New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Saturday met the families of Friday’s terror attack victims by wearing hijab. Later, speaking to reporters, her second press conference in as many days, Ardern told reporters that the country’s gun laws will change in the aftermath of Brendon Terrant causing a large-scale massacre at a Christchurch’s mosque on Friday, killing 49 Muslim worshippers.
Ardern said that Tarrant, the Australian man charged with murder and arrested for committing terrorist act, had allegedly used five firearms including two semi-automatic weapons, two shotguns and a lever-action firearm.
She said that he had been in possession of a ‘category A’ gun licence that he obtained in 2017. This, according to her, allowed the Australian terrorist to legally obtain the weapons in December 2017, and that he was not on any watch-lists prior to the attacks.
Ardern said, “While work has been done as to the chain of events that led to both the holding of this gun licence and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now: our gun laws will change.”
She said that there had been attempts to change our laws in 2005, 2012 and after an inquiry in 2017. “Now is the time for change. There are obviously questions being asked of how this person was able to enter the country and undertake this act of terror,” Ardern added.
The New Zealand Prime Minister said that she had already ‘instructed the ODESC (Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Coordination) to report to Cabinet on Monday on these events with a view to strengthening our systems on a range of fronts including, but not limited to, firearms, border controls, enhanced information-sharing with Australia, and any practice reinforcement of our watch list processes.’
28-year-old Terrant, a self-proclaimed Islamophobe, had reportedly based himself in the city of Dunedin before carrying out the carnage inside the Christchurch mosque. Ardern said that the police had released the fourth person, arrested while in possession of a firearm on Friday, since that person was a member of public, only trying to help the authorities.
Ardern also informed that among those killed in Friday’s terror attack were also children.