Jacinda Ardern: New Zealand government changes gun laws

Last updated at 08:39
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda ArdernHagen Hopkins/Getty Images
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said 'our gun laws will change' in a press conference following attacks on two Christchurch mosques

The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, has announced a ban on the sale of all types of semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles .

It comes after shootings at two mosques, which took place last Friday, where 50 people died and many were left injured. An Australian man has been charged with murder.

Ms Ardern said she expected new laws to be in place by 11 April, saying: "Our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too."

Previous attempts to tighten gun laws in New Zealand have failed due to opposition from pro-gun organisations and a the popularity of hunting in the country.

What are New Zealand's current gun laws?
The Gun City store is seen on the outskirts of Christchurch on March 18, 2019AFP / Getty Images
A gun shop in the city of Christchurch

The minimum age at which you can own a gun in New Zealand is 16, or 18 for military-style semi-automatic weapons.

Anyone over those ages who is considered by police to be "fit and proper" can own one.

All owners must have a licence to own a gun, but most individual weapons do not have to be registered. New Zealand is one of the few countries where this is the case.

People applying for a licence to own a gun have to pass a background check of their criminal and medical records.

Once a licence has been issued, gun owners can buy as many weapons as they want.

How are the gun laws changing?
A little boy places flowers at a memorial outside the Linwood Mosque in Christchurch, New ZealandNurPhoto/Getty Images
A little boy places flowers at a memorial outside the Linwood Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand

New Zealand will ban all types of semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles.

The prime minister has now announced an amnesty and a buy-back scheme, so anyone who currently owns affected weapons could hand them in and get some money back.

Once the amnesty period ends, anyone in possession of a banned weapon would face a fine of up to NZ$4,000 and three years in jail.

Students gather in a vigil to commemorate victims the Christchurch mosque shootingReuters

Many public vigils have been held across New Zealand over the weekend for the victims of the attacks, and more have taken place this week.

On Monday afternoon, about 3,000 high school and college students held a vigil in Hagley Park near the Al Noor mosque - one of the two mosques attacked on Friday.

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  • Comment number 2. Posted by violetrosemermaid

    18 Mar 2019 17:26
    I can't believe someone has the heart to do this. Correction if they have done this they have no heart. We are all here for the families of those who unfortunately lost their life and the people in hospital. 8 am sending my love to you from the other side of the world❤️😢🏥💞
  • Comment number 1. Posted by U17509618

    18 Mar 2019 9:06
    Wow... this is so sad! why would sombody do this