| 21.03,19. 01:20 PM |
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern announces post-Christchurch ban on military-style semi-automatic weapons, assault rifles
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a plan to ban military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles in the wake of a terrorist attack that killed 50 people in Christchurch.
Ms Ardern said the ban would also apply to high-capacity magazines, all parts with the ability to convert firearms into semi-automatic-style weapons and parts that cause "close to automatic gunfire".
She said the law would be in place by April 11, at the end of the next two-week sitting session.
"In short, every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country," she said.
While the legislation is being prepared, immediate changes to licensing regulations will restrict the purchase of the weapons.
No-one will be able to buy the weapons from now without a permit from the police.
The Prime Minister said the Government would introduce a buyback scheme to ensure "fair and reasonable compensation" was paid to owners of the weapons.
She expected the program could cost the country between $NZ100 million ($96 million) and $NZ200 million ($192 million).
Ms Ardern said there would be an amnesty period after the legislation passed, allowing people a reasonable amount of time to hand back their weapons.
She said she did not want to punish owners who used their guns for legitimate reasons.
"I have been steadfast in my belief that the vast majority of these owners will support what we are doing here today because it is about all of us," she said.
"It is in the national interest and it is about safety.
"I will work hard to retain that support as we work on the remaining tranches of reform that we must make to prevent an act of terror happening in our country ever again."
New Zealand Police Minister Stuart Nash said it was important the Government made the decision to ban the weapons.
"These measures will make a real difference to enable New Zealand to become a safer place," he said.
"As the Prime Minister has already said, the time to act is now."