Police stand outside a mosque in Linwood, Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed during shootings at two mosques full of people attending Friday prayers. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Mark Baker/AP
Police stand outside a mosque in Linwood, Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed during shootings at two mosques full of people attending Friday prayers. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Now playing
02:26
Scenes from one of New Zealand's 'darkest days'
Now playing
02:44
Some far-right politicians' language encourages hate
Human chain forming around Wellington mosque before Friday prayer CREDIT Veronika Meduna
Veronika Meduna
Human chain forming around Wellington mosque before Friday prayer CREDIT Veronika Meduna
Now playing
02:43
New Zealanders form human chain to back Muslim community
CNN
Now playing
01:42
Man describes confronting New Zealand shooting suspect
Tributes laid at the police line close to the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch where 41 people died.
CNN/Hilary Whiteman
Tributes laid at the police line close to the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch where 41 people died.
Now playing
01:51
Terror attack death toll rises to 50
Facebook/Wasseim Alsati
Now playing
00:55
New Zealand attack survivor shares message from hospital
A police officer secures the area in front of the Masjid al Noor mosque after a shooting incident in Christchurch on March 15, 2019. - Attacks on two Christchurch mosques left at least 49 dead on March 15, with one gunman -- identified as an Australian extremist -- apparently livestreaming the assault that triggered the lockdown of the New Zealand city. (Photo by Tessa BURROWS / AFP)        (Photo credit should read TESSA BURROWS/AFP/Getty Images)
Tessa BurrowsAFP/Getty Images
A police officer secures the area in front of the Masjid al Noor mosque after a shooting incident in Christchurch on March 15, 2019. - Attacks on two Christchurch mosques left at least 49 dead on March 15, with one gunman -- identified as an Australian extremist -- apparently livestreaming the assault that triggered the lockdown of the New Zealand city. (Photo by Tessa BURROWS / AFP) (Photo credit should read TESSA BURROWS/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:18
Online platforms scramble to remove terror attack videos
In the wake of the deadly attack against two mosques in New Zealand, police officers sit in their vehicle out side the Al Aqsa Islamic Society mosque in Philadelphia, ahead of prayers Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Matt Rourke/AP
In the wake of the deadly attack against two mosques in New Zealand, police officers sit in their vehicle out side the Al Aqsa Islamic Society mosque in Philadelphia, ahead of prayers Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Now playing
02:20
Suspect's manifesto part of a disturbing pattern
Rosemary Omar worried mom son missing
Matthew Mckew
Rosemary Omar worried mom son missing
Now playing
01:57
New Zealand mom worries: Waiting to see if son is all right
New Zealand mosque analysis
Levi West
New Zealand mosque analysis
Now playing
01:09
Expert: Catching videos on social media harder than you think
TVNZ
Now playing
02:19
New Zealand Prime Minister: This was a terrorist attack
Matthew Mckew
Now playing
00:41
Survivor: I prayed the shooter would run out of bullets
TVNZ
Now playing
01:28
Police commissioner: Vehicles we stopped had IEDs
TVNZ
Now playing
02:06
Prime Minister: One of New Zealand's darkest days
TVNZ
Now playing
02:01
Witness: Shooting lasted for 10-15 minutes
Auckland CNN —  

New Zealand’s government has agreed to reform the country’s gun laws in the wake of last Friday’s massacre at two mosques, in which 50 people were killed, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed.

Ardern said that the “worst act of terrorism on our shores” had exposed a range of weaknesses in New Zealand’s gun laws.

Speaking after her weekly cabinet meeting Monday evening local time, Ardern told reporters that ministers had agreed “in principle” to reform gun laws.

“Within 10 days of this horrific act of terrorism we will have announced reforms which will, I believe, make our community safer,” she said.

While acknowledging that “for a short period” the planned amendments might create uncertainty for some gun owners, Ardern said: “I strongly believe that the vast majority of gun owners in New Zealand will agree with the sentiment that change needs to occur.”

Earlier Monday, popular New Zealand e-commerce website TradeMe ended the sale of semi-automatic guns on its online marketplace.

“We have listened to public sentiment following Friday’s terrorist attack in Christchurch and decided to remove all semi-automatic firearms sales and parts associated,” TradeMe wrote in a statement.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirms reforms to gun laws will be announced by March 25.
Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirms reforms to gun laws will be announced by March 25.

Inquiry to be launched into attack

The Prime Minister also announced that there would be an inquiry into the specific circumstances leading up to Friday’s attack.

The inquiry will look into what agencies knew – or should have known – about the gunman’s access to weapons or any impediments into the sharing of information, she said.

It will also look at the individual’s travel movements, activities in New Zealand, use of social media and contact with others.

The key agencies the inquiry would look at include the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service, Government Communications Security Bureau, Police, Customs and Immigration, she said.

Ardern said that her government had also had preliminary discussions around ensuring that New Zealanders had an opportunity to commemorate the victims as one but that any national memorial service would not take place this week.

Ardern, accompanied by the governor-general, Patsy Reddy, and Parliament Speaker Trevor Mallard, on Monday opened a national condolence book for victims. People can go to the National Library in the capital of Wellington to sign the book.

“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.

First body of victim released

New Zealand Police earlier said that the first body belonging to a victim of Friday’s massacre had been released to their family.

Authorities have been racing to identify the 50 people killed, with Islamic tradition calling for a person to be buried as soon as possible after death – ideally within 24 hours.

A Syrian refugee, a Pakistani academic and their sons were among the 50 people killed, family members and non-profit organizations confirmed.

“We had our first release of a deceased person, official release last evening,” Police Deputy Commissioner Wally Haumaha said during a news conference in Christchurch Monday afternoon local time.

However, Haumaha told reporters the family had declined to take possession of the body, choosing to wait instead for the release of a second family member who was also killed in the attack.

“The process has been very emotional and highly stressful for all and you can imagine the emotions are running high, as in accordance with the Islamic faith, the families have wanted their bodies to be returned as soon as possible. We are ensuring that we do that,” he said.

Ardern said Sunday that authorities had started returning identified bodies to families, and all bodies would be returned by Wednesday. Six disaster victim identification experts have traveled from Australia to help hasten the process, she said.

Injured still critical

In addition to the people killed, 50 others were wounded in the attack, authorities said. Of the injured, 31 people remain in Christchurch Hospital, including nine in critical condition in intensive care, health officials said Monday.

A 4-year-old girl also remains in a critical condition at a hospital in Auckland after being transferred there on Saturday. Her father is also being treated in Auckland and officials said he was in serious but stable condition.

New Zealand police described efforts to identify the victims as “detailed and complex work” that must be completed thoroughly.

The victims’ names were not made public but a preliminary list has been shared with families, police said Sunday.

New Zealand’s largest criminal investigation

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush told reporters Monday that the investigation into the attacks was the largest criminal probe ever undertaken by the country’s police.

He said 250 detectives and specialists were conducting the investigation, with jurisdictions all around the world assisting. The FBI, Australian Federal Police and the New Zealand Police Force’s own partner agencies were also working on the ground in New Zealand, Bush said.

Three days after the shootings, Australian Brenton Harris Tarrant, 28, appears to be the only person in custody who has been linked to the attack.

“We believe that there is only one attacker responsible for this horrendous event,” the commissioner said, adding that it was possible the suspect still could have received support from others.

Tarrant had been living in the southern city of Dunedin, around 225 miles from Christchurch and had traveled around the world, including Turkey and Pakistan.

Officials said he had no criminal history in New Zealand or Australia and had not drawn the attention of the intelligence community for extremist views.

Bush said the threat level in New Zealand remained high and there would be increased visibility from police and emergency service partners “for weeks to come.”

Graphic video raises questions over offensive content

The attack was broadcast live on Facebook and the graphic video was copied and shared by users of the platform.

Facebook removed 1.5 million videos of the mosque attack in the first 24 hours, the social media company tweeted Sunday.

Of these, Facebook said more than 1.2 million were blocked at the point of upload.

Additionally, all edited versions of the video that don’t show the graphic content were also removed “out of respect for the people affected by this tragedy and the concerns of local authorities,” Mia Garlick of Facebook New Zealand, said on Twitter.

Friday’s video has reignited questions about how social media platforms handle offensive content, with many questioning if companies are doing enough to try to catch this type of hate-filled content.

Tarrant also sent an 87-page manifesto to Ardern minutes before the attack.

The document, also posted on social media before the shooting, was filled with anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim screeds. Authorities have declined to discuss potential motives for the attack.

Tarrant, who is facing one murder charge, made a hand gesture associated with white supremacists when he appeared in court on Saturday.

He was remanded in custody and will reappear in court April 5. The duty lawyer temporarily assigned to the suspect told CNN Monday that Tarrant had made it clear that he did not want legal representation.

Richard Peters, assigned by Christchurch District Court to assist Tarrant in preliminary court appearances, said that the defendant hopes to represent himself.

CNN’s Susannah Cullinane wrote from Auckland, Madeline Holcombe from Atlanta and Jack Guy from London. CNN’s Jo Shelley contributed to this report from Christchurch.