New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda ardern speaks to the media.
CHRISTCHURCH: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday she would announce new gun laws within days, after a lone gunman killed 50 people in mass shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch.
Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday. Tarrant was remanded without a plea and is due back in court on April 5 where police said he was likely to face more charges.
"Within 10 days of this horrific act of terrorism we will have announced reforms which will, I believe, make our community safer
In addition to the 50 killed, dozens were wounded at two mosques in the South Island city during Friday prayers.
Gun City owner David Tipple said the alleged gunman bought four weapons and ammunition online from the store between December 2017 and March 2018, but it did not sell him the high-powered weapon used in the massacre.
"The MSSA, military-style automatic, reportedly used by the alleged gunman was not purchased from Gun City. Gun City did not sell him an MSSA, only A-category firearms," Tipple told a news conference in Christchurch.
Under New Zealand gun laws, A-category weapons can be semi-automatic but limited to seven shots. Live-streamed video of a gunman in one mosque showed a semi-automatic weapon with a large magazine round.
Students hold lit candles as they gather in a vigil to commemorate victims of Friday's shooting.
Tipple said the online purchases followed a police-verified online mail-order process and the store detected nothing extraordinary about the licence holder.
Tipple said he supported Ardern's move to reform gun laws as the Christchurch shootings had raised legitimate concerns.
Ardern did not detail the new gun laws, but has said she supports a ban on automatic weapons following the Christchurch shootings.
Australia introduced some of the world's toughest gun laws after its worst mass killing, the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in which a lone gunman killed 35 people using a semi-automatic AR-15 - the same weapon used in the Christchurch massacre.
Australia banned semi-automatic weapons, launched a national gun amnesty in which tens of thousands of guns were handed in, and made it much tougher to own firearms.
GUNOWNERS SURRENDER WEAPONS
"Until today I was one of the New Zealanders who owned a semi-automatic rifle. On the farm they are a useful tool in some circumstances, but my convenience doesn’t outweigh the risk of misuse," John Hart, a farmer and Green Party candidate from Masterton said on Twitter on Monday.
"We don’t need these in our country. We have make sure it’s #NeverAgain."
New Zealand's top online marketplace Trade Me Group said it was halting the sale of semi-automatic weapons in the wake of Friday's attack.
New Zealand, a country of only 5 million people, has an estimated 1.5 million firearms.
A Radio New Zealand report, based on police data secured through an Official Information Act request, said more than 99 percent of people who applied for a firearms licence in 2017 were successful.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (C) speaks with a representative of the refugee centre.
"On behalf of all New Zealanders, we grieve together. We are one. They are us
A New Zealand standard A-category firearm licence is issued after a police and background check. No licence is required to buy a large round magazine, which can be illegally modified for use in such a weapon.
Only firearm owners are licensed, not weapons, so there is no monitoring of how many weapons a person may possess.
Violent crime is rare in New Zealand and police do not usually carry guns. Before Friday, New Zealand's worst mass shooting was in 1990 when a man killed 13 men, women and children in a 24-hour rampage in the tiny seaside village of Aramoana. He was killed by police.
Ardern said an inquiry will be held into what intelligence, police, customs and immigration knew or should have known about Tarrant and the events leading up to the massacre, to see whether the attack could have been prevented.
Ardern said Tarrant had emailed a "manifesto” to more than 30 recipients including her office, nine minutes before the attack but it gave no location or specific details.
In the document, which was also posted online, Tarrant described himself as "Just a ordinary White man, 28 years old”.
Ardern was the first signatory of a national condolence book for the country's worst mass killing that she opened in the capital Wellington on Monday.
"These people died in prayer, on their way to prayer, on our holy day, a Friday, in the precincts of our holy places. And faith was what they died for. And so faith is now part of the healing process for their loved ones.
The two mosques involved in the shootings have been closed since the massacre, but are expected to reopen by Friday prayers after cleansing blessings were carried out, said Haumaha.
Muslim leaders conveyed messages of love, compassion and appreciation for the community support they had received.
Over the weekend and into Monday, tens of thousands of people flocked to memorial vigils around New Zealand and a victim support website raised more than NZ$5.5 million ($3.8 million).
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