?

by North & South

Here's what's inside North and South's August 2019 issue.

Read more
Huawei's dogged determination: Can it make a breakthrough in New Zealand?
108428 2019-07-16 00:00:00Z Tech

Huawei's dogged determination: Can it make a break…

by Peter Griffin

The tech company at the centre of a trade war between the US and China is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to prove it can be trusted.

Read more