The high number of deaths in the massacre at two mosques in New Zealand has put the focus on the lethality of the semi-automatic weapons used by the attacker, as well as numerous gunfights in the United States. The attack perpetrated by a 28-year-old extreme-right Australian left at least 49 dead and dozens injured.
In a live video broadcast on Facebook by the author of the shooting he could be seen firing with several weapons what appeared to be hundreds of bullets to the helpless victims.
The New Zealand Police have not yet identified the marks and models of the weapons used in the attack. At least one of these was a shotgun, but the rest, equipped with large-capacity chargers, resemble the semi-automatic rifles used in numerous mass shootings in the United States.
The type of weapons were used in an attack in a Colorado cinema, in which 12 people died in 2012, and in the massacre at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, which in the same year left 26 deceased, 20 of them children. The jihadi who in 2016 attacked the nightclub Pulse, in Orlando, killed 49 customers with a semi-automatic weapon. The deadliest shooting in recent American history occurred in 2017 in Las Vegas. The attacker killed 58 people with ten AR-15 semi-automatic rifles, some with 100-bale chargers, and other weapons. The mentally troubled teenager shooter of the 2017 shooting at a high school in Parkland in Florida, which left 17 dead and woke up a movement in favor of gun control, also carried an AR-15. According to the Violence Policy Center, semi-automatic weapons differ from the military versions in which you have to pull the trigger every time you want to shoot a round of shots. Stephen Paddock, the Vegas shooter, had installed these devices on several of the semi-automatic weapons he used.
The “bump stocks ” allowed him to shoot up to nine bullets per second, according to U.S. authorities. The US has already banned semi-automatic weapons in 1994, a veto that expired in 2004 and was not renewed. Democratic legislators have tried, without success, to renew the ban on assault weapons and large-capacity chargers.