- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 17, 2019

The New Zealand government’s vow to pass stiffer gun laws in the wake of the Christchurch mosques massacre has produced a run on gun stores, especially benefiting military-style semi-automatic weapons, before any new bans or restrictions can pass.

Multiple sources and reports on the New Zealand newspaper portal stuff.co.nz described continuous inquiries on the AR-15, the popular rifles being out of stock, and panic buying.

Visiting Gun City in Auckland, the self-described “largest gun store in the world,” a Stuff reporter wrote that “a staff member was overheard telling someone on the phone that the AR-15 had sold out, but there were other models of semi-automatic guns available. The rack where the AR-15s had been displayed was empty.”

According to newsroom.co.nz, the Christchurch branch of that chain also was doing brisk business Saturday, the day after a gunman killed 50 people and wounded dozens more at two mosques in the same city.

The gun-rights Facebook group Kiwi Gun Blog also collected accounts of additional purchases of semi-automatic weapons, ammunition and magazines around the country.

“Went to Serious Shooters and Gun City. Packed and most of the cheaper ARs sold out,” reported one commenter, while another compared the purchases to “the Obama scare” in the U.S., where the threat of tighter gun laws led people to buy more weapons while legal.

SEE ALSO: Brenton Tarrant bought four guns legally, New Zealand dealer says

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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