New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that gun laws in her country will be changed after at least 50 people were killed by a crazed gunman entered two mosques in Christchurch.
Two days after the massacre, which was the deadliest act of terrorism in the country’s history, the PM told a news conference that Parliament members were looking into changing the country’s gun laws for rifles and shotguns.
“They will change,” Ardern vowed, as USA Today reports. According to the report, New Zealand already has strict laws for handguns.
Over the weekend a 50th victim passed away in the hospital due to injuries received at either the Al Noor and Linwood mosques. Victims from the attack reportedly ranged from 2 years old to over 60 years old.
Here’s more, from USA Today:
Thirty-nine people remain in the hospital and 11 are in intensive care in critical condition, the Herald said. It said a 4-year-old child was transferred to Starship children’s hospital in Auckland on New Zealand’s North Island.
Relatives of the dead were waiting Sunday for authorities to release the remains of their loved ones. Islamic law calls for bodies to be buried as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours of death. Many of the victims were immigrants from countries including Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia.
Ardern said a small number of bodies would start being released to families on Sunday evening, and that authorities hoped to release all them by Wednesday.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush said it would be some time before the victims of the attack are identified as they are being respectful of certain “cultural and religious needs.”
“We have to be absolutely clear on the cause of death and confirm their identity before that can happen,” Bush said. “But we are so aware of the cultural and religious needs. So we are doing that as quickly and as sensitively as possible.”
It was previously reported that suspects were arrested on Friday, shortly after the shooting. These individuals reportedly appeared in court on Saturday where a judge ordered them to return next month.
Per USA Today:
A 28-year-old Australian man appeared in court Saturday charged with one count of murder. The judge said “it was reasonable to assume” more such charges would follow. The suspect was ordered to return to court April 5. Two other people, a man and a woman, who were arrested soon after the shootings were not linked to the shooter.
The alleged shooter, who described himself as a white supremacist, emailed a copy of a more than 70-page anti-immigrant manifesto to Ardern’s office and more than 60 other recipients shortly before he opened fire, according to media reports.
“I was one of more than 30 recipients of the manifesto that was mailed out nine minutes before the attack took place,” Ardern told reporters Sunday, AFP reported.
“It did not include a location, it did not include specific details,” she said. Ardern said the document was sent to security services within two minutes of receiving it.