Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis surrenders his own semi-automatic rifle to police

Deputy Labour leader Kelvin Davis has joined other Kiwi gun owners and surrendered his own semi-automatic rifle to police.

The Corrections Minister handed in the gun early this week, before Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced all military-style semi-automatic and assault rifles would be banned following the mass shooting in Christchurch.

The senior Cabinet Minister and former teacher owned a .22 semi-automatic rifle with a 15-round magazine. He grew up in Northland, where hunting is a popular activity. 

"Leadership and responsibility should start at the top," Davis said in a statement.

"I handed it in because it was the right thing to do. The safety of New Zealanders is greater than my need to own a gun of this sort."

Almost immediately after the Christchurch massacre, Ardern declared the country's gun laws would change.

"There have been attempts to change our laws in 2005, 2012 and after an inquiry in 2017," she said on March 16, the day after the shooting.

"Now is the time for change."

She announced the ban the following Thursday, six days after the attack.

The decision has been met with worldwide admiration. Many compared the New Zealand Government's swift actions with the US, where despite regular mass shootings gun ownership is still largely viewed as the right of all citizens.