Kiwis asked to consider handing in guns

The owner of Gun City says it sold guns and ammunition to the alleged Christchurch mosque shooter.
The owner of Gun City says it sold guns and ammunition to the alleged Christchurch mosque shooter.

The Australian white supremacist accused of killing 50 people in a terror attack on New Zealand mosques bought four guns online, it's been revealed, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern urged citizens to hand in weapons before new laws are introduced.

The owner of Christchurch gunshop Gun City on Monday confirmed 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant had bought the guns and ammunition online from the store.

But David Tipple said none of the weapons were the military-style semi-automatic rifles used during the attack, adding he and staff were disgusted by the shooting.

The gunman is believed to have carried five weapons, legally bought with a licence, and then later illegally modified.

"We detected nothing extraordinary about this licence holder," Tipple said.

Meanwhile, Ardern said she would reveal tougher new gun laws within 10 days following an agreement by senior ministers.

"To make our community safer, the time to act is now," she told reporters on Monday.

While she said details were being worked through, cabinet has been looking at a ban on semi-automatic assault rifles, tighter licensing rules and the issue of modified weapons.

New Zealand's biggest gun show, the Kumeu Militaria event, was cancelled on Monday out of respect for victims and security concerns.

And Trademe, New Zealand's answer to Ebay, said it would halt the sale of semi-automatic weapons while awaiting answers from the government.

Police said they were aware of sellers voluntarily taking similar steps.

"We have been talking to them. But they are, the ones that are volunteering, have done so themselves.

That followed reports over the weekend of panic buying of guns by some store owners, although the figures have yet to be confirmed.

While she would not say whether a buyback or amnesty scheme would be part of the new laws, Ardern said New Zealanders were free to hand over their guns.

"If anyone has a weapon that either they should not be in possession of, or they have concern over the events of Friday, they are welcome at any time to surrender that weapon to police," she told reporters.

Police later reiterated the message.

There are an estimated 1.5 million firearms in New Zealand - roughly one for every three citizens and more than double the rate in Australia.

There's no restriction on the number of guns or quantity of ammunition a licensed gun owner can have and pest control is legally considered a reason to own a military-style semi-automatic weapon.

Australian Associated Press