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

Forestry Ink: BC and Canadian pulp industry doing better

Regular columnist Jim Hilton looks at what is happening in the pulp and paper industry

Cottonwood House Historic Site opens with limited service for 2019

Capital upgrades are taking place at the site, but it’s still open to walkers, hikers and picknickers

Quesnel kung fu dojo holds tourney

Three clubs exhibited their skills for family, friends and instructors

West Quesnel’s West Village Community Garden hosting Plant Day May 25

Community members invited to come help plant vegetables and learn about the garden

Kids find friendship, confidence in Quesnel youth choir

The In Song choir performed on Monday, May 13

UPDATE: B.C. pilot killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

B.C. residential school survivor’s indomitable human spirit centre of school play

Terrace theatre company plans to revive Nisga’a leader Larry Guno’s Bunk #7 next year

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Most Read