PM Jacinda Ardern announces reforms on NZ gun laws

By Tema Hemi

Government was still in lockdown today with a heavy police presence surrounding parliament house, as Cabinet Ministers met today to discuss the way forward for gun legislation and the banning of all semi automatic weapons in the country. 

Security was on high alert in the nations capital when Cabinet Ministers met this morning to discuss a full legislative change for the purchasing and registering of semi automatic weapons in New Zealand. 

An AR-15 was used in the attack in Christchurch, and to obtain an AR-15 in New Zealand, buyers must have a standard, current firearms licence and an approved police order form. 

Fundamental changes of gun control laws within Australia followed the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996, and as a result of the tragedy the Australian government put in place a 'gun buyback' program which was also discussed today.

Prime Minister Jacinda Adern says, "Cabinet today made in principal decisions around the reform of our gun laws. I intend to give further detail of these decisions to the media and the public before Cabinet meets again next Monday.

"This ultimately means that within ten days of the horrific act of terrorism we would have announced reform I believe will make our communities safer.  As a cabinet we were absolutely unified and very clear the terror attack on Christchurch on Friday was the worst act of terrorism on our shores. It was in fact globally in recent times. It has exposed a range of weaknesses in New Zealand's gun laws. In the intervening period we will be working hard and as quickly as we can to finalise some of the details around the decisions cabinet has made today and the consequences of it. "

The Māori Council called for a review of the current state of guns and registered weapons in New Zealand.

Chairman of the Māori Council Matthem Tukaki says, "Its really urgent, the Prime Minister has already indicated  these are grave times, and this is what the Māori Council are saying, lets use the opportunity right now to review who actually owns the more than 1.5 million firearms currently registered and in circulation. But its also a bigger concern that there appears to be tens of thousands of unlicensed firearms out there at the moment. So the first thing is to do a stock take of the firearms they we've got try and figure out what the next step needs to be whether its a buyback scheme or whatever."