Police Sr. Sgt. Paddy Hannan shows New Zealand lawmakers an AR-15 style rifle similar to one of the weapons a gunman used to slaughter 50 people at two mosques, in Wellington on April 2, 2019. New Zealand lawmakers on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly in favor of new gun control measures during the first stage of a bill they hope to rush into law by the end of next week. (AP Photo/Nick Perry)

New Zealand lawmakers pass initial vote for new gun controls in wake of shooting

The bill would ban the types of weapons a gunman used to kill 50 people at two mosques last month

New Zealand lawmakers on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly in favour of new gun restrictions during the first stage of a bill they hope to rush into law by the end of next week.

The bill would ban the types of weapons a gunman used to kill 50 people at two mosques last month.

The bill was backed by both liberals and conservatives, with only a single lawmaker from the 120 that sit in Parliament voting against it. The vote was the first of three that lawmakers must pass before the bill becomes law.

Police Minister Stuart Nash said far too many people have access to dangerous guns and lawmakers were driven by the need to ensure 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.”

READ MORE: Defiant vigil starts healing in New Zealand after massacre

READ MORE: B.C. police step up patrols at mosques after New Zealand shooting

Seemingly drawing a distinction with the U.S., where gun possession is constitutionally protected, Nash said that in New Zealand, gun ownership remains a privilege and not a right.

Conservative lawmaker David Seymour voted against the bill, saying it was too rushed.

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

But Seymour was so busy explaining to reporters his reasons for opposing the bill that he missed a procedural vote in which he could have tried to slow its passage.

Many New Zealanders were shocked at the firepower the gunman was able to legally obtain and favour the legislative changes.

Some are opposed. More than 14,000 have signed a petition filed in Parliament which says the law changes are “unjust” for law-abiding citizens and are being driven by emotions.

The bill would ban “military-style” semi-automatic guns and high-capacity magazines. It would also ban semi-automatic shotguns that could be fitted with detachable magazines and pump-action shotguns that can hold more than five rounds.

The bill wouldn’t ban guns often used by farmers and hunters, including semi-automatic .22-calibre or smaller guns that hold up to 10 rounds, or shotguns that hold up to five rounds.

Nick Perry, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Town council votes to reclassify LB Warner lot for residential use

Smithers just got one step closer to more affordable housing, but there are still many to go

Nisga’a leader named UNBC chancellor

Dr. Joseph Arthur Gosnell is the first Indigenous leader to assume the role

A medical first saved Ryan Jones’ life

The 25-year-old Smithers man is almost fully recovered after being effectively dead.

Steelheads recruiting event shows promise

A small but enthusiastic group of organizers is hoping to put a Smithers team back in the CIHL

Fletcher disregards facts on climate action

Letter writer Macrae says inaction jeopardizes jobs

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

Canfor curtailing operations across B.C.

Low lumber prices and the high cost of fibre are the cause of curtailment

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Haida youth travels to New York for UN forum on Indigenous issues

Haana Edensaw presented her speech in Xaad Kil, Masset dialect of the Haida language

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Most Read