New Zealand pledges reforms as relaxed gun laws scrutinized

Nellie Chapman
March 16, 2019

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the terror attack was "one of New Zealand's darkest days".

Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer was criticized Friday evening after the initial statement he released about Thursday's attack on two New Zealand mosques failed to mention the word "Muslim".

Brenton Harrison Tarrant appeared in court amid strict security, shackled and wearing all-white prison garb, and showed no emotion when the judge read him one murder charge.

"Its important to be here standing with you because as Prime Minister Ardern said yesterday, an attack against one is an attack against all of us", Mr Morrison told reporters.

As New Zealand recovers from this shocking incident, we want to ask you, the readers, if you think the attack proves that terror has no religion.

Although shops were shuttered and many made a decision to stay at home, Christchurch residents piled bouquets of flowers at a makeshift memorial near the Al Noor mosque, many accompanied with handwritten letters laden with sadness and disbelief.

Ardern called on the US government to show "sympathy and love for all Muslim communities", and told the press that "the person who has committed this violent act has no place here".

Forty-one people were killed at the Al Noor mosque.

"Houses of worship, like the two mosques attacked last night, should be places where all people can meet freely and without fear".

She said that she had already instructed the ODESC (Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Coordination) to report to Cabinet on Monday on Friday's events with a view to strengthening the country's systems on a range of fronts including, but not limited to, firearms, border controls, enhanced information-sharing with Australia, and any practice reinforcement of their watch-list processes.

Christchurch was the home of these victims. He did not apply for bail or to have his name suppressed and has been remanded in custody without plea until April 5.

PM statement on the New Zealand attack: 15 March 2019
That attack killed at least 41 people, while an assault on a second mosque in the city not long after killed several more. Malaysia said two of its citizens were hospitalized, and the Saudi Embassy in Wellington said two Saudis were wounded.

"When they all come, we feel much reassured and secure that we have the support of the entire community at large".

Among the wounded, two were in a critical condition, including a four-year-old child.

"It's been 36 hours, I haven't heard anything about them", he said.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a letter to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Friday, saying that "hatred and violence have no place in diverse and democratic societies".

A police spokesperson in the Australian state of New South Wales said Tarrant's family have been "assisting and cooperating" with authorities.

Many of you will have seen that Air New Zealand has cancelled all turboprop flights out of Christchurch tonight and will review the situation in the morning.

The shooter used five weapons, INSIDER's Michelle Mark reported, "two semiautomatic weapons, two shotguns, and one lever-action firearm".

"While the country is relatively isolated, we have always been anxious New Zealand is a soft target and unfortunately our worries have turned into a reality".

"Our investigations are in their early stages and we will be looking closely to build a picture of any of the individuals involved and all of their activities prior to this horrific event", Police Commissioner Mike Bush said.

As Ardern revealed deatails about the suspect's weapons and his background, she promised changes to the country's gun laws.

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