New Zealand's proposed new gun laws in response to the March 15 Christchurch terrorist attack has passed its first hurdle in Parliament today.
The Bill passed its first reading with support from National, Labour, NZ First and the Green Party. ACT's David Seymour opposed the Bill.
The Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill has now already moved to the Select Committee stage, and is due to have its second reading on April 9. The Government expect the new laws to be passed by the end of next week.
Leader of the House Chris Hipkins sought leave of the House for the legislation to have its first reading today. There were no objections.
ACT leader David Seymour had planned to "oppose the Government's plan to rush firearms legislation through Parliament". However, Mr Seymour was not in the House to object.
It passed without opposition.
During the first reading, Police Minister Stuart Nash said: "Our current firearms legislation came into force 35 years ago. It dates from the 1980s, a time when New Zealand was more isolated from the rest of the world. There were strong import controls and no internet market place or social media. Since that time, firearms technology has shifted."
"The weapons market has become global and they're a significant online community and trading environment."
National's police spokesperson Chris Bishop said the public had made it "very clear over the last two weeks that they expect the Parliament to act" on gun reform.
"Parliament, therefore, has an obligation and a duty to act, and today we start that process."
"Parliament is now turning its mind away from grief and mourning towards a proper legislative response to the horrific events of 15 March."
The first stage of New Zealand's proposed gun changes seeks to:
- Ban semi-automatics weapons and military style semi-automatics.
- Ban parts, magazine and ammunition used to assemble prohibited firearm or convert a lower powered firearm to semi automatic.
- Ban pump actions shotguns with more than a five shot capacity.
- Ban semi-automatic shotguns with capacity for detachable magazine.
- Create penalties and introduce new offences.
- Create new definitions of prohibited firearms, magazines.
- Establish an amnesty for firearm owners to take steps to hand over unlawful weapons, parts, magazines and ammunition by September 30.