New Zealand parliament votes overwhelmingly in favour of new gun laws
- New Zealand lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favour of new gun laws set forward in the wake of the Christchurch shooting last month, which left 50 people dead and dozens more injured.
- New laws would ban the sale of military-style semi-automatic weapons, the same type of weapon used by the gunman in last month's shooting.
- Lawmakers across the political spectrum on Tuesday voted 119-1 in favor of the proposed Bill, which now faces two more votes before it becomes law, Associated Press reported.
New Zealand lawmakers on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly in favour of new gun laws set forward in the wake of the Christchurch shooting last month, which left 50 people dead and dozens more injured.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced last month sweeping new gun laws, which would ban on all military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles. These weapons were used by the gunman in New Zealand's worst deadliest mass shooting.
Lawmakers across the political spectrum on Tuesday voted 119-1 in favor of the proposed Bill, which now faces two more votes before it becomes law, Associated Press reported. Conservative lawmaker David Seymour, the lone member of parliament from the ACT party, voted against the measure.
Previously, New Zealand allowed for the ownership of military-style semi-automatic weapons, which they refer to as MSSAs, and a legal loophole allowed many people to purchase them without a special designated license. The loophole exists as MSSAs are classified by their parts so slight modifications can mean an MSSA can be purchased with a regular license.
The proposed law seeks to reclassify semi-automatic firearms and shotguns as MSSAs, making it more difficult to obtain automatic weapons without a license.
The country also introduced a national gun buyback scheme, which offers compensation to gun owners wishing to hand in their guns voluntarily.
When announcing the legislation last month, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the program could cost anywhere between $NZ100 to $NZ200 million (R959 million to R1.9 billion) and added that there would be an amnesty period in place, requiring people to hand in their banned weapons within a certain amount of time.
Once the full ban comes into effect, the penalties for those who don't hand in their guns will increase, Ardern said. Owning an assault weapon without the correct category license was punishable by up to three years in prison or a $NZ4000 (R38,000) fine.
Ardern added that the cabinet will also consider further legislation, which would tighten firearm licenses and place more control over ammunition types.
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