CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand – Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday announced a national ban on all military-style semi-automatic weapons, all high-capacity ammunition magazines and all parts that allow weapons to be modified into the kinds of guns used to kill 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch last week.
"What we're banning today are the things used in last Friday's attack," she said, adding: "It's about all of us, it's in the national interest, and it's about safety."
Ardern is expected to encounter little resistance in Parliament to the weapons ban.
She said her goal was to eliminate from New Zealand the weapons that the killer used in Christchurch. She emphasized that it would require a mix of regulation regarding both firearms and ammunition.
"The guns used in these terrorist attacks had important distinguishing features," she said at a news conference at Parliament in Wellington, the capital. "First big capacity and also their delivery. They had the power to shoot continuously but they also had large-capacity magazines."
Chris Cahill, president of the Police Association, the union representing the nation's police officers, praised Ardern's plan, saying his group had been calling for such measures for years.
Her swift action comes as Christchurch has begun burying those who died in the massacre.
"We will ban parts that cause a firearm to generate semiautomatic, automatic or close-to-automatic gunfire," she said. "In short, every semi-automatic weapon used in the terror attack on Friday will be banned in this country."
Ardern said she expected the new law to be in place by April 11, with the next session of Parliament.
In the interim, as of Thursday afternoon, a change in regulations would alter the licensing rules for the weapons that would eventually be banned, meaning they would require 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.
NEW YORK TIMES