New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she reacted to the shooting at a Texas school “not as a politician, but as a mother.”

“I am so sorry for what has happened here,” Ardern said during an interview on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Tuesday.

Ardern, who’s in the U.S. this week to promote trade and tourism, spoke about how lawmakers in New Zealand responded to the 2019 shooting at a mosque in Christchurch.

The country’s parliament voted nearly unanimously to ban most semiautomatic weapons after the shooting, which left 51 people dead.

“We are a very pragmatic people,” she said. ”When we saw something like that happen, everyone said, ‘never again,’ and so then it was incumbent on us as politicians to respond to that.”

More than 50,000 guns were turned in in New Zealand as part of a buyback program following the ban.

“People who had legitimately and legally gone out and purchased these weapons and we changed the laws, so in fairness, we said we will buy them back and we will destroy them,” she said.

Ardern said New Zealand has “a need for guns in our country,” including for law enforcement and protecting biodiversity, “but you don’t need a military style semiautomatic to do that and so we got rid of them.”

President Nelson meets New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, says church will donate to mosques
President Nelson meets New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, says church will donate to mosques

In the U.S., 63% of adults support banning assault-style weapons, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in April 2021. While 83% of Democrats support an assault-style weapons ban, just 37% of Republicans agree.

The poll also found 87% support for preventing people with mental illness from purchasing guns, 81% support for requiring background checks for private sales and gun shows and 66% support for creating a federal gun sale registry.

During the interview, Ardern also spoke about New Zealand providing money, equipment and training to Ukraine, but feeling “dwarfed by the magnitude of what’s happening” as a small country of more than 5 million people.

She said she spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy who told her “It’s not about small and it’s not about big, it’s those who react and those who don’t, and you have reacted. It’s not about size it’s about values.”