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22 March, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Terror attack on mosques

New Zealand bans assault weapons

AFP, Christchurch

New Zealand imposed a ban on assault weapons yesterday, moving swiftly following the Christchurch massacre and triggering renewed calls from leading American politicians for gun controls in the United States. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons were now banned with immediate effect, making good on a pledge to the country of the military-style weapons used in last week's slaughter of 50 people.

The killings at two Christchurch mosques by an Australian white supremacist have caused national soul-searching over New Zealand's lax gun laws. But the crackdown promises to have political repercussions beyond the country's shores, including in the United States where gun control is one of the most divisive national political issues.

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

She added that high-capacity clips and devices similar to bump stocks -- which allow users to fire weapons faster -- will also be banned.

Proponents of gun control in the United States and around the world praised the move and denounced the powerful US pro-gun lobby on social media, while American gun supporters defended their constitutional right to bear arms.

"This is what real action to stop gun violence looks like," Democratic US Senator and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders tweeted.

"We must follow New Zealand's lead, take on the NRA (National Rifle

Association) and ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons in the United States.”

High-profile Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez contrasted Ardern’s swift action with US failure to enact even modest controls following recurring horrific shootings such as at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012, in which 20 children and six school staff died.

“Sandy Hook happened 6 years ago and we can’t even get the Senate to hold a vote on universal background checks,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

“Christchurch happened, and within days New Zealand acted to get weapons of war out of the consumer market. This is what leadership looks like.”

US President Donald Trump did not immediately react on his Twitter feed, but NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch responded to Sanders by tweeting that “the US isn’t NZ.”

“While they do not have an inalienable right to bear arms and to self defense, we do,” she said.

Khaleej Times report says, the bullet-riddled Al Noor mosque in Christchurch was being repaired, painted and cleaned ahead of Friday prayers, as grieving families buried more victims of New Zealand’s worst mass shooting. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that Friday’s call to prayers for Muslims will be broadcast nationally and there will be a two minute silence.

Armed police have been guarding mosques around New Zealand after 50 people were killed last Friday by a lone gunman who attacked worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch. “We will have a heightened presence tomorrow in order to provide reassurance to people attending the Friday call for prayers,” police said in a statement on Thursday.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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