NZ Firearms Ban Sets Stage for Complicated Buyback

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New Zealand’s immediate ban on all military-style semiautomatic weapons and accessories met little initial domestic resistance six days after a gunman killed 50 Muslims and injured dozens more in attacks on two Christchurch mosques, The New York Times reports. The nation’s largest opposition party and national police union quickly said they supported the measures.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the ban encompassed “the things used in last Friday’s attack,” emphasizing the capabilities of weaponry in an approach that could amount to a new global standard, broad enough to go beyond Australia’s because it could include weapons and accessories not yet developed. The challenge next is getting ammunition and guns that already exist out of circulation in a nation that registers only 4 percent of an estimated 1.2 million to 1.5 million firearms. In an explainer on how the new policy will work, The Guardian said the ban on firearms defined as military-style semiautomatics (MSSAs) includes assault-style rifles but has limited exceptions for hunting and pest control. Police already are gearing up for voluntary surrenders and buybacks of banned weapons.

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