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Christchurch Dealer who Sold Arms to Mosque Attacker Rejects Responsibility

Christchurch Dealer who Sold Arms to Mosque Attacker Rejects Responsibility

Monday, 18 March, 2019 - 07:00
Gun City owner David Tipple listens to reporters questions during a press conference in Christchurch, New Zealand, Monday, March 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Asharq Al-Awsat
The New Zealand arms dealer who sold weapons to the 28-year-old mosque attacker said Monday he felt no responsibility for the deaths of 50 worshipers who were gunned down.

David Tipple, the managing director of Gun City, confirmed he sold gunman Brenton Tarrant four firearms and ammunition through a "police-verified online mail order process."

"We detected nothing extraordinary about this licence holder," Tipple told a press conference in Christchurch.

Tipple refused to answer direct questions about the use of firearms sold from his shop, indicating this was not the time for a debate about guns.

Asked if he held any sense of responsibility, Tipple said: "No, I do not."

He added he would continue to sell weapons to anyone with the same credentials as the gunman.

It was the responsibility of the police to vet firearms license applications, he said.

Latest available statistics show police approved 99.6 percent of nearly 45,000 applications in 2017 when Tarrant received his license.

Tipple said the military-style semi-automatic (MSSA) the gunman was seen using did not come from his store.

"We didn't sell him a rifle used in the incident. I watched the video, I saw the rifle, and I know for sure where it came from -- if it has the serial number that I expect -- and it was not from any Gun City affiliated store," he said.

Tarrant obtained his standard "A-category" firearms license in November 2017 and bought four weapons over four months using an online service, Tipple said, adding Gun City had records of the purchases and had provided full details to the police.

Separately, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said gun law reforms would be announced within 10 days and an inquiry conducted into intelligence and security services who failed to detect the risk from the attacker or his plans.

The police commissioner Mike Bush said police are certain Tarrant was the only gunman but aren't ruling out that he had support.

"I would like to state that we believe absolutely there was only one attacker responsible for this," he told a news conference. "That doesn't mean there weren't possibly other people in support and that continues to form a very, very important part of our investigation."

Thousands of people struggling to make sense of the tragedy have paid tribute to the victims at makeshift memorials in Christchurch.

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