New Zealand, a country of only 5 million people, has an estimated 1.5 million firearms. The minimum age for a gun license is 16, and 18 to own a semi-automatic weapon.
A Radio New Zealand report, based on police data secured through an Official Information Act request, said more than 99 percent of people who applied for a firearms licence in 2017 were successful.
A New Zealand standard A-category firearm licence is issued after a police and background check. No licence is required to buy a large round magazine, which can be illegally modified for use in such a weapon.
Only firearm owners are licensed, not weapons, so there is no monitoring of how many weapons a person may possess.
The plans for gun control measures came as Tarrant’s court-appointed lawyer said the suspect intended to represent himself.
Duty lawyer Richard Peters, who represented Tarrant during the preliminary court hearing, told AFP the 28-year-old “indicated he does not want a lawyer”.