Christchurch Attacker May Have Had Support

Students perform a traditional Haka dance. Credit PA

New Zealand's gun laws are under intense scrutiny in the wake of the Christchurch mosque massacres, with the arms dealer who supplied guns to the killer saying he feels no responsibility for the tragedy.

The attack is the worst to occur in New Zealand in thirty years.

Australian Brenton Harris Tarrant, 28, is believed to be the only person responsible for the attacks, though he could have received support from others, the commissioner said.

David Tipple, the owner of Christchurch's Gun City, yesterday confirmed that Tarrant had bought weapons and ammunition from the gun store's online shop.

The Australian charged with murder in the mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques plans to represent himself and appears "rational", his court-appointed lawyer told the Agence France-Presse on Monday, March 18.

Some New Zealand gun owners are voluntarily surrendering their firearms after 50 people were killed in a mass shooting there last week - while the country's government is plowing forward with gun reform, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday.

Tipple said he supported Ardern's call for gun law reforms as the Christchurch shootings had raised legitimate concerns.

Speaking to media following the cabinet meeting, Ardern said that her coalition was "unified" in bringing about gun law reform and that further details on their decisions would be released before cabinet meets again next week. "The objective of this inquiry is to look at what all relevant agencies knew or could or should have known about the individual and his activities, including his access to weapons and whether they could have been in a position to prevent the attack".

A national memorial to honour victims of the attack is scheduled to take place but the prime minister gave no details of when it would happen.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has vowed to change the country's gun laws.

A candlelit vigil was led by Christchurch students. Credit PA
A candlelit vigil was led by Christchurch students. Credit PA

"Since I first heard about the atrocity on Friday afternoon I have reflected and reserved my thoughts", tweeted user @SirWB alongside a photo of a New Zealand police "arms surrender form".

New Zealand, a country of only 5 million people, has an estimated 1.5 million firearms.

New Zealand Police earlier said that the first body belonging to a victim of Friday's massacre had been released to their family.

He said that the firearm was not purchased from Gun City.

In a statement, Mia Garlick, spokeswoman for Facebook New Zealand, said that the company continues to "work around the clock to remove violating content from our site, using a combination of technology and people".

Iranian-American journalist and commentator Negar Mortazavi praised Ardern for wearing a headscarf, which she said was "a sign of respect" to the grieving Muslim community.

A teenager, whose name can not be published, appeared in court on Monday and was charged with distributing that footage.

Reigning Super Rugby champions Canterbury Crusaders, who play in Christchurch, said on Monday they would consider changing their name after criticism that it was historically insensitive.

New Zealand law allows semi-automatic weapons limited to seven shots, according to Reuters. Live-streamed video of a gunman in one mosque showed a semi-automatic weapon with a large magazine round.

Tarrant was "a brand new purchaser with a brand new licence".

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