SYDNEY: New Zealand’s new gun laws were officially signed into effect Thursday, formally banning military-style semi-automatic weapons less than a month after a white supremacist gunman killed 50 worshippers inside two Christchurch mosques, reports AFP.
Governor General Patsy Reddy signed the legislation late Thursday, with the Royal Assent the final stage before it becomes law at midnight.The new rules are aimed at removing semi-automatic firearms from circulation through a buy-back scheme, prohibition and harsh prison sentences.
They prohibit “semi-automatic firearms, magazines, and parts that can be used to assemble prohibited firearms.”
New Zealand police on Thursday began preparations for the mass buy-back scheme, advising the amnesty is now in place for the newly prohibited weapons.
“We are committed to work in partnership with our firearms community across New Zealand to make this transition to the new laws as easy as possible for everybody,” deputy commissioner Michael Clement told reporters.
Authorities have made public a list of affected firearms and have asked gun owners to contact police if they now find themselves in possession of a prohibited guns, with the buy-back details still to be finalised.
“We ask for people to be patient while we work through development of robust processes around large-scale collection of firearms, exemption processes and developing a buy-back compensation scheme,” Clement added.Meanwhile, New Zealand police on Thursday arrested a man spotted in a “Trump” tee-shirt hurling abuse at worshippers outside one of the Christchurch mosques where dozens were killed in a massacre last month.
Police said the 33-year-old man had “shaken” the Muslim community late Wednesday at the Al Noor mosque by shouting abuse at people.
“Our community has no tolerance for those who target or victimise others because of their identity, and nor does police,” Canterbury district commander superintendent John Price said in a statement Wednesday.