O’Rourke claimed that the AR-15 was “designed, engineered and sold to the United States military for the express purpose of killing people as effectively as possible, in as greater number as possible.”
He added that an AR-15 would “blow a hole in your back the size of an orange” due to “high-impact” and “high-velocity” rounds. He noted that a wounded individual would “bleed to death” before anyone can get to them “because that is exactly what it was designed to do.”
O’Rourke’s comments––and Hegseth’s response––came after New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern vowed to change her country’s gun laws in response to the Christchurch shooting. Government officials plan to announce gun law changes within the next week.
“As a cabinet, we were absolutely unified and very clear. The terrorist attack in Christchurch on Friday was the worst act of terrorism on our shores,” Ardern said. “It has exposed a range of weaknesses in New Zealand’s gun laws. The clear lesson from history around the world is that, to make our community safe, the time to act is now.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said gun law reforms would be announced within 10 days following the deadly mosque shootings in Christchurch https://t.co/Lhpq8IyjO1 pic.twitter.com/o6OCMRg3WN
— TIME (@TIME) March 18, 2019
“Within 10 days of this horrific act of terrorism, we will have announced reforms which will, I believe, make our community safer,” she added.
The death toll in the mosque shootings exceeds New Zealand’s annual homicide rate. There were 35 homicides in New Zealand in 2017, the last year for which figures are available.