“This is what leadership looks like.”
Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez praised New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday for pledging to ban all the weapons used in a deadly shooting last week at two Christchurch mosques.
After initially seeming to throw shade at Ardern’s response to the attack, the New York Democrat took to Twitter to cheer a video of the liberal leader’s latest announcement, saying: “This is what leadership looks like.”
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Ocasio-Cortez favorably contrasted New Zealand’s promised crackdown with America’s refusal to regulate firearms in response to mass shootings.
Sandy Hook happened 6 years ago and we can’t even get the Senate to hold a vote on universal background checks w/ #HR8.
Christchurch happened, and within days New Zealand acted to get weapons of war out of the consumer market.
This is what leadership looks like ⬇️ https://t.co/TcdR63anBt
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 21, 2019
In her comments, Ardern invoked the “national interest” and said there would be a government buyback of banned weapons in circulation now, which are estimated to number 1.2 million to 1.5 million, plus additional regulations on firearms and ammunition.
“Today I am announcing that New Zealand will ban all military-style semi-automatic weapons,” she 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 semi-automatic or any other type of firearm into a military-style semi-automatic weapon. We will ban parts that cause a firearm to generate semi-automatic, automatic or close to automatic gunfire.”
Ardern – who has joined Ocasio-Cortez as an international liberal icon for her leadership following the Christchurch attack – was expected to face little resistance to the weapons ban in Parliament, with the largest opposition party quickly saying it supported the measures. She said the new law should be in place by April 11, the end of legislature’s next session.
Speaking after Ardern, Minister of Police Stuart Nash said that officers were already “gearing up” to enable the weapons to be removed from circulation with the support of the military.
“Finally, I want to remind that it is a privilege and not a right to own a firearm in New Zealand,” he said.
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Ocasio-Cortez, an advocate of gun control at home, was seen to be critical of Ardern’s first press conference after the Christchurch shooting. She tweeted a clip of the event in which the prime minister said her “thoughts” were with those affected by the shootings.
Apparently referencing the condolences offered by the National Rifle Association and others following U.S. mass shootings, Ocasio Cortez said: “What good are your thoughts & prayers when they don’t even keep the pews safe?”
At 1st I thought of saying, “Imagine being told your house of faith isn’t safe anymore.”
But I couldn’t say “imagine.”
Because of Charleston.
What good are your thoughts & prayers when they don’t even keep the pews safe?pic.twitter.com/2mSw0azDN8
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 15, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez later claimed she had not criticizing Ardern – whom she said “I greatly admire” – but rather “the NRA’s phrase used to deflect conversation away from policy change during tragedies.”
Many Twitter users were appalled by what they saw as the freshman congresswoman’s dismissal of religious faith in the immediate aftermath of an attack on Muslim worshippers. Conservative commentator Stephen Miller called the tweet “the single dumbest fucking nuclear take I’ve ever seen on this website. Ever.
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