New Zealand to ban foreign visitors from buying guns

New Zealand to ban foreign visitors from buying guns
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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday announced the second set of sweeping gun reform proposals following mass shootings at two mosques earlier this year.

The New York Times reports the changes would bring a ban on gun purchases by foreigners and would establish a mandatory gun registry.

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Ardern said the legislation further restricting guns in the country will enshrine in law that owning a firearm is a privilege rather than a right.

The new rules would mean any foreign visitors to the country, classified as anyone planning to stay in New Zealand for less than a year, would be barred from buying guns. Those wishing to hunt in New Zealand would be forced to rent guns or bring their own and register them with police.

Ardern acted swiftly following the attacks on the mosques in March, which killed more than 50 people and injured several more.

She announced a ban on semiautomatic weapons just six days after the shootings that took place during Friday Prayer services at the two Christchurch mosques. The gunman reportedly used an AR-15-style rifle in the shootings.

The New Zealand Parliament nearly unanimously passed the bill banning the possession of such firearms the following month.

“The suite of measures would have made it considerably harder for the terrorist to purchase guns in the way he did,” Ardern said Monday in a statement. “He would have had to pass a good character test and the register would have alerted the police to the type of gun purchases the terrorist was making.”

After New Zealand quickly passed the laws, Arden said she does not “understand the United States” and its inaction on stricter gun legislation following mass shootings in the country.