Christchurch terror attacks: Firearms law changes 'today or tomorrow'

2:45 pm on 19 March 2019

The government is preparing to unveil its full proposal on changes to firearms law either today or tomorrow.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern signs the Condolence Book.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern signing the condolence book at Parliament yesterday. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern emerged from Cabinet yesterday saying all three governing parties had come to an agreement about the necessary changes to the law, but she would not reveal the specifics, saying only they would be made public before Cabinet next meets on Monday.

However, a senior minister this morning told RNZ the government was looking to unveil its full proposal before Thursday.

A ban on military-style semi-automatics was on the table, as are changes ranging from tougher licensing rules, a national register for individual weapons, and importing regulations.

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  • At Parliament this morning Ms Ardern said details of issues like deportation of the accused gunman had not been settled, "because the priority is the justice system in New Zealand and this offender will face the justice system in New Zealand".

    When asked if the accused could use his upcoming trial as a platform for self-promotion, Ms Ardern said that was up to the court system and the media.

    "One thing I can assure you, you won't hear me speak his name."

    She also said she would like the National Party on board for the gun law changes.

    "Certainly I think that it wold be hugely beneficial if we can reach consensus. Cabinet has already made a decision. We will be sharing our proposals with others.

    National leader Simon Bridges said his party was ready to cooperate, including on a possible ban on military-style semi-automatics.

    "I think it would be remarkable to justify any other position frankly. I mean, we've seen what happened."

    Finance Minister Grant Robertson said he was looking at a weapons buy-back scheme.

    "I've certainly been seeking advice around those issues, looking at the experience in Australia and getting some understanding of the scale of that kind of commitment but also how you would do it as well."