New Zealand lawmakers overwhelmingly backed a bill Tuesday that would ban the weapons used to kill 50 people in mosque shootings last month. Just one of Parliament’s 120 members opposed the bill in the vote, the first of three needed as lawmakers plan to fast-track the bill into law.
“Owning a firearm is a privilege, not a right,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. “We need to remove the most dangerous weapons from our community.”
The bill would ban a range of semiautomatic weapons while instituting a buyback program requiring current owners of such guns to give them to authorities by September, according to Radio New Zealand.
The broadcaster reported that legislators plan for the bill to become law on April 11 — four weeks after the attacks at two mosques in Christchurch.
“We don’t ever want to see an attack like this in our country again,” Nash said. “We are compelled to act quickly.”
The only lawmaker who opposed the bill, David Seymour of the conservative ACT party, voiced concern over the bill’s pace through Parliament.
Seymour planned to stall the legislation in the Parliament but missed a vote to do so while explaining his plans to journalists outside, according to Agence France-Presse.
“The best way to show defiance in the face of terrorism is to refuse to erode our democratic institutions,” he said, per the news agency.
The bill was otherwise supported by liberal and conservative lawmakers.
At least one group, the Council for Licenced Firearms Owners, expressed concern about the cost of the planned buyback program, according to the New Zealand Herald.
A Treasury estimated the program would cost up to $200 million ($135 million USD). But lawmakers broadly agreed during the bill’s first reading to support the program regardless of cost, the Herald reported.
Other gun initiatives, including a gun register and new storage rules, could come later this year, per Agence France-Presse, which reported that New Zealand has about 30 privately owned firearms for every 100 people.
The United States, by comparison, has about 90 firearms for every 100 people, according to the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Sweeping gun law could go into effect in New Zealand just weeks after mosque attacks