New Zealand government meet to discuss gun laws after deadly mosque attacks

Police securing an area with tape across the road from the Deans Avenue mosque, on March 17, 2019, in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Police securing an area with tape across the road from the Deans Avenue mosque, on March 17, 2019, in Christchurch, New Zealand.PHOTO: AFP

WELLINGTON (DPA) - New Zealand's government is set to meet on Monday (March 18) to take first steps to change the country's gun laws in the wake of the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch.

"We will be looking to move as quickly as we can," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told Radio New Zealand. She did not want to pre-empt the Cabinet discussion.

"Certainly though, I can reflect that there will be many New Zealanders who will be asking right now how is it and why is it that someone should be able in New Zealand to acquire a military-style semi-automatic weapon?"

A 28-year-old Australian man has been charged with murder for allegedly gunning down the 50 victims and injuring the same number of people in last Friday's attacks.

He has been remanded in custody until April 5 and police say he will face further charges.

The Prime Minister said earlier that the accused held a gun licence and seemed to have acquired the guns in the attacks legally.

"One of the issues we are facing is that the guns that were used in this case appear to have been modified," Ms Ardern said.

 
 

On Sunday, she confirmed that a white supremacist manifesto thought to be from the accused was sent to her office.

The families of the victims were still waiting to be able to bury their loved ones. Ms Ardern on Sunday said that it was expected that all bodies will be returned to families by Wednesday.

The first funerals are expected to be held on Monday.