Bernie Sanders starts a fight with the NRA, says US should ‘follow New Zealand’s lead’ and ban assault weapons

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders sparked ire from the NRA after calling for the US to follow New Zealand’s leader and ban assault weapons.
  • “This is what real action to stop gun violence looks like,” Sanders said in a tweet on Wednesday. “We must follow New Zealand’s lead, take on the NRA and ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons in the United States.”
  • Responding to Sanders, NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch in a tweet said, “The US isn’t NZ. While they do not have an inalienable right to bear arms and to self defense, we do.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders called for the US to “take on the NRA” and follow New Zealand’s example by banning assault weapons, which drew blowback from the National Rifle Association (NRA).

“This is what real action to stop gun violence looks like,” Sanders said in a tweet on Wednesday about the impending move. “We must follow New Zealand’s lead, take on the NRA and ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons in the United States.”

Sanders has called for such bans in the past, but has also faced criticism from some gun reform activists and Democrats for not supporting even stricter gun control measures. The senator’s mixed record on the matter is typically attributed to his state’s a large rural population where many people own guns.

The NRA went after Sanders over his Wednesday tweet, which directly mentioned the group.

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“First, define ‘assault weapon.’ Words are important and certain laws come into play depending on which words are used, so define this,” NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch tweeted in response to Sanders. “Secondly, the US isn’t NZ. While they do not have an inalienable right to bear arms and to self defense, we do.”

After a mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch last Friday, the government of New Zealand on Thursday announced it will ban military-style semiautomatic weapons and assault rifles.

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“New Zealand will ban all military-style semiautomatic weapons,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “We will also ban all assault rifles. We will ban all high-capacity magazines. We will ban all parts with the ability to convert semiautomatic or any other type of firearm into a military-style semiautomatic weapon.”

“We will ban parts that cause a firearm to generate semiautomatic, automatic or close-to-automatic gunfire,” she added. “In short, every semiautomatic weapon used in the terror attack on Friday will be banned in this country.”