March 21, 2019

Feinstein on New Zealand Assault Weapons Ban

  Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement after New Zealand imposed a ban on military-style assault weapons:

            “In Australia in 1996, 35 people were killed when a gunman opened fire with two semiautomatic assault rifles. In the days following that massacre, Australia banned all semiautomatic rifles and put in place a licensing system.

            “In New Zealand last week, 50 people were killed when a gunman used five weapons to open fire in two mosques. Six days after that massacre, New Zealand banned all military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

            “In country after country, massacres are followed by sweeping changes to gun laws, as logic would dictate. If there’s a problem – particularly a deadly problem – it’s contingent upon policymakers to find solutions.

            “Here at home in America, since the 1999 shooting at Columbine High school, we’ve suffered through at least 227 school shootings that killed 143 and left 290 wounded. And those are just shootings at schools. We’ve seen massacres in offices, churches, theaters, concerts, malls – all the places that Americans should feel safe, not threatened.

            “Despite all these tragedies, Republicans in Congress have repeatedly blocked each and every proposal to enact responsible gun safety laws. Even though 90 percent of Americans support universal background checks, even that proposal is routinely opposed. The power of NRA over Republicans is second to none, and until that hold is broken, Republicans refuse to act.

            “To New Zealand and every other country that took steps to reduce gun violence, congratulations. The United States needs to follow these examples and take action to protect Americans from this deadly public health scourge. Without action, our country will continue to face these tragic events over and over again.” 

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