New Zealand to Ban Military-Style Semiautomatic Guns, Jacinda Ardern Says – The New York Times

New Zealand only registers 4 percent of its weapons. According to the police, about 250,000 people in the country own an estimated 1.2 million to 1.5 million firearms. It is unclear how many of them would be affected by the ban.

“New Zealand is at a considerable disadvantage to countries that have had registries, because there’s no way of tracing the firearms because they don’t know who’s got them,” Mr. Alpers said. “We’re relying entirely on the honesty of the gun owner to turn it in.”

Ms. Ardern said that fair compensation would be paid to all those who participate.

Noting that there would be some limited exceptions for specific purposes, especially in rural areas, she said she expected the new law to be in place by April 11, the end of Parliament’s next session.

In the interim, as of Thursday afternoon, a change in regulations would alter the licensing rules for the weapons that would eventually be banned. To avoid a rush on purchases, weapons that now require a basic A Class license will fall under an E Class gun license, which is already much harder to obtain, and which the prime minister said would now be impossible to get.

“I can assure people there is no point in applying for such a permit,” she said.

The suspect in the shootings, Brenton H. Tarrant, 28, was a licensed gun owner and member of a local gun club. An official with one gun retailer said his company had sold Mr. Tarrant four firearms along with ammunition between December 2017 — a month after Mr. Tarrant received his gun license — and March 2018.

But officials still do not know the source of a semiautomatic rifle that can be seen in a video of the attack on Al Noor Mosque, one of the two mosques the gunman targeted. The authorities say that five guns acquired legally, including two semiautomatic assault weapons, were used in the assault.

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