New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has promised to reform the gun ownership laws in the Pacific Ocean country, hours after an armed assailant shot nearly 50 people dead and wounded over 40 others in a pair of attacks on two mosques.
At least one gunman killed 49 people and wounded 42 others during Friday prayers at two mosques in Christchurch, a city located on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island.
The tragic event is regarded as the country’s deadliest ever attack, which Ardern strongly condemned as terrorism.
On Saturday morning, Ardern said during her second press conference held in the wake of the bloody rampage that the gunman, identified as Australian Brenton Tarrant, used five guns to commit the horrific crime, including two semi-automatic weapons and two shotguns he legally owned.
She added that Willington is resolute to make changes to firearms regulations.
“I can tell you one thing right now: our gun laws will change. Now is the time for change,” Ardern stressed.
The prime minister also said her “message was sympathy and love for all Muslim communities.”
The gunman, 28, broadcast live footage on Facebook of the attack on one mosque in Christchurch, mirroring the carnage played out in video games, after publishing a “manifesto” in which he denounced immigrants, calling them “invaders.”
The video showed the man driving up to the mosque, entering it and gunning down the people inside indiscriminately.
“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, adding that two others were also in police custody over the massacre.
None of those detained had a criminal history or was on any watchlist in New Zealand or Australia.