New Zealand officially introduces bill banning guns used in mosque attack

The New Zealand government introduced legislation on Monday that would ban the types of weapons used by the gunman in a terror attack that targeted two mosques in Christchurch last month and left 50 people dead.

The bill’s introduction marks the next step in passing gun control legislation that was announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the days following last month's terror attack. At the time, Ardern said that the country would soon ban "every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack.” 

Police Minister Stuart Nash, who introduced the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill, said that the law would take effect on April 12 if politicians pass the legislation, as expected, according to The Associated Press.

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"This will mean that within four weeks of the Christchurch terrorist attack, New Zealand will have passed legislation banning all military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles," Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters told local media this week.

The bill reportedly has bipartisan support and could possibly pass unanimously among the 120 lawmakers in the country’s Parliament.

“These are guns that are designed to kill people,” Nash said.

Nash said one of the weapons used in the Christchurch terror attack was an AR-15-style rifle. He also said the shooter was able to legally purchase  semi-automatic guns and high-capacity magazines under the country’s current legislation and used them to create military-style arms.

Each of the weapons used in the shooting would be banned under the legislation, Nash said.

According to The Associated Press, the new bill would make it illegal for people in New Zealand to own parts that can be used to construct weapons prohibited under the ban.

The measure would also reportedly ban semi-automatic shotguns that can be used with detachable magazines or those capable of holding more than five cartridges.