Saturday 23 March 2019

'New Zealand's gun laws will change' - Prime Minister vows as 49 killed in attacks on mosques

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the media after at least 49 people are confirmed dead and more than 40 people injured following attacks on two mosques in Christchurch (Photo by Mark Tantrum/Getty Images)
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the media after at least 49 people are confirmed dead and more than 40 people injured following attacks on two mosques in Christchurch (Photo by Mark Tantrum/Getty Images)

Praveen Menon

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the suspect in the Christchurch shooting traveled around the world and was not a long-term resident in the country.

Ms Ardern told a news conference in the capital Wellington that the man was an Australian citizen “who traveled sporadically to New Zealand and stayed for varied amount of time.”

“I would not describe him as a long-term resident,” she said.

She said he was, however, not on the watch list in New Zealand or Australia.

The gunman shot dead 49 people and wounded more than 40 at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday.

Ms Ardern said following the incident, the country’s gun laws will have to change. She added that nationalities affected by the attack include Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Malaysia.

She said: “I'm advised that there were five guns used by the primary perpetrator, there were two semi-automatic weapons and two shotguns.

“The offender was in possession of a gun licence and I'm told that this was acquired in November 2017.

“A lever-action firearm was also found.”

Ms Ardern continues to say: “While work is being done into the chain of events into both the holding of this gun licence and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one things right now, our gun laws will change.

“There have been attempts to change our laws in 2005, 2012 and after an inquiry, in 2017.

“Now is the time for change."

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