Thursday, March 21, 2019


The government has followed up with its strong words on Monday by announcing plans to legislate to immediately ban all semi-automatic and military-style firearms, backed by an immediate order-in-council recategorising them as requiring an E-class licence (so immediately banning sale to almost everybody):

Military style semi-automatics and assault rifles will be banned in New Zealand under stronger new gun laws announced today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

“On 15 March our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too. We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Cabinet agreed to overhaul the law when it met on Monday, 72 hours after the horrific terrorism act in Christchurch. Now, six days after this attack, we are announcing a ban on all military style semi-automatics (MSSA) and assault rifles in New Zealand.

“Related parts used to convert these guns into MSSAs are also being banned, along with all high-capacity magazines.

“An amnesty will be put in place for weapons to be handed in, and Cabinet has directed officials to develop a buyback scheme. Further details will be announced on the buyback in due course.

The law will be introduced under urgency when parliament meets again the week after next. It will have an abbreviated select committee process, and be passed within two weeks of introduction. There will be further legislation later around registration, but the immediate objective is banning these weapons and getting them turned into police. An amendment to the arms regulations means turning in a lawfully bought reclassified MSSA is not a crime, but as of half an hour ago, anyone who tries to retain or on-sell them is now a criminal. The government has made it clear that the police will be using their power to obtain records from dealers to track any semi-automatic that has been purchased, and will be following up if these guns are not turned in. So, the ban will be enforced, these guns will be taken off people if they don't return them lawfully, and the police will be asking questions if any of them can't be accounted for.

And that's that. The government is delivering exactly the sort of swift action people have demanded. And exactly the opposite of US-style "thoughts and prayers".