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Ocasio-Cortez Praises New Zealand as the Country Bans Assault Weapons within Days of Massacre

Junie Sihlangu
Mar 21, 2019
09:11 A.M.
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Last Friday, a mass murderer barged into two different mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand and killed 50 people. This week the country’s Prime Minister took a firm stance on gun control.

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Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez praised New Zealand’s leadership while comparing it to the United States.

Brenton Tarrant, 28, is a white extremist who live-streamed his mass attack to his Facebook page. He was arrested for entering two different mosques in Christchurch and began shooting at Muslim worshippers.

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Tarrant, who was armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, killed 50 people and injured dozens more during his rampage. He also released a 74-page manifesto that detailed his white supremacist beliefs, his hatred of Muslims, and his desire to see more acts of violence.

In his document, Tarrant referred to immigration in white-majority countries as an invasion. He is in now in custody awaiting charges after appearing in court last Saturday.

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On Thursday at a news conference, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the country would be banning what she called “military-style” weapons on April 11. Parts that allowed other guns to be converted would also be banned.

Ardern said, "The time for the mass and easy availability of these weapons must end. And today they will." She stated: “Today I am announcing that New Zealand will ban all military-style semi-automatic weapons.”

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Adding, “We will also ban all assault rifles. We will ban all high-capacity magazines.”Ardern continued:

“We will ban all parts with the ability to convert semi-automatic or any other type of firearm into a military-style semi-automatic weapon. We will ban parts that cause a firearm to generate semi-automatic, automatic, or close to automatic gunfire.”

She stated, “In short, every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country.” Guns would be handed in and destroyed through a buyback scheme that would cost between $69-million and $139-million.

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The cost would depend on how many weapons are received and their valuations. In response, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez praised the leadership shown by the prime minister.

A New York Democrat, Ocasio-Cortez, compared America’s lack of action on gun control after facing its own mass shootings. In a tweet, the lawmaker referenced the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre that occurred 6 years ago.

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During that incident, 20 students and 6 adults were killed. Writing on Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez said:

“Sandy Hook happened 6 years ago and we can’t even get the Senate to hold a vote on universal background checks w/ #HR8. Christchurch happened, and within days New Zealand acted to get weapons of war out of the consumer market. This is what leadership looks like.”

H.R.8 was in reference to a House bill that would require background checks on all gun sales, including private transactions. In February, the House passed the bill which is also called the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, by 240 to 190.

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The bill intended to have a background checks available for every gun sale. At the moment, licensed gun dealers are required by law to run background checks on people buying weapons.

However, private sellers aren’t obliged to run any checks, which the new bill would require.

On social media, people who usually send "thoughts and prayers" to victims and their families in the aftermath of mass shootings were mocked. The response was in relation to New Zealand’s new gun law.

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