Published: Mon, March 18, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Christchurch mosque terror attacks: Australian police raid houses in relation to attacks

Christchurch mosque terror attacks: Australian police raid houses in relation to attacks

A 28-year-old man, who authorities identified as Brenton Harrison Tarrant, has been charged with murder.

Tightening New Zealand's gun laws was at the top of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's agenda as she met with her cabinet on Monday for the first time since the massacre.

On Monday, Tarrant's lawyer said his client was not mentally unstale and planned to represent himself in the court.

"The primary aim of the activity is to formally obtain material that may assist New Zealand Police in their ongoing investigation", the Australian Federal Police and New South Wales Police said in a joint statement.

He said police "believe there was only one attacker responsible for this horrendous event" but are still looking into whether or not anyone else was involved in supporting the attack. Posting a picture of their arms surrender form on Twitter, one said "this is one of the easiest decisions I have ever made". Further north, in Auckland, an unnamed gun shop owner reportedly had a significant increase in the sales of semi-automatic weapon and multiple phone enquiries about how much stock was left in store.

Tarrant had a category-A gun license which meant he could legally buy the weapons he used, although there are suggestions the guns were altered to make them more lethal, Ardern told reporters.

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Ardern burst into prominence during New Zealand's 2017 election, feted globally as part of a new wave of progressive, young leaders that included France's Emmanuel Macron and Canada's Justin Trudeau.

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"But it is clear public sentiment has changed in relation to semi-automatic weapons and we acknowledge that, which is why we're putting this ban in place".

Elliot Dawson, who survived the shooting at Christchurch's Linwood mosque by hiding in a bathroom, hopes New Zealand follows Australia's lead on gun control.

"Our view is that trading between licensed owners via Trade Me in a safe, trusted, transparent and traceable environment is better for New Zealand than numerous alternatives", said the company.

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.

Tarrant's uncle, Terry Fitzgerald, apologised to the families of the dead and injured in New Zealand.

Experts argue that New Zealand has indeed been on the cusp of change in gun legislation for years, but never had political unity around the issue.

Ardern said the details are still to be worked out but the changes to the country's firearms laws will be announced in full within 10 days.

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.

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