New Zealand Bans 'Every Semi-Automatic Weapon Used in the Terrorist Attack,' Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Says

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Thursday that all weapons considered military-style semi-automatic guns and all assault rifles would be banned in the country. The new law would take full effect by April 11.

The move came less than a week after a single gunman attacked two mosques in Christchurch, leaving 50 dead and 50 injured.

The ban also included high-capacity magazines and any parts that would allow a gun to be converted into a military-style semi-automatic weapon (MSSA), and parts that would allow for a gun to produce bullets at semi-automatic, automatic or "close to automatic" speed.

"In short, every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country," Ardern said Thursday during a news conference. "I absolutely believe there will be a common view amongst New Zealanders, those who use guns for legitimate purposes, and those who have never touched one, that the time for the mass and easy availability of these weapons must end. And today they will."

According to a question and answer document provided by Ardern's office, MSSA weapons are considered semi-automatic firearms "capable of being used with a detachable magazine which holds more than five cartridges" and semi-automatic shotguns "capable of being used with a detachable magazine which holds more than five cartridges."

Ardern announced that the ban would begin at 3 p.m. local time. She added that retailers selling weapons and parts in the banned categories should return their stock of weapons and parts to their suppliers.

The move included a buyback scheme that would allow for gun owners to turn in weapons included in the ban and receive compensation. Ardern did not provide estimates for how much money individuals would receive in exchange for their guns.

According to Ardern, some officials have estimated that the cost of the buyback program could range between $100 million and $200 million.

"But that is the price that we must pay to ensure the safety of our communities," Ardern said.

Under the new law, the penalty for individuals who did not turn over their guns would increase once the full ban took effect in April. Police Minister Stuart Nash said police officers could force licensed gun dealers to provide records of those they sold weapons to.

The police would then use those records to cross check and determine who still had weapons in their possession, Nash said.

Ardern added that it did not matter if gun owners obtained the weapons legally or not. Amnesty would apply to all who turn in the weapons as long as they are surrendered within the three-week amnesty period.

According to the question and answer document, there were an estimated 1.2 to 1.5 million firearms currently in New Zealand, and 245,000 firearm licenses. Of those weapons,13,500 weapons were registered for an E-Cat license, which is required to legally own an MSSA weapon.

Ardern said this was just the beginning for gun reform in New Zealand, and that the country's Cabinet would meet to consider other changes such as "issues around licensing, issues around registration, issues around storage. There are a range of other amendments that we believe do need to be made and that will be the second tranche of reforms yet to come."

Guns and parts outside of the MMSA and assault rifle designations remain lawful in the country.

This story will be updated as more information becomes avaliable.

New Zealand Bans 'Every Semi-Automatic Weapon Used in the Terrorist Attack,' Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Says | World