[via: The Guardian]
New Zealand will ban semi-automatic weapons after the worst mass killing in the nation’s history left 49 people dead and another 48 injured.
As the nation reeled following the terror attack on two mosques in the South Island city of Christchurch, New Zealand attorney general David Parker said the weapons would be outlawed.
Speaking on Saturday in Christchurch, New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said the suspect charged over the killings intended to “continue with his attack” when he was intercepted by police.
She said the man was arrested by two “rural community cops” 36 minutes after the first emergency call was made on Friday and was still an active shooter.
“There were two other firearms in the vehicle that the offender was in and it absolutely was his intention to continue with his attack,” she told reporters in Christchurch on Saturday.
Ardern said children were caught up in the attack and one of the injured was a two-year-old boy.
An Australian national, Brendon Tarrant, 28, appeared in court on Saturday charged with one count of murder in relation to the massacre and has been remanded in custody until 5 April. He is expected to face more charges.
Ardern said the investigation was ongoing but authorities believed there was only “one primary perpetrator”.
One other man was arrested on Friday for carrying a firearm in his car in order to get to his family home while the city was in lockdown, and was released by police without charge.
Police also arrested a couple at a roadblock. New Zealand’s police commissioner, Mike Bush, said they were “working through” whether one or both of them had any involvement in this incident.
Thirty nine people remain in hospital, 11 of whom are in critical condition in an intensive care unit. A four-year-old child in a critical condition was flown to the children’s Starship hospital in Auckland.
Christchurch hospital’s chief of surgery, Dr Greg Robertson, said many of the victims would require multiple surgeries.
Ardern met the families of victims on Saturday. She said authorities were working to ensure that bodies could be identified and repatriated quickly to allow for proper Muslim burials.
Ardern also said it was believed the weapons used in the attack had been modified and that loopholes that allow such modifications would be closed in proposed gun reforms to be discussed by cabinet on Monday.