Jacinda Ardern says she doesn’t understand why the United States is unable to change its gun laws.
Jacinda Ardern says she doesn’t understand why the United States is unable to change its gun laws.

Jacinda Ardern’s swipe at the US

JACINDA Ardern says she doesn't understand why the United States is unable to change its gun laws.

Speaking to CNN's Christiane Amanpour in Paris, the New Zealand prime minister said she could not work out why the US had not followed her turnaround on gun control legislation in the wake of mass shootings.

"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," she said.

On April 10, less than a month after a white supremacist opened fire on a mosque in Christchurch and killed 51 people, New Zealand voted 119 to one to pass gun control legislation and ban most of the country's automatic and semiautomatic weapons.

Ms Ardern said New Zealand's gun laws were too relaxed before the attack, adding that there was no use for military style semiautomatics.

"I remember very distinctly sitting in a meeting where the police told me the weapons that had been used on the 15th of March and how easily they were legally obtained and then illegally modified for the purposes of that attack," she said.

"There was no question in my mind that our laws needed to change in that moment. What I'm heartened by is that I did not question for a moment that parliament would support that law change."

She said that while there was a "practical purpose and use for guns", that "does not mean you need access to military-style semiautomatic weapons and assault rifles. You do not. And New Zealanders by and large absolutely agreed with that position".

Jacinda Ardern says she doesn’t understand why the United States is unable to change its gun laws.
Jacinda Ardern says she doesn’t understand why the United States is unable to change its gun laws.

Ms Ardern also put social media companies on notice after the alleged gunman used Facebook and other platforms to share his white supremacist views and livestream the shooting.

The Kiwi leader is in Paris to host a summit she organised alongside French President Emmanuel Macron.

Jacinda Ardern moved quickly to change New Zealand’s gun laws after the mosque massacres. Picture: Hannah Peters/Getty Images
Jacinda Ardern moved quickly to change New Zealand’s gun laws after the mosque massacres. Picture: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

The summit will see world leaders and tech executives sign a pledge called the "Christchurch Call", drafted by the two leaders, which aims to end the use of social media for acts of terrorism.

She said the meeting "about bringing companies to the table", noting that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has given the social media network's support, although he will not be present at the summit.

Representatives from Twitter and Google will also be attending the meeting.

Facebook removed 1.5 million videos of the Christchurch attacks in the first 24 hours immediately following the massacre.

"When it came to the way this attack was specifically designed to be broadcast and to go viral, (responding) to that needed a global solution, so that was why we immediately got in contact with international counterparts," Ms Ardern said.

Britain, Canada, Jordan, Senegal, Indonesia, Norway and Ireland are expected to sign the non-binding pledge. The US will not. Germany and Australia are expected to sign on to the pledge without attending the summit, as German chancellor Angela Merkel has a scheduling conflict and Prime Minister Scott Morrison is campaigning ahead of the Saturday election.



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