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New Zealand parliament votes to change gun laws

Breaking the new law could result in a 10-year sentence

SAMAA | - Posted: Apr 11, 2019 | Last Updated: 3 years ago
Posted: Apr 11, 2019 | Last Updated: 3 years ago

Al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue in New Zealand's Christchurch. Photo: EPA

New Zealand’s parliament voted on Wednesday to ban military-style semi-automatic weapons following the Christchurch attacks, reported BBC.

The gun reform bill was passed 119-1 after the final reading in parliament. It must now receive royal assent from the governor-general to become a law.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced changes to the law after 50 people were killed last month by a terrorist at two mosques in Christchurch.

Ardern told parliament that MPs were there “because of the victims and families”. She said that when she had visited the injured in the hospital none of them had had just one gunshot wound.

“They will carry disabilities for a lifetime and that’s before you consider the psychological impact,” she said.

Related: New Zealand orders top-level inquiry into mosque massacres

“These weapons were designed to kill, and they were designed to maim and that is what they did on the 15th of March.”

“There have been very few occasions when I have seen parliament come together in this way and I can’t imagine circumstances when it is more necessary,” Ardern said, presenting the legislation.

She banned the sale of all military-style semi-automatics and assault rifles just six days after the March 15 shooting, and announced plans to tighten gun laws. Those breaking the new laws will face between two and 10 years in jail. An amnesty scheme will be in place until the end of September.

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