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  • Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks at a campaign rally in Concord, New Hampshire, U.S., March 10, 2019.

    Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks at a campaign rally in Concord, New Hampshire, U.S., March 10, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 March 2019 (4 hours 7 minutes ago)

New Zealand banned all military-style semi-automatic guns and assault rifles less than a week after the deadly mosque terror attacks, Bernie Sanders says the United States must follow that lead.

U.S. Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders Thursday praised New Zealand's leaders for banning military-style rifles and semi-automatic guns in the wake of a shooting that left at least 50 people dead, saying the U.S. should follow suit.

"This is what real action to stop gun violence looks like," tweeted Bernie Sanders. "We must follow New Zealand's lead, take on the NRA and ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons in the United States."

According to a Pew Research Center 2017 study, about 40 percent of U.S. citizen say they own a gun or live in a household with one, and the rate of murder or manslaughter by firearm is the highest in the developed world. There were more than 11,000 deaths as a result of murder or manslaughter involving a firearm in 2016.

Since 1982, there have been at least 110 public mass shootings across the U.S. In a study realized by the Mother Jones magazine, across four decades (1982-2012), it appeared that of the 143 guns possessed by the killers, more than three quarters were obtained legally.

More than half of the cases involved school or workplace shootings (12 and 20, respectively), the other 30 cases took place in locations including shopping malls, restaurants, and religious and government buildings.

At total 48 additional mass shootings from 2013-2019 have been registered. A study from the FBI determined that mass shootings have tripled in frequency in recent years. 

Unlike the New Zealand government´s reaction of banning and restricting sales of weapons, successive United States governments have failed to take adequate measures following mass shootings with many right-wing politicians, political parties, and movements pushing back against public debate on gun laws.

Critics say that the National Rifle Association, or NRA, is behind such reluctance by political elites to take action as many receive hefty donations from the pro-gun organization. 

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