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US Should Learn from NZ Assault Weapon Ban Say Fmr WH Spokesman Robert Weiner and Policy Analyst John Black in NZ Herald

WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES, April 24, 2019 / -- "The US must learn from New Zealand and act fast against assault weapons to avoid the biggest mass shooting, write former White House spokesman Robert Weiner and policy analyst John Black in an article published today in the New Zealand Herald, New Zealand’s top newspaper. The paper headlined the piece, "US Can Only Marvel at NZ's Quickfire Gun Control."

Weiner and Black assert, "Just six days after the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand, Parliament voted 119-1 to ban assault weapons. On April 10, less than a month after the shooting, the new laws were passed into effect. The United States should follow the lead of New Zealand and ban assault weapons."

They continue, "In fact, America once had a ban on assault rifles. In 1994, President Clinton signed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban into law, effectively banning the manufacture of assault weapons for civilian use. It worked, but under National Rifle Association pressure, the ban was only a 10-year provision, and expired with the 'sunset' provision in 2004 with no law to extend or replace it.

They argue, “It has been 15 years since the expiration of the assault weapon ban. While the US congress is locked in an ongoing stalemate, the American people are not - there have been 76 mass shootings since the ban on assault weapons expired in 2004.”

They write, “Seventy-six mass shootings. Zero new laws impacting the weapons used.”

They go on, “After just one mass shooting, New Zealand's government took effective action.

They continue, “In February, the US House of Representatives did pass the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. This is a token law at best. The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 does not address the real issue for mass shootings: machine gun high-capacity military assault weapons are used in more than 95 percent of mass shootings where 10 or more people are killed. America needs an assault weapons ban.”

They argue, “The US needs to think about the people from Orlando and Las Vegas. They need to think about the students from Parkland. They need to think about the children from Newtown. New Zealand needed change and made it. America needs change.”

They emphasize, “If teenagers from Parkland, a suburban town in Florida, can rally an entire population of people across the nation that desperately want change and help a vote to flip 40 seats in Congress, why can't the elected officials now in place hear them?”

They explain, “People used to blame the gun issue for Al Gore's 2000 presidential loss in the US, but it's not 2000 anymore. Politicians don't lose votes because they are in favor of gun control, in fact, they gain votes. A strong majority of Americans support stricter gun control laws, according to a recent Gallup poll.”

They write, “But to really accomplish something, Democrats and Republicans alike have to stand up to the NRA. New Zealand respected and worked with gun owners, allowing hunting rifles. But in America, NRA leaders are flexing muscles they don't have anymore. They are trying to make this an issue of mental health, school security and video games - anything but the assault rifles doing the damage. Americans, like New Zealanders, must not let that scam work anymore.”

They contend, “In the US, the land of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, there should be no need to worry about school security against mass shootings. Parents should not have to send their children to school and worry about whether or not they will be coming home alive.”

They go on, “There's no longer space for legislative timidity. Mass shootings are not an issue of the past. You can compare numbers and look at the history of assault weapon usage, but history is not what matters right now. Mass shootings are an issue of today. The fact is that people are being gunned down by assault rifles now more than ever.”

Weiner and Black conclude, “The lightning speed of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the parliament has taught a lesson about how to get something meaningful done to make real change. America should learn the lesson - and ban assault weapons designed for war.”

Robert Weiner
Robert Weiner Associates and Solutions for Change
+1 202-306-1200
email us here

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