Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Slams U.S. Inaction on Gun Control as Jacinda Ardern Bans Weapons: 'This Is What Leadership Looks Like'

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez praised the leadership shown by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on gun control in the wake of the deadly Christchurch mosque shootings by a white nationalist.

Ardern announced that as a result of the attack that left 50 people dead and dozens more injured, New Zealand would ban what she called "military-style" weapons and parts that allow other guns to be converted into automatic firearms.

Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat known for her outspokenness, compared the lack of action on gun control after U.S. mass shootings, such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that killed 26 in 2012, with Ardern's swift action.

"Sandy Hook happened 6 years ago and we can't even get the Senate to hold a vote on universal background checks w/ #HR8," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, referring to a House bill that would require background checks on all gun sales, including private transactions.

"Christchurch happened, and within days New Zealand acted to get weapons of war out of the consumer market. This is what leadership looks like," she said.

Last Friday, Brenton Tarrant, 28, the suspect in the Christchurch mosque shootings, allegedly streamed live to his Facebook page his attack as he entered two mosques in Christchurch while heavily armed and began shooting at Muslim worshippers, killing men, women and children.

Tarrant also released a manifesto detailing his white supremacist beliefs, his hatred of Muslims and his desire to see more acts of violence. He referred to immigration in white-majority countries as an invasion. Tarrant has been charged with one count of murder and is in custody awaiting more charges.

"Today I am announcing that New Zealand will ban all military-style semi-automatic weapons," Ardern said at a news conference on Thursday.

"We will also ban all assault rifles. We will ban all high-capacity magazines. 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 said. "In short, every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country."

Despite multiple mass shootings and calls for gun control, a similar move is unlikely in U.S., where the right to bear arms is seen as part of the Second Amendment and gun control is a fiercely divisive issue.

In February, the House passed H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, by a 240-190 vote. The bill is now with the Republican-controlled Senate, where it will likely die. It would require a background check for every gun sale.

Licensed gun dealers are currently required by law to run background checks on people buying weapons. But private sellers do not have to run any checks, which the new bill would require.

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Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at a press conference announcing the proposed Green New on February 7. She recently compared the lack of action on gun control in the U.S. with the New Zealand prime minister's swift action on a gun ban after the Christchurch mosque shootings. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Slams U.S. Inaction on Gun Control as Jacinda Ardern Bans Weapons: 'This Is What Leadership Looks Like' | U.S.
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