New Zealand's governor general, Patsy Reddy, formally signed on Thursday April 11th, sweeping gun laws outlawing military style weapons, less than a month after a man used such guns to kill 50 people, and wound dozens at two mosques in Christchurch, according to AP.
Reddy signed the bill as police said a gun buyback programme will be announced to collect the now-banned weapons. The weapons will be illegal starting at midnight, but police said a brief amnesty programme will be in effect until details of the buyback are announced.
"For people who find themselves now in possession of a prohibited firearm, we ask you to please notify us," police deputy commissioner Michael Clement said. "The collection of firearms will occur at a later stage. "
He added that "for now, there is an amnesty in place and we ask people to please notify us," he added.
Anyone who retains such a weapon now faces a penalty of up to five years in prison. Exemptions allow heirloom weapons held by collectors, or weapons used for professional pest control.
The House of Representatives on Wednesday April 10th passed by a final vote of 119 to one, legislation banning the weapons after an accelerated process of debate and public submission.
"The Government acted quickly to change New Zealand's firearms laws and Police are now responsible for implementing and enforcing these new laws," Clement said.
Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, was charged with 50 counts of murder and 39 counts of attempted murder. The royal commission set up to investigate issues surrounding the massacre is examining how he obtained a gun license in New Zealand and purchased weapons and ammunition.