New Zealand Prime Minister Does ‘Not Understand’ Why US Doesn’t Tighten Gun Laws

Whitney Tipton | Reporter

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she doesn’t understand why the United States hasn’t responded to mass shootings by passing stronger gun laws.

Ardern’s remarks came during a Tuesday interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in Paris, where she is attending a summit for the “Christchurch Call,” a pledge against online extremism, along with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Amanpour asked the prime minister if she thought other countries could learn from New Zealand’s example.

“Australia experienced a massacre and changed their laws. New Zealand had its experience and changed its laws. To be honest, I do not understand the United States,” Ardern said.

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New Zealand banned automatic and semi-automatic guns, as well as high-capacity magazines, shortly after the March 15 mosque shootings that killed 51 people. (RELATED: New Zealand Parliament Passes Legislation Banning ‘Military Style’ Semiautomatic Weapons)

Ardern also said prior to the ban, New Zealand had “pretty permissive gun legislation,” and while she thinks guns are necessary in some instances, she felt the laws went too far.

“We will continue to be a food-producing nation that deals with animal welfare issues and so on, and has a practical purpose and use for guns, but you can draw a line and say that that does not mean that you need access to military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles. You do not. And New Zealanders, by and large, absolutely agreed with that position,” Ardern said.

“To be honest with you, I do not understand the United States,” she added.

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