May 25, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Ardern tells Colbert how New Zealand delivered gun control after mass shooting

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks during a post cabinet press conference at Parliament on May 23, 2022 in Wellington, New Zealand.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern discussed New Zealand's swift gun control reforms following the Christchurch mosque attacks as she responded to Tuesday's Texas school shooting during an appearance on CBS' "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."

What she's saying: Ardern told Colbert she viewed what happened at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, not as a politician but as a mother. "I'm so sorry for what has happened here," she said. "And then I think about what happened to us, and all I can reflect is: We are a very pragmatic people.

  • "We saw something that wasn’t right and we acted on it, and I can only speak to that experience," said Ardern, who's on a trade visit to the U.S. "When we saw something like that happen, everyone said, 'Never again.' And so then it was incumbent on us as politicians to respond to that.
  • "Now, we have legitimate needs for guns in our country for things like peace control and to protect our biodiversity, but you don’t need a military-style semiautomatic weapon to do that. And so we got rid of that," she added.

Flashback: Days after the March 2019 mass shooting in Christchurch, Ardern announced a nationwide ban on all military-style semiautomatic weapons that New Zealand's Parliament passed the following month, and a firearms buyback scheme saw thousands of guns handed over to police.

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