New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Thursday (22 March) that the country will be imposing a ban on military-style semi-automatic weapons, assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, The Guardian reported.
The sweeping new ban order comes just six days after a mass shooting in two mosques in Christchurch that killed 50 people.
Addressing a conference in Wellington, Ardern said “On 15 March our history changed forever. Now our laws will too. We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place”.
“Every semi-automatic weapon used in the terror attack on Friday will be banned,” Ardern promised.
Arden also said that the legislation will be “drafted and introduced in urgency”.
Ardern also directed officials to evolve a gun-buyback scheme for those who already own such weapons. She promised that a “fair and reasonable compensation” would be paid.
According to estimates by authorities, there are close to 1.2 million guns in the country. The government’s decision to buying them back, will cost the country anywhere between $100 million and $200 million.
New Zealand’s swift response to the shooting incident has renewed calls in United States to re look at the gun laws.
Senator Bernie Sanders, one of the contenders for Democratic nomination for US presidential election tweeted that US must follow New Zealand’s lead, take on the NRA and ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons.
Pro-gun activists however maintain that New Zealand’s aggressive action to ban ownership of previously legal guns, and enact a mandatory buyback, would never be viable in the US given that US constitution provides an inalienable right to bear arms and to self-defence.
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