Bernie Sanders: US Must Follow New Zealand's Lead with Ban on Some Guns


Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is urging the United States to follow New Zealand’s lead and ban assault weapons.

In the wake of last week’s mosque shootings that left 50 dead, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Wednesday that her nation was banning all semi-automatic weapons, all assault rifles, and all high capacity magazines.

“In short, every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country,” she said.

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The gunman used AR-15 rifles in his attacks on the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch.

Sanders praised the weapons ban, tweeting later that day, “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.”

Do you think the U.S. should ban semi-automatic weapons?

The Democratic presidential candidate included a Washington Post story about the ban with his tweet, which noted, “New Zealand has a tradition of hunting and shooting as sport, but there is no legal provision to own weapons for self-defense.”

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has been interpreted by the Supreme Court to include the right to self-defense.

The New Zealand government will be instituting a mandatory buyback of assault weapons. Those who fail to comply with the buyback will face a $2,700 fine (U.S. currency) and/or up to three years imprisonment.

“We’re looking to increase the penalty when the ban is in full force and the opportunities of buyback are over,” Ardern said.

Reuters UK reported the new laws are expected to kick in by April 11.

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The prime minister anticipates the buyback will cost up to $138 million (U.S. currency). New Zealand has less than 5 million people and about 1.5 million guns.

Former President Bill Clinton signed an assault weapon ban into law in 1994.

That ban, known as the Federal Assault Weapons ban, expired in 2004 and included semi-automatic firearms and large capacity magazines.

According to Justice Department statistics, with or without an assault weapons ban, gun violence in the United States dropped significantly.

Gun-related homicides fell nearly in half, and non-fatal crimes involving gun dropped by 70 percent, between 1993 and 2011.

The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro pointed out that gun ownership went up over 50 percent from 1993 to 2013, while the murder rate fell precipitously.

Shapiro tweeted: “Please explain how more guns inevitably means more murder.”

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 3,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith