On Monday, government officials plan to hold a cabinet meeting which will "focus on the ease with which legal weapons can be modified to become military-style assault rifles, which are more strictly controlled."
During a Saturday press conference, Ardern said the gunman had two semi-automatic weapons, two shotguns, and a lever-action firearm (five firearms in total). All were legally purchased but were illegally modified.
According to New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush, the shooter had “category-A” license.
“A category-A firearm holder can purchase the firearms without the magazines or the things that will enable them to be in the state that they were,” Bush said.
Under New Zealand law, you need a license if:
If you are 16 years old or over you can apply for a firearms licence. This will allow you to have and use unsupervised:
- shotguns and rifles that do not require an endorsement (as below)
- specially dangerous airguns (including pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air rifles).
You need a special addition to your licence (called an endorsement) to:
- possess or use pistols for target shooting (B endorsement) and be an active member of an approved pistol club
- collect pistols and restricted weapons or stage theatrical performances involving pistols and restricted weapons (C endorsement)
- possess or use military-style semi-automatic (MSSA) rifles or shotguns (E endorsement)
- possess pistols and restricted weapons in your capacity as a dealer or their employee (F endorsement).
Anyone can use an A Category firearm without a licence if they are under the immediate supervision of a licence holder. Anyone can use a pistol if they are on the range of an incorporated pistol club that is recognised by the Commissioner of Police, and under the immediate supervision of a licence holder with a B endorsement. ‘Immediate supervision’ means the licensed person is within reach and can control the firearm. The supervisor must not be using another firearm at the same time.
Ardern said New Zealanders are going to want stricter gun control laws after they learn more details about the shooting.
“As soon as New Zealanders hear that someone was legally able to acquire, as I’m advised, those weapons and carry out this event, that will raise enormous questions with our gun laws, and that is why we will respond swiftly,” Ardern said.
Naturally, Moms Demand Action Founder Shannon Watts cheered the gun control move and quickly slammed American politicians:
New Zealand bans semiautomatic rifles less than 24 hours after the Christchurch mass shooting. Imagine: elected officials putting public safety over gun manufacturers’ profits.— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 16, 2019
Americans deserve better than lawmakers who are letting gun lobbyists write our nation’s gun laws. https://t.co/TinWP7PSfM