In the aftermath of the Christchurch shooting in New Zealand, the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had announced that legislation for a semi-automatic weapons ban was in motion and hopefully would be in place by April 11th. On April 10th, that vote was a near unanimous 119-1 in favor of the legislation. The law will be granted royal assent by the New Zealand Governor-General and come into force as law as soon as Friday, April 12th.
Part of the legislation will include amnesty to current owners in a buyback program.
On March 21st, Ardern said “Now, six days after the 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 banned, along with high-capacity magazines.”
The legislation estimates that the buy-back will cost between $100-$200 million AUD, or $70-$140 million US Dollars. “This is the price that we must pay to ensure the safety of our communities” said the Prime Minister.
The gunman, Brenton Tarrant, had used an AR-15 during the shooting on March 15th, which is believed to have been modified with a high-capacity magazine. Tarrant was also discovered to have obtained a firearm license in New Zealand in 2017.
The PM addressed the impact this legislation will have on current gun owners and addressed how farmers will still be able to own firearms used for pest control and animal welfare. Exemptions will be applied to firearms that include .22 caliber rifles and shotguns commonly used for duck hunting.
Measures will be imposed to prevent a rush of gun buying before the law is implemented, as is usual when governments implement new gun control laws.
New Zealand’s police minister, Stuart Nash, spoke on the matter, “I want to remind that it is a privilege and not a right to own a firearm in New Zealand.” As opposed to the US, where the right to bear arms is an inalienable right.
Once the amnesty period ends, any possession of the banned weapons will face a fine of up to $4,000 and three years in jail.
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