New Zealand will ban semi-automatic rifles, Attorney-General David Parker said on Saturday and was greeted loudly by a crowd here on vigil after the horrific killing of 49 people in Christchurch shootings
Parker was meeting a vigil group at the Auckland’s Aotea Square a day after 49 people were gunned down at two Christchurch mosques in a brazen attack that the culprits curated for social media, New Zealand Herald reported.
The Attorney-General warned of a global rise of extremism. “There is a dimming of enlightenment in many parts of the world. How can it be right for this atrocity to be filmed by the murderer using a go-pro and live-streamed across the world by social media companies? How can that be right? Who should be held accountable for that?”
Parker’s comments came minutes after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announced that gun laws would change during her meeting with Islamic Community in Christchurch where she met and mourned with victim families.
Speaking to media in Wellington earlier, Ardern stressed that “now was the time for change.” Five guns were used by the primary perpetrator, including two semi-automatic weapons, and two shotguns, she added.
“The offender was in possession of a gun licence,” Ardern said. She said the guns were purchased in December last year, New Zealand Herald said.
“While work is being done as to the chain of events that lead to both the holding of this gun licence and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now; our gun laws will change,” She said, adding that there had been attempts to change the national gun laws in 2005, 2012 and after an inquiry in 2017.
“Now is the time for change,” she stated.
Australian-born Brenton Tarrant, the right-wing extremist who attacked two mosques in the Christchurch city of New Zealand on Friday and killed 49 worshippers, filming and live streaming the entire terror act, was produced in court on Saturday and has been charged with one count of murder.
At least 49 people were killed and 48 others injured when at least two gunmen, said to be right-wing extremists, opened indiscriminate fire during Friday prayers at two mosques here on Friday.
While 41 people died in the Masjid al Noor, the attack on the smaller Linwood mosque left seven dead. The remaining victim died in hospital.
The survivors included 17 members of the Bangladesh cricket team, who were about to enter the Christchurch mosque for Friday prayers when they were alerted about the attack. They managed to escape unhurt.
(With inputs from IANS)