The Christchurch mosque shootings, in which 50 people were killed by an alleged white supremacist gunman, have sparked immediate action.

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that New Zealand will ban all types of semi-automatic weapons used in the attacks with the aim of having the law in place by 11 April.

The decision comes just six days after the attack.

Ardern said:

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.

Meanwhile in the US, there have already been three mass shootings this year and some people are wondering why America can’t take similar action.

Left-wing heavyweights Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez jumped in to show support for Adern.

And other people were amazed by how quickly New Zealand managed to come up with a solution other than “thoughts and prayers”.

The move has also been popular in New Zealand, where opposition leader Simon Bridges quickly supported the ban.

Current estimates show there are 1.2 million firearms in New Zealand right now.

The ban would still allow some weapons which are used for hunting and pest control.

Gun laws in the US vary from state to state but the right to keep and bear arms is generally protected by the Second Amendment.

Some people are banned from buying firearms, these include:

  • Fugitives
  • People who have been convicted of a crime with a sentence exceeding one year
  • People who have been convicted of domestic violence (although there are loopholes for this ban in some states)
  • People who have been involuntarily admitted to a mental facility

Forty-three states have no ban on assault weapons and 35 states do not require gun owners to hold a license, obtain a purchase permit, or register their weapon.

Some gun advocates came to the defence of America’s laws in response to the New Zealand ban.

Fox News host Jedediah Bila even complained that Bernie Sanders’ use of the term “assault weapon” was “offensive” to people who support the Second Amendment…

New Zealand’s swift action is similar to steps taken in the UK and Australia in the 1990s, when two mass shootings inspired changes to gun laws.

In the UK, after the 1996 Dunblane school massacre in which 16 children and one teacher were killed, the government banned the private ownership of most handguns.

Dunblane remains the deadliest mass shooting in British history and there have been no school shootings since.

In the same year, the Port Arthur massacre in Australia, in which 35 people were killed, led to the National Firearms Agreement and the introduction of tight controls on semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons.

In the seven years following the agreement, Australia’s firearm homicide rate dropped by almost 42 per cent and the firearm suicide rate fell by 57 per cent.

It's not hard to see why some people are fed up with America's gun laws.

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