New Zealand quickly moves to reform gun laws after mosque massacre that killed 50, and promises detailed proposals within 10 days

  • New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday that the country will have a concrete proposal for new gun control laws within 10 days of Friday’s mass shooting in the city of Christchurch.
  • On Monday, Ardern said the attack “exposed a range of weaknesses in New Zealand’s gun laws,” proposing immediate reforms.
  • “These aren’t simple areas of law. So that’s simply what we’ll be taking the time to get right,” she said.
  • On Friday, at least 50 people were killed when a man opened fire on worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, using a military-grade semi-automatic weapon.
  • 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant was charged with murder on Friday and appeared in court on Saturday.

New Zealand has agreed to move forward with tighter gun control, three days after a man killed at least 50 worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch.

“Within 10 days of this horrific act of terrorism we will have announced reforms which will, I believe, make our community safer,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a news conference on Monday.

Ardern said the terror attacks on city’s Al Noor and Linwood mosques “exposed a range of weaknesses in New Zealand’s gun laws.”

At 1:40 p.m. local time on Friday, a man opened fire on worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch with a semi-automatic weapon, killing 50 and injuring scores more.

The suspect, Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, was charged with murder late on Friday. He appeared in court on Saturday, made a white power sign, and reportedly smirked at media in attendance.


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Ardern said on Monday: “These aren’t simple areas of law. So that’s simply what we’ll be taking the time to get right.”

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting on Friday Ardern had told media: “I can tell you one thing right now: our gun laws will change. There have been attempts to change our laws in 2005, 2012 and after an inquiry in 2017. Now is the time for change.”

The man charged in the case bought several guns with ammunition online from Christchurch’s ‘Gun City’ store between November 2017 and March 2018, the company’s owner David Tipple said in a press conference on Monday.

The semi-automatic assault rifle believed to have been used in the attack was not sold by Gun City, he said.

On Sunday, New Zealand’s attorney general David Parker said the Government would likely ban semi-automatic rifles, but then back-tracked.

New Zealand’s gun laws are fairly unique. Would-be gun owners have to be 16 to own a gun and 18 to use a semi-automatic weapon, according to the 1983 Arms Act.

Licenses are mandatory, but each individual weapon does not have to be brought to the attention of the licencor, unless they are military-grade, like semi-automatic weapons.

Background checks are in place for those who want a licence, which include criminal and medical records.

New Zealand Police said that the suspect was not on a terror watch list, and Tipple said they saw nothing unusual in the gun licence the suspect used to purchase weapons.

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