Brenton Tarrant Fires Lawyer, Represents Himself in Christchurch Mosque Attack Case

Mar 19, 2019, 00:20
Brenton Tarrant Fires Lawyer, Represents Himself in Christchurch Mosque Attack Case

David Tipple, the owner of Christchurch's Gun City, yesterday confirmed that Tarrant had bought weapons and ammunition from the gun store's online shop.

In the wake of Friday's horrific mass-shooting in Christchurch that left 50 people dead and scores more fighting for their lives in hospital, New Zealand's gun laws have come under vast public pressure as those across the country try to come to terms with the shocking tragedy.

The death toll from the massacre stands at 50, with another 50 people injured, after a gunman burst into a mosque and opened fire on worshippers with a semi-automatic rifle and high-capacity magazines, and then attacked a second mosque.

Leaders are considering a total ban on semiautomatic weapons like the one avowed neo-Nazi Brenton Harrison Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian, is accused of using to kill 50 people in attacks on two mosques in the city of Christchurch.

At his first court appearance, Tarrant didn't speak but appeared unrepentant, smirking at journalists and flashing an upside down "okay" sign - a symbol associated with white power groups around the world.

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In vowing to tighten gun laws, Ms Ardern has said the attacker used five guns, two of them semi-automatic, which were purchased with an ordinary gun licence and modified. "We are one. They are us", she wrote in the book.

But Mr Tipple said none of the weapons were the military-style semi-automatic rifles used during Friday's attack, adding he and staff were disgusted by the shooting. There was a sense of safety in coming together on Monday, she said.

"It definitely makes you feel like New Zealand really does come together in a time of darkness and we can really just be who we are".

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 license in 2017 were successful.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern countered Monday that tech companies have "a lot of work" to do to curb the proliferation of hateful and violent content.

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"While it is a small action, the condolence book offers an opportunity for New Zealanders to unite and express our opposition to hate and state our commitment to the values of love and compassion", Ardern said.

Tipple dodged any further questions on gun law and refused to offer his personal views on gun ownership, saying "today is not the day" to address the country's firearms debate. "The fact that we continue to stay silent is what's going to make us as a country less safe".

Bodies can not be released until post mortems are carried out, the New Zealand police said. "We are ensuring that we do that", he said.

The last time New Zealand carried out serious gun reforms was after a mass shooting at Aramoana near Dunedin in 1990.

New Zealand, a country of only 5 million people, has an estimated 1.5 million firearms.

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The Australian white supremacist charged in the massacre wasn't detected before his well-planned attack on two mosques and there have been concerns intelligence agencies were overly focused on the Muslim community in detecting and preventing security risks.