New Zealand's new ban on a series of semi-automatic rifles and large ammunition magazines, which arrived only six days after a mass shooting in Christchurch, was hailed as the "fastest response ever made by a government after a tragedy" .
In the United States, where conservative politicians have also blocked moderate arms control for 25 years, New Zealand's swift action has been welcomed as a powerful inspiration – and a reminder of how far behind the country it is.
"Sandy Hook happened six years ago and we can't even get the Senate to vote for universal checks," Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Congress representative, wrote on Twitter, referring to the 2012 shooting in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, which left 20 children and six dead educators.
"Here's com & # 39; leadership," David Hogg, one of the students from Parkland, Florida, who founded the March for Our Lives movement for gun control after a shootout at their school last February, tweeted, sharing a video of the announcement by Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern.
Some candidates for the democratic presidency have already pledged to support the prohibition of assault weapons, although this would probably be much more limited than New Zealand.
"We must follow the leadership of New Zealand, hire the NRA and ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons in the United States," Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, tweeted. he was attacked for his mixed record on gun control in the past.
"We once banned assault weapons and we should do it again," Senator Kamala Harris of California, tweeted a few days after the Christchurch attacks. "These weapons of war do not belong to our streets, in our schools or in our houses of worship. This is a struggle that I will assume as president."
Pro-gun activists in the United States have claimed that New Zealand's aggressive action to ban the ownership of previously legal weapons and enact a mandatory repurchase would never be viable in the United States.
"The United States is not New Zealand," Dana Loesch, an eminent photographer rights activist and spokesman for the National Rifle Association, wrote on Twitter. "They do not have an inalienable right to bear arms and self-defense, we do it."
In another tweet, he wrote: "To" follow these examples ", the United States should repeal the Second Amendment, ban all semi-automatic shops, arms stores to show all purchases to the government and spend $ 200 million tax payers' dollars to confiscate firearms “.
Rebecca Peters, who helped lead the successful campaign to reform Australian arms laws in the 90s, said she believed the New Zealand government's action was the "fastest response ever" to part of government officials after a mass shooting.
It took the British government seven months after the massacre of 16 children in Dunblane, Scotland, in March 1996, to announce a partial ban on guns, which the children's parents had requested as part of the Snowdrop campaign.
The Australian government took 10 days after the Port Arthur massacre in April 1996 to announce the national firearms agreement.
New Zealand has announced a new ban on military weapons – one with broad support from the prime minister and the opposition – after only six days.
"It's a small parliament. It's a small country. And of course, they have very high support for this," Peters said.
In a press conference on Thursday, Ardern promised an increase in penalties for maintaining the ownership of the banned weapons. The New Zealand police minister said the police are "gearing up" to allow military-type weapons to be put out of circulation. The police will be supported by the New Zealand defense force, he said, and will consult the arms licensing registers.
Ardern has promised that the country will continue to consider broader arms control measures on Monday, including issues such as licensing, registration and storage.
New Zealand's swift action is in stark contrast to the political stalemate in the United States, where conservative politicians have blocked any substantial arms control law for 25 years, despite the frequent mass shooting at high casualty levels.
The last substantial US arms control action in 1994 was a federal ban on military-style "assault weapons". But the ban was written to expire in 10 years, and did not require Americans who already had military-type guns to give up their weapons – they simply tried to regulate the production and sale of new weapons.
When it expired in 2004, a thorough evaluation of the legislation focused on the loopholes found that no decrease in violence in the nation could be clearly credited. The consensus among democratic politicians was that the ban had turned politically against their party, and that arms control was not a winning problem for the American left. They have largely abandoned the issue for more than a decade.
Since the ban was lifted, military-type rifles have become popular high-level acquisitions for American weapons owners and have become popular for target practice, although they have become notorious as the weapon of choice for mass shooters. Some defenders of arms rights argue that military-type rifles are necessary for self-defense, including self-defense at home.
While there are restrictions on "assault weapons" in some parts of the United States, in many places today, Americans can buy an AR-15 style rifle before they are legally allowed to buy a beer.