All military-style automatic weapons, assault rifles, and high-capacity magazines will be banned in New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced just days after a white nationalist gunman killed 50 people in two mosques in the city of Christchurch.
"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 said.
"Every semi-automatic weapon used in the terror attack on Friday will be banned,” she added. "This legislation will be drafted and introduced in urgency."
Ardern said that she hopes the law will become official by April 11.
Sales of the weapons will be banned and the government will buy back barred weapons from residents who have already purchased them. The buyback plan could cost between $100 million and $200 million, CNN reported.
New Zealand has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world, with about 1.2 million guns among its 5 million residents -- roughly one for every three adults.
Australia passed a similar law following the 1996 Port Arthur massacre. Since the ban was implemented, the country has destroyed over one million weapons. During that time, mass shootings dropped to zero, gun homicides dropped by 5.5 percent per year and gun suicides dropped by 4.8 percent per year.
Democrats call for same action in US:
As New Zealand eschewed “thoughts and prayers” and instead responded to the deadly mass shootings with swift, decisive action, American politicians questioned why the United States cannot follow suit despite averaging more than 20 mass shootings (where at least 4 people were murdered with a gun) per year.
“This is what real action to stop gun violence looks like. We must follow New Zealand's lead, take on the NRA and ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons in the United States,” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a 2020 Democratic candidate, tweeted Wednesday.
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed Congress for failing to even vote on a bill to require background checks for all gun purchases in the wake of countless mass shootings.
“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. “Christchurch happened, and within days New Zealand acted to get weapons of war out of the consumer market. This is what leadership looks like.”