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 SandersBernie SandersOcasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment Ocasio-Cortez tweets endorsement of Sanders Ocasio-Cortez throws support to Sanders at Queens rally 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 ClintonJill Stein: 'I am not a Russian spy' Trump criticizes Clinton for suggesting Jill Stein was Russian asset Graham: I'm seeking to make Trump successful 'but not at all costs' 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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.