Sunday 22 September 2019

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: 'It took New Zealand six days to ban automatic weapons. Sandy Hook was six years ago'

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AP)
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AP) Newsdesk Newsdesk

It's been just under a week since a gunman entered a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, and murdered 50 people and injured 50 others.

This morning New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the country will ban military-style semi-automatic and assault rifles under tough new gun laws.

In the immediate aftermath of last Friday's shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, Ardern labelled the attack as terrorism and said New Zealand's gun laws would change.

"On 15 March our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too. We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place," Ardern told a new conference.

“All semi-automatic weapons used during the terrorist attack on Friday 15 March will be banned."

Ardern said she expects the new laws to be in place by April 11 and a buy-back scheme will be established for banned weapons.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (Kyodo News/AP)

The buyback would cost up to NZ$200 million ($138 million), she said.

All military style semi-automatics (MSSA) and assault rifles would be banned, along with parts used to convert weapons into MSSAs and all high-capacity magazines.

Under existing New Zealand gun laws, a standard A-category gun license allows semi-automatics limited to seven shots. Live-streamed video of a gunman in one of the mosques showed a semi-automatic weapon modified with a large magazine.

Australia banned semi-automatic weapons and launched a gun buy-back after the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 in which 35 people were gunned down.

The ban is set to be enforced on Friday meaning it has taken New Zealand just six days to outlaw semi-automatic weapons, following last Friday's atrocity.

Meanwhile, the United States, which has already witnessed more than 60 mass shootings in 2019 alone, is still yet to take any action on enforcing stricter gun laws.

cohen 001.jpg
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) listens to the testimony of former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen at a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Democrat congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, highlighted in a tweet that the Sandy Hook massacre, where 20 children were shot dead, occurred six years ago and not even that tragedy could convince the Senate to hold a vote on universal background checks.

She also shared the above video of Arden and added the words "this is what leadership looks like."

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