NZ to reform gun laws as Christchurch returns to work after massacre

Christchurch -By Peter Godfrey, - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday that tougher gun laws would be announced within a week following the mass shootings at two Christchurch mosques that killed 50 people.

Ardern said her cabinet reached "in principle decisions" but did not outline any details about the changes. She did, however, stress that rural communities would not be affected, and encouraged gun owners to surrender their weapons to police.

She also said a review would be held to examine the events that led up to Friday's attack and whether government agencies could have done more to prevent it.
Earlier Monday, David Tipple, the owner of New Zealand firearms store Gun City, said the alleged Christchurch gunman, 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant, bought weapons in line with a "police-verified online mail order process."
Tipple said Tarrant bought four weapons and ammunition from Gun City, but said a military-style semi-automatic weapon that could be seen in the live-streamed video of the attack was purchased elsewhere. 
"We detected nothing extraordinary about this [gun] licence holder," Tipple added.
Also on Monday, frustrated families of the victims of the shootings were waiting for the bodies to be returned to them for burial, as the rest of Christchurch attempted to inch back to normality.
Ardern said Sunday that the first bodies would be returned that evening and expected all of the victims to be returned by Wednesday. On Monday, however, some Muslim community members said they did not know exactly when the first funerals would take place, while local radio reported that most families had opted to take part in a group burial on Wednesday.
According to Muslim tradition, bodies must be washed in accordance with certain rituals and burials must take place within 24 hours. On Monday, earthmovers were digging graves in the Muslim section of Memorial Park Cemetery, around one kilometre from the Linwood mosque where seven worshippers were killed.
At the police cordon around the Deans Avenue mosque, where the white supremacist Tarrant stormed in and shot dead 42 worshippers, people continued to arrive with flowers and tributes. In the evening, hundreds of school pupils gathered in the park across the road from the mosque to hold a vigil.
A 50th victim died in hospital.
Earlier, a high-level Turkish delegation that included Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Vice President Fuat Oktay visited the scene, crossing the cordon to lay flowers near the mosque's entrance. 
Cavusoglu told local television at the site that he had spoken to New Zealand lawmakers after he arrived in the country late Sunday.
"We saw that they were also shocked, because New Zealand is one of the most tolerant and peaceful countries in the world," he said
Across Christchurch, others returned to their routines, heading to school and work for the first time since the attacks as the city tried to move on after the trauma of the violent terror attack.
Meanwhile, local media reported that Tarrant was planning to represent himself at future court appearances, in a move that has raised concerns that he will use his trial to broadcast his white supremacist beliefs.
Tarrant has been charged with murder for allegedly gunning down the 50 victims and injuring the same number of people in Friday's live-streamed attacks. Police Commissioner Mike Bush said Tarrant acted alone.
"I want to definitely state that we believe that there was only one attacker responsible for this horrendous event,” Bush said at a media conference.
In the city's district court on Monday, an 18-year-old man was charged for sharing the live-stream and for posting a photo online of one of the mosques with the message "target acquired," the NZ Herald reported.
He was arrested on Friday, but police say he was not involved with the attacks.


Monday, March 18th 2019
By Peter Godfrey,

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