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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo: Mark Tantrum/Getty Images

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Thursday a national ban on all military-style semiautomatic weapons, just 6 days after attacks on 2 mosques in Christchurch killed 50 worshippers.

The big picture: Ardern's swift action to ban weapons that the killer used, stands in sharp contrast to the political stalemate and unwillingness to pass gun control measures in the U.S. Congress despite an alarming number of mass shootings in recent years. Already "More than a thousand people have notified Police using the online form that they wish to hand in their firearm," New Zealand Police said Friday afternoon local time. "Hundreds more have phoned them to notify them of their intentions. The gun amnesty will run until legislation has been amended."

What exactly Ardern wants to ban: As the AP notes, the ban includes any "military-style" semi-automatic guns, assault rifles and parts that can be converted into a semiautomatic weapon. Under New Zealand law, military-style semi-automatics are rifles with magazines exceeding 7 shots.

What's not included in the ban: "Semi-automatic .22 caliber or smaller guns that hold up to 10 rounds or semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns with non-detachable magazines that hold up to five rounds. The guns not banned are commonly used by farmers and hunters," per the AP.

What's next: An immediate sales ban went into effect Thursday to prevent stockpiling. The proposed laws are expected to encounter little opposition in Parliament as Ardern’s liberal Labour Party, the conservative opposition National Party and one of the country's largest largest gun retailers support the measures.

  • Ardern had also said the ban would require a buyback of the banned weapons, a program that would cost the government about up to 200 million New Zealand dollars ($140 million).

Go deeper

Amazon ordered to redo union vote in Alabama

Photo: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

A U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) official on Monday called for a re-vote in a union election at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama.

Why it matters: The move could set the stage for another organizing drive at the e-commerce giant, which has, so far, fought off unionizing efforts in the U.S.

Pentagon to probe 2019 Syria strike after reports of dozens of civilian casualties

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Nov. 20. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/AFP via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered a new investigation into a 2019 U.S. airstrike that killed around 80 people, including dozens of women and children in Syria, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The move comes after the Times reported this month that the Pentagon attempted to keep the strike and casualties under wraps, failing to investigate the decision behind it even after questions were raised internally.

Federal court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for health workers in 10 states

President Biden delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant following a meeting with his COVID-19 response team. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

A federal court in Missouri has blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate for health care workers at federally funded facilities in 10 states.

Why it matters: Monday's decision is the first victory for opponents of the rule, which requires health care workers to get vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022. The case is one of four lawsuits challenging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) rule and argues that the mandate will exacerbate staffing shortages.