New Zealand's tough new gun laws easily pass first hurdle

Updated: Apr 03, 2019, 10:03 IST | Agencies | Wellington

Lawmakers voted 119-1 in favour of the bill, which bans military-style semi-automatic (MSSA) rifles like those used in the March 15 rampage by a white supremacist which claimed 50 lives

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern

New legislation to tighten New Zealand gun laws in the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings drew overwhelming support when it was introduced to parliament on Tuesday. Lawmakers voted 119-1 in favour of the bill, which bans military-style semi-automatic (MSSA) rifles like those used in the March 15 rampage by a white supremacist which claimed 50 lives.

The sole holdout against the legislation was David Seymour, a conservative whose ACT Party has a single seat in parliament. Seymour criticised the speed with which his colleagues were handling the legislation, fast-tracking a process that usually takes months so that the law will take effect by the end of next week.

Police Minister Stuart Nash Nash was unapologetic about the hurried timetable for outlawing MSSAs, which will see the ban put to the vote twice more before it would formally become law. "We don't ever want to see an attack like this in our country again," he said, "We are compelled to act quickly." Further curbs - potentially including a gun register, tighter vetting and stricter gun storage rules - are set to be passed by the end of the year.

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