New Zealand Shooting Live Updates: ‘There Will Be Changes’ to Gun Laws, Prime Minister Says – The New York Times
Gun regulations under review
Ms. Ardern said that her government would discuss the New Zealand’s gun laws at a meeting on Monday.
“There will be changes to our gun laws,” she said at an afternoon news conference.
She also said she would look into reports that there had been a surge in gun sales in New Zealand since the attack on Friday.
The shooting has vaulted New Zealand into what could be a divisive political battle over gun control in the country, where an extraordinary number of people own weapons, with few restrictions. The authorities say the suspect in the assault used five guns he had acquired legally, including two semiautomatic assault weapons.
Within hours of the Friday killings, the prime minister promised changes to gun laws and said regulations of semiautomatic weapons were “one of the issues.” New Zealand’s attorney general, David Parker, appeared to go beyond that statement at a vigil for the victims on Saturday, indicating that semiautomatic weapons would be banned, but he later backtracked. Mr. Parker told Radio New Zealand that had been trying to reflect Ms. Ardern’s comments that “we need to ban some semiautomatics, perhaps all of them.”
“Those decisions have yet to be taken, but the prime minister has signaled that we are going to look at that issue,” Mr. Parker told the broadcaster.
Licensed New Zealand gun owners pushed back. The Kiwi Gun Blog, a gun-rights online publication, said that among the mosque shooter’s goals, one was “to cause the gun rights of responsible New Zealanders to be attacked.” It said “our prime minister is now capitulating with him.”
There is no dispute that acquiring a military-style semiautomatic weapon is relatively easy in New Zealand, where guns are plentiful. According to a 2017 small arms survey, there are more than 1.2 million firearms among the population of 4.6 million.