New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has promised changes to the country’s gun laws in the wake of yesterday’s terror attacks, in which 49 people were killed in shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch.
Addressing a press conference in Wellington, Ardern said that the Australian man suspected of carrying out the shooting was in possession of “category A” gun license, which allowed him to legally obtain a number of weapons, including semi-automatic firearms and shotguns, in 2017.
The Prime Minister told reporters:
“While work has been done as to the chain of events that led to both the holding of this gun licence and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now, our gun laws will change. There have been attempts to change our laws in 2005, 2012 and after an inquiry in 2017. Now is the time for change. There are obviously questions being asked of how this person was able to enter the country and undertake this act of terror.”
“I have instructed ODESC (Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Coordination) to report to Cabinet on Monday on these events with a view to strengthening our systems on a range of fronts including, but not limited to, firearms, border controls, enhanced information-sharing with Australia, and any practice reinforcement of our watch list processes.”
Jacina Ardern concluded her speech with a statement on New Zealand values, saying:
“I want to finish by saying that while the nation grapples with a form of grief and anger that we have not experienced before, we are seeking answers. As is the entire nation, we are all unified in grieving together … Rhetoric of racism, division and extremism has no place not only in New Zealand but I would say in a society as a whole.”