Banning semi-automatic weapons: 65,000 sign petition

1:02 pm on 21 March 2019

MPs have been handed a petition with more than 65,000 signatures calling on them to ban all semi-automatic weapons.

PM Jacinda Ardern at today's press conference.

Prime Minister Jacinda pledged the day after the Christchurch mosque terror attack that gun laws would change. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has promised to change New Zealand's firearm laws after the Christchurch mosque shootings.

Cabinet - including the Green Party - decided in principle on reforms on Monday, with the National Party saying it support change.

MPs from Labour, the Greens and National met the petitioners on the steps of Parliament this morning and promised action.

Brad Knewstubb, who helped start the petition, said New Zealand could send a message to the world by moving quickly on gun control.

"The government's talking about it, people are supporting it, they're giving the government a mandate to make these changes.

"Now just hopefully all those voices that came out in such strong support get what they're asking for."

The Police Association has called for semi-automatic weapons to be banned, while Fish & Game said it supported a ban on military-style semi-automatic weapons and retailer Hunting & Fishing New Zealand has pulled all military-style semi-automatic firearms from sale nationwide.

The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners said there was already a stringent vetting process for firearm licences in this country and military-style semi-automatic weapons should not be banned.