Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) took aim at the Second Amendment by endorsing the swift gun ban that New Zealand implemented within a week of the horrific Mosque shootings, in which a white supremacist claimed the lives of 50 innocent people.
The shooting in New Zealand occurred last Friday, but on Wednesday New Zealand announced that they would be banning several “military-style” semi-automatic weapons, as well as assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced, “Every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country.”
"Every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country"
New Zealand's PM Jacinda Ardern announces new gun laws
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) March 21, 2019
Some were impressed by the swift action taken by Ardern and the New Zealand legislature after the horrific shooting, including 2020 presidential hopeful Sanders.
The senator took to Twitter to commend New Zealand’s decision to ban certain guns and urged the United States to follow in their footsteps by taking on the National Rifle Association and banning those guns in the U.S., too.
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. https://t.co/lSAisDG9Ur
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 21, 2019
Sanders was not alone in announcing his support for the swift gun ban. Others, including Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), joined in on commending the actions taken by New Zealand.
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 ⬇️ https://t.co/TcdR63anBt
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 21, 2019
This is how you do it. https://t.co/VzdCg6IGxe
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) March 21, 2019
While some were urging the United States to follow New Zealand’s lead, many were quick to point out that Americans have the right to own firearms enshrined in the Constitution, arguing that the government can’t decide just six days after a horrific event that they want to strip the rights of the people.
Several took to Twitter to question the calls made by Sanders and company to strip Americans of rights that are protected under the Second Amendment.
Owning firearms in New Zealand is a privilege.
Owning firearms in the United States is a constitutionally protected right.
The fact that AOC doesn’t know the difference is disturbing. https://t.co/M1QvMYHXp5
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) March 21, 2019
We're not New Zealand. Here, we have an inalienable right to bear arms and an inalienable right to self defense. So, unlike New Zealand, here the government can't track down gun owners and/or come into our homes and confiscate our guns. Thank God we're not New Zealand. https://t.co/baaMjO8k8k
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) March 21, 2019
First, define “assault weapon.” Words are important and certain laws come into play depending on which words are used, so define this.
Secondly, the US isn’t NZ. While they do not have an inalienable right to bear arms and to self defense, we do. https://t.co/E3M7Qh1fbV
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) March 21, 2019
Others questioned whether the new laws in New Zealand would even prevent another violent outburst from happening in the future.
New Zealand just banned EVERY GUN used in the Christchurch terror attack..
If the murderer hit people with a car, would they ban cars?
If he burned them, would they ban fire?
If he drowned them, would they ban water?
YOU COULD BAN EVERYTHING.
Criminals don't follow the law.
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) March 21, 2019
Some questioned whether this was a policy flip-flop by Sanders to bolster his 2020 odds. In the Senate, Sanders often voted against gun control measures, including the Brady Bill — which he voted against five times.
This man voted against the Brady Bill five times. He opposed legislation to hold gun manufacturers liable for violence. He's the Elmer Fudd of the gun issue, and wouldn't know real leadership on gun control if he tripped over it deep in the Vermont woods. #HuntingWabbits https://t.co/R51E8nu7oI
— Tom Watson (@tomwatson) March 21, 2019
While Sanders and other members of the Democratic Party may be supporters of banning certain guns, the American people still have the right to gun ownership.