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Post Christchurch Shootings : New Zealand Tightens Existing Gun Laws

File Picture Credit : AP
File Picture Credit : AP

New Zealand unveiled new legislation aimed at ensuring only “fit and proper” people can own guns in the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks that killed 51 Muslim worshippers reported AFP.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had immediately banned military style semi-automatic rifles after the shootings in March but said further restrictions were needed to target the black market.

“Owning a firearm is a privilege not a right,” she told reporters in Christchurch .

“That means we need to do all we can to ensure that only honest, law-abiding citizens are able to obtain firearms licences and use firearms.” Under the new legislation, a registry will be set up that is designed to track ownership of every legally owned firearm in the country.

The measure also increases the jail term for supplying firearms to an unlicensed person from three months to two years, as well as tightening gun importation and sales.

Police will determine if someone is “fit and proper” to hold a licence, with power to exclude anyone promoting extremism, convicted of violent crime or with mental health issues, including attempted suicide.

The register, expected to take five years to complete, will contain details of the estimated 1.2 million firearms in New Zealand, for a population of around five million.

Police Minister Stuart Nash said the existing gun legislation was introduced in 1983 and needed updating.

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