New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Wednesday (March 20) the nation would no longer sell semi-automatic guns and riffles. The sweeping legislation went into effect one week after an Australian man opened fire and killed 50 Muslim men, women and children.
“Today I am announcing that New Zealand will ban all military-style semi-automatic weapons. We will also ban all assault rifles,” Ardern said at a press conference.
Prime Minister Arden said the new law would take effect Wednesday (March 20) at 3 PM local time and said dealers “should now cease” selling the guns.
“We will ban all high-capacity magazines. We will ban all parts with the ability to convert semi-automatic or any other type of firearm into a military-style semi-automatic weapon. We will ban parts that cause a firearm to generate semi-automatic, automatic or close to automatic gunfire,” she continued.
The prime suspect in the attack reportedly obtained a gun license in 2017 and began purchasing more guns in the most following.
“This is just the beginning of the work we need to do,” Ardern said.
The prime minister also noted that there are many in New Zealand who obtained their weapons legally and haven’t used them for violence. She said a buyback program will be implemented at local police stations ensuring gun owners receive proper compensation for their weapon. Penalties will be put in place for those who don’t participate.
The program may cost between $100 million and $200 million, but Prime Minister Arden says it’s necessary “to ensure the safety of our communities.”