New Zealand Shootings Shocked Country With Low Crime Rates

New Zealand Shootings Shocked Country With Low Crime Rates

The Muslim-hating New Zealand mosque shooter carried out the heinous attack using five guns that were obtained legally, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said a day after the massacre.

Armed police were deployed at several locations in all cities, unusual in a country where levels of gun violence are low.

New Zealand does not ban semi-automatic firearms, unlike Australia and the U.K. (Norway will follow suit in 2021.) And while New Zealand gun owners are required to obtain a license and complete a gun safety course, they do not have to register their guns, with some exceptions, making it impossible for police to know the exact number of firearms in the country.

A 17-minute video taken from a helmet camera showed a shooter in his auto, arming himself, getting out of the vehicle and entering the mosque where he started shooting appeared online, authorities rushing to stop it circulating.

They tweeted: "A complex investigation is underway into this awful attack, and Police have a number of a priorities today in terms of investigation and intelligence gathering".

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said 49 people were killed in total and health authorities said 48 people were being treated for gunshot wounds, including young children. A "manifesto" was also posted online, denouncing immigrants as "invaders".

There are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand and in fact have no place in the world.

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But in New Zealand such weapons can be lawfully owned by anyone who holds a standard firearms licence and the firearms do not need to be registered.

Ambulance staff take a man from outside the mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand.

Political and Islamic leaders across Asia and the Middle East voiced concern over the targeting of Muslims. "1.3 billion Muslims have collectively been blamed for any act of terror".

One man who said he was at the Al Noor mosque told media the gunman was white, blond and wearing a helmet and a bulletproof vest. "I mean I go every Friday to a mosque for prayers and this could have been any one of us". He said he and others escaped by breaking through a glass door. YouTube and Twitter took hours to remove it from their platforms, according to Bloomberg.

Officials say 41 people were killed at the Masjid Al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue, before fire broke out at Linwood Masjid six kilometres away, leaving seven more dead.

The Bangladesh cricket team was arriving for Friday prayers when the shooting occurred but all members were safe, a team coach told Reuters. For many, this may not have been the place they were born.

Social media was flooded with messages of shock, sympathy and solidarity. Another showed a pair of figures, one in a headscarf, embracing.

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