New Zealand lawmakers pass initial vote for new gun restrictions

Lawmakers in New Zealand on Tuesday reportedly voted in support of a bill that would ban the types of weapons used by a gunman in terror attacks last month at two mosques that left 50 people dead.

Tuesday's vote on the bill was the first of three that lawmakers need to pass before the legislation becomes law, according to the Associated Press. The AP reported that both liberals and conservatives supported the bill and that only one of the 120 lawmakers in Parliament voted against it.


Police Minister Stuart Nash told the AP too many people have access to firearms, adding that lawmakers need to protect public safety. 

“We are also driven by the memory of 50 men, women and children who were taken from their loved ones on the 15th of March,” Nash said. “Their memory is our responsibility. We don’t ever want to see an attack like this in our country again. We are compelled to act quickly.”

The one lawmaker who voted against the bill, David Seymour, told reporters that the process was too rushed, according to the AP.

“Doing it in nine days before politicians go on their Easter break is starting to look more like political theater than public safety,” he said.

The vote came after the bill was officially introduced earlier Tuesday. In addition to banning the weapons used by the attacker in last month's shooting, the bill would also make it illegal to own parts that can be used to build weapons prohibited under the bill.