New Zealand introduces new gun control bills six months after Christchurch massacre

New Zealand introduces new gun control bills six months after Christchurch massacre
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Lawmakers in New Zealand have introduced legislation to create a registry of all firearms in the country after a deadly shooting in Christchurch earlier this year targeting Muslim worshipers left more than 50 people dead.

The Associated Press reported that the bill introduced Friday in Parliament would also double the frequency with which gun owners must renew their licenses and create restrictions for doctors allowing them to indicate whether a patient should not own a firearm.

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters at a press conference that firearm ownership was a "privilege, not a right," and added that she was focused on preventing a similar attack to the March shooting that killed 51 people.

“We absolutely recognize there is a legitimate need in our communities to be able to access guns, particularly our rural community,” she said. “But what these changes do is recognize that actually there’s a real responsibility that comes with gun ownership.”

Lawmakers reportedly believe the legislation could pass before the end of the year. March's shooting at two mosques in the city was the deadliest incident the country has faced in more than two decades.

A buyback plan previously launched by the country in March has also forced residents to turn in assault weapons after the country banned such devices following the Christchurch attack.