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New Zealand prime minister calls for gun laws change after 49 killed



New Zealand’s Prime Minister vowed to change New Zealand’s gun laws, following the mass shooting on Friday that left 49 dead and more than 40 wounded.

The shooting, which took place at two mosques in Christchurch, has been called a “terrorist” act by the prime minister. Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australia-born man was charged with murder, and two other suspects are in custody.

“Suspect had a Category ‘A’ gun license,” New Zealand police commissioner Mike Bush said at a press conference on Saturday. “We can report more fully at the conclusion.”

“There is a process, in terms of how those firearms are purchased which may be altered,” Bush continued. “Category ‘A’ users can purchase firearm without magazines or things that will enable them [to be] in the state that they were [used for during the shooting].”

The shooter used five weapons, INSIDER’s Michelle Mark reported, “two semiautomatic weapons, two shotguns, and one lever-action firearm.”

There are roughly 1.5 million firearms in New Zealand, the Associated Press reported, and there are roughly 5 million residents. Though New Zealand requires licensing and a background check, the country’s gun laws are not as strict as its neighbor Australia, which tightened gun laws after the Port Arthur massacre of 1996 that left 35 people dead.

However, fewer than 24 hours after the shooting, Ardern called for gun laws to change.

“I can tell you right now, our gun laws will change,” she said on Saturday. “Now is the time for change.”

In his Saturday press conference, Bush said he was “very happy” to hear that the prime minister said she would work to change gun laws.

Unlike in the United States, where changing gun laws has proved politically fraught even following mass shootings, some believe that New Zealand is open to a change.

“It already has shaken the country to the core,” Philip Alpers, who is the director of and his from New Zealand, told the AP. “I can’t imagine a country less likely to just offer ‘thoughts and prayers’ and then just move on.”

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