Sanders: 'We must follow New Zealand's lead' and ban assault weapons

Sanders: 'We must follow New Zealand's lead' and ban assault weapons
© Stefani Reynolds

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersCory Booker has a problem in 2020: Kamala Harris Wage growth shaping up as key 2020 factor for Trump Booker to supporter who wanted him to punch Trump: 'Black guys like us, we don't get away with that' MORE (I-Vt.) on Thursday praised New Zealand's leaders for banning military-style rifles and semi-automatic guns in the wake of a shooting there that left 50 people dead, saying the U.S. should follow suit.

"This is what real action to stop gun violence looks like," tweeted Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. "We must follow New Zealand's lead, take on the NRA and ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons in the United States."

Eventual 2016 White House nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThorny part of obstruction of justice is proving intent, that's a job for Congress Nadler: I don't understand why Mueller didn't charge Donald Trump Jr., others in Trump Tower meeting Kellyanne Conway: Mueller didn't need to use the word 'exoneration' in report MORE attacked Sanders during their Democratic primary over his record on gun control, arguing he was too moderate on the issue. The senator has supported various gun control measures, including a ban on semi-automatic weapons.

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the country would ban the sale of all assault rifles and semi-automatic guns, less than a week after a shooter opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch, killing 50 people. 

"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," she said. "We will ban parts that cause a firearm to generate semi-automatic, automatic or close to automatic gunfire."

The prompt reaction to the massacre is likely to spur fresh debate among U.S. lawmakers. Many Democrats have pushed for stricter gun laws in the wake of school shootings and other incidents.