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New Zealand massacre puts focus on semi-automatic weapons

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The horrific death toll in the New Zealand mosque massacre has put the spotlight on the lethality of the semi-automatic weapons used by the Christchurch gunman and in numerous attacks in the United States.

At least 49 people were killed and dozens wounded when the gunman, identified as a 28-year-old Australian right-wing extremist, opened fire on worshippers in two mosques.

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A video live-streamed by the assailant on Facebook showed him rapidly firing what appeared to be hundreds of bullets at his defenseless victims using various weapons.

The New Zealand police have not yet identified the exact makes and models of the various guns used by the assailant.

At least one was a shotgun but others appeared to be similar to the semi-automatic rifles used in a number of US mass shootings and equipped with large-capacity magazines.

Such weapons were used in the mass shooting at a movie theater in Colorado which left 12 people dead in 2012 and the massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, that same year which left 26 people dead including 20 children.

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The jihadist who attacked the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in 2016, killing 49 club-goers, used a semi-automatic weapon.

The deadliest mass shooting in recent US history was carried out in Las Vegas in 2017 by a man armed with 10 AR-15 semi-automatic rifles, some with 100-round magazines, and other guns.

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Fifty-eight people died in that attack.

The troubled teenager behind the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, in 2017 which left 17 people dead and led to a grass roots gun control movement was also armed with an AR-15.

– ‘Ban on bump stocks’ –

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According to the Violence Policy Center, semi-automatic weapons differ from military versions in that the trigger of a semi-automatic must be pulled individually for each round fired.

Machine guns, which are banned in the United States, will fire continuously for as long as the trigger is depressed or until the magazine is exhausted.

“The unique design features of semi-automatic assault weapons allow the shooter to efficiently kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time available,” the Violence Policy Center said.

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“Increased lethality is the exact purpose for which these weapons were designed.”

The United States last year banned “bump stocks” — devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire like machine guns.

Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas shooter, had equipped a number of his semi-automatic rifles with bump stocks.

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Bump stocks allowed him to fire at a rate of nine bullets a second, before he turned his weapons on himself, according to US authorities.

The United States banned semi-automatic assault weapons in 1994 but the ban expired in 2004 and was not renewed.

Democratic lawmakers have sought several times since then to renew the ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines but have not been successful.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Florida teacher removed after bizarre rant about students not standing for the pledge

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Students were faced with a white-board rant in a classroom attacking anyone not standing up for the Pledge of Allegiance.

The moment went viral locally on Thursday after students posted Daniel Goodman‘s “inappropriate” message to students at First Coast High School in Duval County, Florida, The Atlanta Black Star reported.

“THINK: We had about a half million Americans die in our Civil War, which was largely to get rid of slavery. There are no longer separate water fountains and bathrooms in Jacksonville for ‘white’ and ‘colored,’ as Mr. Goodman remembers from the 1960?s. We had an amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowing women the right to vote. We have had a Black president. The superintendent of Duval Schools is a Black woman. Mr. Fluent, our principal, replaced a Black man. Mr. Simmons, who now is a DC PS admninistrator.”

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Missouri official choose Dr. Seuss’ ‘Oh the Places You’ll Go’ for swearing-in ceremony instead of ‘The Bible’

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A Missouri county official is being both celebrated and attacked after a decision to forgo The Bible for her swearing-in ceremony and opted for a copy of Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss.

The Friendly Atheist at Patheos captured the story, posting a photo of St. Louis City Councilmember Kelli Dunaway's children holding a copy of the book while she took her oath of office.

This was the scene last week at the STLCO government center. Democrats took back control of the council and @DunawayKelli was sworn in on a copy of “Oh the Places you’ll go” with her children❤️ so proud to be part of #TeamKelli pic.twitter.com/iJ1dxfZ1Zg

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Trump predicts New York Times will go out of business when he’s out of office

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In a permission tweet, President Donald Trump announced that his presidency is the only thing keeping the New York Times in business. Yet, somehow, they're also attacking him and lying about him.

"The New York Times will be out of business soon after I leave office, hopefully in 6 years. They have Zero credibility and are losing a fortune, even now, especially after their massive unfunded liability. I'm fairly certain they'll endorse me just to keep it all going!" he tweeted.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1163238629730373632

Since taking office, subscriptions for The Times have increased dramatically. According to an August report, The Times boasted a 4.7 million increase in subscribers for the second quarter. Their revenue growth was 5.2 percent. It certainly is a modest increase, but it's also an increase in an era when newspapers are struggling to survive.

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