New Zealand Attorney-General David Parker announced at March 16 vigil for the victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had said the government was going to ban semi-automatic weapons.Speaking to the crowd at Auckland’s Aotea Square, Parker described the March 15 attack as a “hateful act of violence” and an “atrocity,” and told the audience: “How we respond will both reflect and define who we are.”He was then met with applause as he told the crowd that Ardern had announced the ban on semi-automatic weapons. “They have no place in a civil society,” Parker said.In an earlier press conference on Saturday morning, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand’s “gun laws will change.” She said she had asked the country’s national security department to brief Cabinet on Monday, March 18, regarding the suspect’s ability to legally acquire five weapons used in the attack with a view “strengthening our systems” around “firearms, border controls, enhanced information sharing with Australia and any practical reinforcement of our watch list processes.”Parker expressed concern over the rise of extremism views, behaviors, and intolerance, saying there was a “dimming of enlightenment in many parts of the world.” He said to target extremism, one must look at the roots of it. “How can it be right for this atrocity, filmed by the murderer using a GoPro, was livestreamed across the world by the social media companies,” Parker asked. “How can that be right? Who should be held accountable for that?”A 28-year-old Australian-born Dunedin man suspected of the attack appeared in court on Saturday morning, charged with murder, the NZ Herald reported. According to the Herald, the man was in possession of a gun license, did not have a listed occupation, and was remanded in custody to appear at Christchurch’s High Court on April 5.At the time of writing on March 16, several semi-automatic weapons were still available to purchase on the country’s leading gun sales website. Credit: Indian Workers Association – IWA via Storyful
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