Christchurch terror attack: Follow Australia's example on guns - expert

A gun law expert says we need to follow in Australia's footsteps if we want to prevent another tragedy from happening.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has promised the law will change, following the mass shooting in Christchurch that left 49 dead. founding director Phillip Alpers told Newshub the attack would have had a different outcome if attempted across the Tasman.

"If this person had tried to commit this crime in Australia, he would have failed. He could not have got those firearms and done the damage that he did, if he was subject to Australian gun laws."

Australia cracked down on guns following the 1996 Port Arthur massacre, which saw 35 lose their lives.

"Australia off the back of the Port Arthur massacre took just 12 days to radically change gun laws," said Alpers. "Since then, the risk of dying by gunshot in Australia has dropped by more than half - and stayed there."

  • More than 1 million firearms were handed over in the buyback scheme. A 2006 study found in the 18 years prior to 1996, there had been 13 mass shootings in Australia - and none in the following decade. Suicide and homicide rates also fell.

Until now, Alpers says many Kiwis didn't think such a horrific act of mass murder was possible in New Zealand.

"It's a matter of great pride for New Zealanders that we have such a sensible approach to firearms."

Suspect Brenton Tarrant - an Australian - appeared in court on Saturday charged with murder. More charges are likely to follow, police say.

He was allegedly armed with two semi-automatic rifles, two shotguns and a bolt-action rifle.

Newshub will be broadcasting at 10am on Sunday to cover the latest events. You can watch it online here or on Three.

If you would like to donate to the official Victim Support fund, go here. Victim Support's number is 0800 842846.