New Zealand Attorney General David Baker, who announced Friday that the country would ban semiautomatic weapons, said Saturday the government has not yet reached that conclusion, Radio New Zealand reported. “Those decisions have yet to be taken but the prime minister signalled that we are going to look at that issue,” Baker told the RNZ, adding that he intended only to lend support to the prime minister’s remarks, not go any further.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern unequivocally stated Friday that, “our gun laws will change,” after announcing that the suspected shooter, Australian Brenton Tarrant, had obtained the weapons used to kill 49 people legally. Ardern did not elaborate on specific legislative or regulatory proposals. The country already has far stricter gun laws than the United States does — unlike Americans, New Zealanders do not have a constitutional right to bear arms.
The Guardian reports:
On Monday, government officials plan to hold a cabinet meeting which will “focus on the ease with which legal weapons can be modified to become military-style assault rifles, which are more strictly controlled.”
During a Saturday press conference, Ardern said the gunman had two semi-automatic weapons, two shotguns, and a lever-action firearm (five firearms in total). All were legally purchased but were illegally modified.
According to New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush, the shooter had “category-A” license. “A category-A firearm holder can purchase the firearms without the magazines or the things that will enable them to be in the state that they were,” Bush said.