New Zealand shooter is ‘lucid’ and understands charges, lawyer says

New Zealand Prime Minister said gun laws will change. Credit PA

Brenton Tarrant, charged for murder in relation to the mosque shootings, is seen in the dock during his appearance in the Christchurch District Court, New Zealand, March 16, 2019.

The New Zealand arms dealer who sold weapons to the 28-year-old mosque attacker said Monday he felt no responsibility for the deaths of 50 worshipers who were gunned down.

Tarrant has not yet entered a plea.

None of the guns sold were military-style, semi-automatic weapons, according to Mr Tipple. Of the 3.9 million New Zealanders old enough to own guns, around 6 percent have a firearm license - compared to three in 10 American adults who said they owned a gun in 2017.

Multiple sources and reports on the New Zealand newspaper portal stuff.co.nz described continuous inquiries on the AR-15, the popular rifles being out of stock, and panic buying.

Tipple said the online purchases followed a police-verified online mail-order process and A-category firearms were bought in three or four purchases.

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

"We need to ban some semi-automatics, perhaps all of them", he told Radio New Zealand.

This equates to three guns for every 10 people, well below the U.S. ratio of more than one weapon per person but higher than neighbouring Australia, where gun ownership was slashed in reforms following the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in which 35 people died.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed gun law reforms are coming - announcing on Monday afternoon that the Cabinet had made an "in principle" agreement.

The whole community mourned the death of the 50 people. Credit PA
The whole community mourned the death of the 50 people. Credit PA

"We have been talking to them".

Friday's attacks, which Ardern labeled as terrorism, came as the worst ever peacetime mass killings in New Zealand and the country had raised its security threat level to the highest.

Ardern's cabinet will meet on Monday for the first time since the attacks, with a tightening of gun laws on the agenda.

Ardern added that the mail was transferred to the security services within two minutes after it was received.

Facebook said on Twitter it had removed 1.5 million videos of the attack in the first 24 hours and it was also removing all edited versions, even those without graphic content.

Families of victims were still waiting for bodies of those killed to be released after post mortems, with some of the dead to be taken overseas for burial.

At the Linwood mosque, Abdul Aziz said he had run towards the gunman outside the mosque, throwing a credit card machine at him. That meant there were different views as to whether they would be washed or not because he said Islamic jurisprudence said martyrs are not to be washed as their blood was witness to their martyrdom. The decision was motivated by "respect for the people affected by this tragedy and the concerns of local authorities", she said. "But it is at the discretion of the family", said Mo.

A student, who asked not to be identified, said a friend had been killed.

The two mosques involved in the shootings have been closed since the massacre, but are expected to reopen by Friday prayers after cleansing blessings were carried out, said Haumaha. "I imagine the opposition will be supportive".

Responding to commentary about police response times to the attacks, Commissioner Bush said: "I can tell you that within six minutes of police being called. police staff were on the scene".

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