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'No new guns': Luxon's promise ahead of gun law reform

Mar 16, 2024

The prime minister would not be drawn on his coalition partner's proposal to liberalise access to centrefire semi-automatic firearms.

Christopher Luxon has been spending time with the victims and families of those affected by mosque terror attacks. Speaking to reporters in Christchurch on Friday, he said the five-year anniversary was about remembering the 51 shuhada (martyrs) murdered in the massacre.

Luxon met with Muslim leaders on Tuesday, after they sought assurances any changes to gun laws would not put their safety at risk.

"Our thoughts, prayer and love is very much with the families," he said. "I spent time with the families a couple of days ago and I'm looking forward to some more time this afternoon."

Luxon told media he spent three or four days in Christchurch after the attacks, which left one of his employees at Air New Zealand dead.

The coalition is overhauling gun laws this term, changes that may include allowing competitive shooters access to centrefire semi-automatic rifles for sport. This type of firearm was banned several days after the Christchurch mosque shootings with near-unanimous support from MPs.

The prohibition had two carve-outs; one for pest control and another for gun collectors, so long as the firearm is kept in an inoperable state.

Luxon has been tight-lipped about his talks with Muslim leaders in Christchurch earlier this week, saying they were private conversations.

He was asked about any feedback he received on Friday on the proposed gun law changes.

"Well again, as I said to them, there has been no papers, no discussion, no debate, no decisions made whatsoever about that," he said. "We are going to rewrite the Arms Act because it's an outdated piece of legislation, it's an old piece of legislation."

Luxon said there would be "no new guns added into New Zealand".

"[Nicole McKee Associate Minister of Justice (Firearms)] is very cognisant of making sure that we end up with a stronger piece of legislation around public safety, but also good compliance.

"And importantly, she wants to take on board fully the royal commission of inquiry recommendations. She wants to make that a fully transparent and open process when she's ready to talk about the proposals for the rewrite of that legislation, but it's all too premature at this point."

He did not offer a timeframe, but promised to move the process on and "actually give people the yes or no answers they need".

Judith Collins is leading the review of the recommendations from the inquiry into the mosque attacks. She said 23 of the 44 recommendations has been completed, another eight were being worked on at the moment, and another 15 needed ministerial decisions made.

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