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New Zealand lawmakers pass tough gun laws over mosque attacks

By Clyde Hughes
New Zealand lawmakers pass tough gun laws over mosque attacks
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, shown here in a ceremony last week, helped usher in new gun laws in Parliament Wednesday. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

April 10 (UPI) -- The New Zealand Parliament passed stricter gun reform legislation Wednesday, less than a month after shooting attacks at two mosques in Christchurch killed 50 people.

The third reading of the Arms Amendment Act passed 119-1, which includes a ban on semi-automatic weapons and military-style semi-automatics, a ban on parts, magazines and ammunition that could be used for modification into a semi-automatic.

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A ban on pump-action shotguns with more than a five-shot capacity was also included. The law set an amnesty period until Sept. 30 during which such weapons can be turned in.

The bill now needs the signature of New Zealand Governor-General Patsy Reddy for it to become law.

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"We are ultimately here because 50 people died and they do not have a voice," New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. "We in this House are their voice and today we have used that voice wisely."

David Seymour, the lone member of Parliament voting against the measure, warned the legislation will create an underground market that will only grow in the future.

"If a significant number of weapons aren't handed in, we risk creating a large black market of dangerous weapons without any regulatory oversight," he said. "That may be more dangerous world than we had prior to March 15."

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Advisers will now create a price list of the nation's buyback program.

Last week, a New Zealand judge ordered that accused shooter Brenton Tarrant undergo two mental health examinations to see if he is mentally fit to enter a plea in the case.

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