Semi-automatics and assault rifles banned

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The New Zealand government has announced that it is banning forthwith Military style Semi-automatics and assault rifles and action to prevent stock-piling.

Prime Minister issued the following Statement on stronger gun laws.

On March 15, 2019, 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.

Cabinet agreed to overhaul the law when it met on Monday (March 18, 2019), 72 hours after the horrific terrorism act in Christchurch.

Now, six days after this attack, we are announcing a ban on all military style Semi-automatics (MSSA) and assault rifles in New Zealand.

Related parts used to convert these guns into MSSAs are also being banned, along with all high-capacity magazines.

Amnesty and Buyback

An amnesty will be put in place for weapons to be handed in, and Cabinet has directed officials to develop a buyback scheme. Further details will be announced on the buyback in due course.

All Semi-automatic weapons used during the terrorist attack on Friday 15 March will be banned. I strongly believe that the vast majority of legitimate gun owners in New Zealand will understand that these moves are in the national interest, and will take these changes in their stride.

Some exceptions

When Australia undertook similar reforms, their approach was to allow for exemptions for farmers upon application, including for pest control and animal welfare.

We have taken similar action to identify the weapons legitimately required in those areas, and preclude them.

Legislation to give effect to the ban will be introduced when Parliament sits in the first week of April. We will provide a short, sharp Select Committee process for feedback on the technical aspects of the changes. We are looking to progress the amendments to this legislation under urgency and expect these amendments to the Arms Act to be passed within the next session of Parliament.

About the Legislation

Police Minister Stuart Nash said, “he Bill will include narrow exemptions for legitimate business use, which would include professional pest control. Police and the Defence Force will also have exemptions. Issues like access for mainstream international sporting competitions are also being worked through.

“We have also acknowledged that some guns serve legitimate purposes in our farming communities, and have therefore set out exemptions for 0.22 calibre rifles and shotguns commonly used for duck hunting. These will have limitations around their capacity.

“While the legislation is being drafted, I am announcing that the government will take immediate action today to restrict the potential stock-piling of these guns and encourage people to continue to surrender their firearms.

Order in Council issued

Earlier this afternoon, an Order in Council under section 74A (c) of the Arms Act was signed by the Governor-General to reclassify a wider range of Semi-automatic weapons under the Act. It came into effect at 3 pm on March 21, 2019.

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern comforts a Muslim woman in Christchurch (Photo Supplied)

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