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

Long awaited Kelowna murder trial is scheduled to begin Monday

Stephen Pirko is charged in the killing of Christopher Ausman in 2014

Okanagan College bring hot bats to beat Dinos

The Coyotes now top the league

Kelowna awards recognize city’s cream of the crop

The 44th Annual Civic and Community Awards were April 24

Kelowna Falcons re-sign league MVP

Trent Tingelstad will return for the 2019 baseball season

Video: Large dust devil swirls through downtown Chase

Residents look on as column climbs about 90 feet into the air

University mourns student who died in B.C. canoeing accident

Andrew Milner, 19, was in his second year with the University of Calgary’s basketball program

RCMP arrest B.C. man following threatening Vaisakhi Facebook post

Post made reference to pressure cooker bomb at massive Surrey parade

Osoyoos among B.C. resort towns to get share of $2.5-million in tourism cash

Changes to RMI funding are bringing more money to places like Harrison and Tofino

Arrest made in off-road Okanagan park detour

RCMP air services helps track down 36-year-old suspect

Petition urges limits on retail cannabis stores in Summerland

Ban on downtown stores, increased regulations in other areas proposed

Canfor temporarily shutting down lumber mills across B.C.

Low lumber prices and the high cost of fibre are the cause of curtailment, according to the company

Okanagan physician and family reflect passion for medicine with hospital gift

Dr. Paul Cobbin and family donate to the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation’s campaign

Most Read