New Zealand agrees gun reform as families of Christchurch mosque shooting grieve — latest updates

Investigations continue into the shooting which killed 50 people and injured dozens more

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Three days after New Zealand's deadliest peacetime shooting politicians promised to change their relaxed gun control laws.

Meanwhile, families of those killed and injured expressed frustration at delays in burying the victims.


New Zealand rugby's Crusaders to consider name change after mosque massacre

New Zealand's Canterbury Crusaders rugby team said they would consult with the Muslim community about a potential change of name after criticism following Friday's massacre at two mosques in their home city of Christchurch.

The name of the reigning Super Rugby champions has been questioned in the past, but the club said "we understand the concerns that have been raised" after the mass shooting, which left 50 people dead.

Distinctive writing on the attacker's weaponry included the names of historical figures from the Crusades, the religious wars waged by European Christians against Muslims for control of the Holy Land in the Middle Ages.

"In terms of the Crusaders name, we understand the concerns that have been raised," chief executive Colin Mansbridge said in a statement.

"In our view, this is a conversation that we should have and we are taking on board all of the feedback that we are receiving, however, we also believe that the time for that is not right now," he said.


Australian senator repeats Islamophobic remarks made after New Zealand shooting

Far-right Australian Senator Fraser Anning has doubled down on the Islamophobic anti-immigration comments he made following the mass shooting in Christchurch that left 50 dead, and refused to apologise.

In a press conference in Brisbane on Monday, the Queensland Senator said he wanted to clarify the comments he made last on Friday, both on Twitter and in a statement on Australian parliamentary letterhead, where he blamed the incident on the “growing fear over an increased Muslim presence” in Australia and New Zealand communities.

He added that the “real cause” of the shooting had been immigration programmes that “allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place".


UK police investigate Europe visit of New Zealand mosque attacker

British authorities are investigating the impact of a supposed visit to the UK by the white supremacist who murdered 50 worshippers at a mosque on Friday in New Zealand.
Brenton Tarrant, 28, spent "a few weeks" in the UK in 2017 a senior government source was quoted as saying, part of his extensive travels around the world from 2016-2018. A pan-European visit in 2017 potentially fuelled is radicalisation officials believe.
As events developed on Friday the head of counter terror policing, Neil Basu, said at the time there was "no intelligence linking these appalling events in Christchurch to the UK".


Australia pledges $39m to improve security at religious sites

Australia will spend millions of dollars on improving security at places of worship after the mass shooting at two mosques in New Zealand last week.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the $39 million (Dh143m) fund would go towards providing places of worship with "CCTV cameras, lighting, fencing, bollards, alarms, security systems and public address systems".

The suspect accused of killing 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch was from Australia.

Mr Morrison said the "community safety grants" will go to "religious schools, places of religious worship and religious assembly".

"I so wish we didn't need this on places of worship in Australia, whether they be at temples or schools or mosques or churches," said Mr Morrison. "It grieves me that this is necessary. But, sadly, it is."


Weapon owners surrender rifles

"Until today I was one of the New Zealanders who owned a semi-automatic rifle. On the farm they are a useful tool in some circumstances, but my convenience doesn’t outweigh the risk of misuse," John Hart, a farmer and Green Party candidate from Masterton said on Twitter on Monday.

"We don’t need these in our country. We have make sure it’s #NeverAgain."

Other firearm owners have also given up their weapons. Posting a picture of their arms surrender form on Twitter, one said "this is one of the easiest decisions I have ever made. Have owned a firearm for 31 years."

New Zealand's top online marketplace Trade Me Group said it was halting the sale of semi-automatic weapons after Friday's attack.

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


Gun shop owner said he sold killer weapons

The owner of Gun City, a gun shop in New Zealand, said he sold weapons to the attacker.

David Tipple said he sold the alleged gunman four weapons, but they did not appear to be the high-powered ones used in the shooting.

"I've informed the police that Gun City sold the alleged gunman four A Category firearms and ammunition," he said.

"All Gun City sales to this individual followed a police-verified online mail-order process."


Frustrations over delayed burials

Families of those killed in the attacks have expressed frustration over not being able to bury their lost loved ones.

Bodies cannot be released until post mortems are carried out, the New Zealand police said.

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 17: People light candles next to flowers and tributes laid by the wall of the Botanic Gardens on March 17, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. 50 people are confirmed dead, with 36 injured still in hospital following shooting attacks on two mosques in Christchurch on Friday, 15 March. 41 of the victims were killed at Al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue and seven died at Linwood mosque. Another victim died later in Christchurch hospital. A 28-year-old Australian-born man, Brenton Tarrant, appeared in Christchurch District Court on Saturday charged with murder. The attack is the worst mass shooting in New Zealand's history. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX***
People light candles next to flowers and tributes laid by the wall of the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch, New Zealand on Sunday. Getty Images

Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha said the first body was approved for release on Sunday night, but the family was yet to take the body because another relative was killed and they wanted to collect them together. He said there would be no burials on Monday.

"We’ve been working fairly hard through the night to ensure the process of returning the deceased to their loved ones is taking place expediently," he said.


Man charged with distributing live stream of killings

An 18-year-old man, who shared the video live streamed on Facebook by the gunman, has been charged and denied bail.

The man, who was arrested on Friday, faces charges of sharing the gunman's live-stream and posting a photograph of one of the mosques attacked with the message "target acquired" along with other chat messages "inciting extreme violence", the New Zealand Herald reported.

His request for bail was refused but the judge granted him name suppression. He is due back in court next month.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she wanted to speak with Facebook about live streaming, in wake of the event.


Police Commissioner says only one gunman took part

New Zealand's Police Commissioner Mike Bush said that there was only one gunman but did not rule out other people supporting the attacker.

"I want to definitely state that we believe that there was only one attacker responsible for this horrendous event," Mr Bush said.

"That doesn't mean there weren't possibly other people in support, and that continues to form a very, very important part of our investigation."

The country's inquiry into the events now involves staff from the United States FBI, Australian Federal Police and more than 250 officers and staff.


New Zealand will announce gun reform within 10 days

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that gun law reforms will be announced within 10 days following the Christchurch shootings that killed 50 people.

Ms Ardern said Cabinet ministers had met and made an in-principle decision to tighten gun ownership but details still need to be worked out.

"I intend to give further details of these decisions to the media and the public before cabinet meets again next Monday," she said.

"This ultimately means that within 10 days of this horrific act of terrorism we will have announced reforms which will, I believe, make our community safer."