New Zealand bans ‘manifesto’ of Christchurch mosque gunman as more than 1,000 hand over weapons

International community watches on in awe as Ardern’s swift change to gun laws takes effect

Harry Cockburn
Sunday 24 March 2019 12:36 GMT
Jacinda Ardern announces that New Zealand will ban all semi-automatic weapons

More than a thousand people have handed in weapons banned since the terrorist attack at two Christchurch mosques which left 50 people dead.

Assault rifles and military style semi-automatics have been made illegal in sweeping and immediate gun law changes in New Zealand in the wake of the attack.

Meanwhile, the gunman’s “manifesto” – a 72-page document posted on the internet and sent to politicians, including the prime minister, minutes before the attack – has been banned by the country’s censor.

Chief censor David Shanks said “There is an important distinction to be made between ‘hate speech’, which may be rejected by many right-thinking people, but which is legal to express, and this type of publication, which is deliberately constructed to inspire further murder and terrorism.”

He urged anyone in possession of a copy of the document to destroy it, and said it “crosses the line”, by promoting murder and violence against a specific group of people.

“New Zealanders can all play a part in denying those who exhort hatred, killing and terror,” Mr Shanks said.

“Do not support the murderous objectives of its author by republishing or distributing it.”

On Monday, three days after the attack, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a ban on automatic weapons.

The ban came into effect at 3pm on Thursday, at the same time of the press conference announcing the specifics of the ban. Ms Ardern said “all sales should now cease” of the weapons.

Since then over a thousand people have handed in the newly illegal weapons, with police reportedly receiving hundreds of calls a day about the ban.

Those who have handed in firearms include government minister Kelvin Davis, who surrendered a semi-automatic .22 rifle to police.

The government has also created a gun buyback scheme for those who already own the newly illegal weapons. Ms Ardern said “fair and reasonable compensation” would be paid. The New Zealand government estimates this will cost $100m-$200m.

There are thought to be around 1.2 million to 1.5 million guns in the country of 5 million people.

Government officials have said they have “no idea” how many assault rifles are in circulation but estimate there are roughly 13,500 military-style semi-automatic weapons held by the public.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in