New Zealand PM Vows Reforms, Says Mosque Attacker Had Gun Licence

Sergio Cunningham
March 16, 2019

New Zealand's prime minister vowed to toughen the country's gun laws after revealing Saturday that the man accused of murdering 49 people in two mosques legally purchased the arsenal of firearms used in the massacre.

Unlike in the United States, where calls for greater gun control after mass shootings are often met by deaf ears when it comes to federal regulation, three mass shootings - only one of which happened in New Zealand - prompted legislative changes. Peneha then went into the mosque to help the victims.

Witnesses told media that a man dressed in a military-style, camouflage outfit, and carrying an automatic rifle had started randomly shooting people in the Al Noor mosque.

Two other people arrested are yet to be charged.

Law enforcement sources have told CBS News that Australian-born Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, was charged with murder over the attacks on the two mosques. The test match they were scheduled to play against New Zealand tomorrow has been called off.

Most guns do not require registration under New Zealand's Arms Act and police do not know "how many legally or illegally owned firearms there are in New Zealand", according to a police statement a year ago.

The massacre by at least one gunman during Friday prayers in the city of Christchurch is the country's worst ever mass shooting and was condemned throughout Asia.

Worshippers, possibly dead or wounded, lay huddled on the floor of the mosque, the video showed.

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He visited Bulgaria from November 9-15 past year claiming he wanted "to visit historical sites and study the history of the Balkan country", Bulgaria's public prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov said, adding that the inquiry would establish if this was "correct or if he had other objectives".

TRT World's Jacob Brown explains.

New Zealand's Police Commissioner Mike Bush said a number of IEDs that were attached to vehicles were found and made safe by their defence force.

A licence must be obtained, however New Zealand is one of the few countries where most individual weapons don't have to be registered.

In a rambling manifesto published online to justify the murderous attacks that followed, he introduced himself as "just a regular white man" of "Scottish, Irish and English stock".

The prime minister noted that it appeared the attacks appeared to have been well planned.

He was living in Dunedin, a seaside city south of Christchurch, has traveled around the world and spent sporadic periods in New Zealand.

Christchurch is home to almost 400,000 people and is sometimes called the Garden City. This, I want to assure people, is to ensure that all our agencies are responding in the most appropriate way, that includes at our borders.

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