New Zealand’s Prime Minister: ‘I Do Not Understand’ U.S. Inaction on Mass Shootings
New Zealand Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern claimed that people don’t “need access to military-style semiautomatic weapons and assault rifles” and she doesn’t understand why the United States hasn’t passed stronger gun legislation following multiple mass shootings.
Ahern was responding to a question from CNN’s Christiane Amanpour who was asking whether countries can learn from New Zealand.
“Australia experienced a massacre and changed their laws. New Zealand had its experience, and changed its laws,” she said. “To be honest with you, I do not understand the United States.”
“You can draw a line and say that does not mean that you need access to military-style semiautomatic weapons and assault rifles,” Ardern said.
Ardern announced New Zealand would ban military-style semiautomatic weapons, assault rifles and high-capacity magazines just days after the March 15 mass shootings on two mosques in Christchurch.
Fifty-one people were killed in the white supremacist terrorist attack.
“After you’ve witnessed … New Zealand’s Muslim community be attacked in that way, the only answer was to do everything we could to prevent it from ever happening again,” Ardern said.
Amanpour noted there have been “over 110 mass shootings in the United States since 1982 … and 15 school shootings alone this year.”
The prime minister spoke with Amanpour ahead of a summit on online extremism beginning Wednesday. It was organized by Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron, and will see world leaders and tech executives sign a pledge called the “Christchurch Call.”
The pledge aims to end the use of social media in acts of terrorism.
The New York Times reports the United States is not among the expected signers of the non-binding pledge, as officials are reportedly concerned about the free speech implications of the pledge.
Ardern has said the pledge is focused narrowly on violent content. “I don’t think anyone would argue that the terrorist had a right to live stream the murder of 50 people,” she said.
(Watch above, via CNN)
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