New Zealand lawmakers pass sweeping gun laws after massacre

Lawmakers in New Zealand on Wednesday approved sweeping gun restrictions banning most semiautomatic weapons, including the type of weapon used by a gunman in terror attacks last month at two mosques that left 50 people dead.

Legislation banning those weapons was approved by 119 of Parliament's 120 lawmakers and is expected to become law Friday after being signed by the country's governor general, according to The Associated Press.


The bill, which was introduced earlier this month, bans military-style semiautomatic weapons and parts that can be used to build weapons outlawed under the legislation. The gunman in last month's attack used an AR-15. 

Owners of the banned weapons will have until the end of September to turn them over as part of a buyback program, according to The Washington Post.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Wednesday that she "can recall very vividly the moment I knew that we would need to be here, doing what we are doing right now," the Post reported.

“I could not fathom how weapons that could cause such destruction and large-scale death could have been obtained legally in this country,” she added. “We are ultimately here because 50 people died, and they do not have a voice."