New Zealand’s new gun laws get final assent to take effect

New Zealand’s governor general has formally signed into effect sweeping gun laws outlawing military style weapons, less than a month after a man used such guns to kill 50 people and wound dozens at two mosques in Christchurch.

Governor General Patsy Reddy signed the bill Thursday as police said a buyback program will be announced to collect the now-banned weapons. The weapons will be illegal starting at midnight, but police said an amnesty will be in effect until details of the buyback are announced.

The House of Representatives passed the legislation by a final vote of 119 to 1 Wednesday. Anyone who retains such a weapon now faces a penalty of up to five years in prison. Exemptions allow heirloom weapons or those used for professional pest control.

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