How good are New Zealand firearms controls?

In the wake of the Maryland newspaper office shooting there are inevitable issues raised about how well controlled firearms are in New Zealand. From my own experience what happens here is just about as comprehensive as I think I could be while still allowing legitimate ownership and use. And it’s getting tougher.

While the US suffers from a succession of mass shootings, and their liberal gun laws seem entrenched by politicians financed by the rich and powerful NRA lobby, fortunately multi-death shooting tragedies are relatively rare here in New Zealand.

First, for comparison, here are horrific statistics from the US from the Gun Violence Archive:

  • 2018 (to date, half a year) shooting deaths 7,078, mass shooting deaths: 154
  • 2017 total deaths 15,631, mass shooting deaths 346
  • 2016 total deaths 15,104, mass shooting deaths 382
  • 2015 total deaths 13,532, mass shooting deaths 335
  • 2014 total deaths 12,556, mass shooting deaths 270

That looks like a surge in deaths in recent years. The population of the US is about 325 million.

The New Zealand population is about 4.8 million, so about 1.5% of the US population. Shooting deaths here per year from 1994-2014 averaged 8 (total murders range between about 60-80).

There was a spike in shooting homicides latev last century but it has dropped and leveled off just a bit above historic averages.

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Trend in rates of homicide and firearm-armed homicide per 10,000 population, and in firearm ownership per capita, 1961 – 2009 – source SSANZ

So things seem to have been brought reasonably under control. I don’t have stats on what proportion of firearms used in homicides were illegally owned.

So how well regulated is firearm ownership and use in New Zealand? It is well controlled and increasingly so.

Police details online: Standard New Zealand firearms licence

Someone will arrange to visit you. They will interview you and check your firearms security arrangements. They will arrange to interview your referees.

One referee must be your spouse or next of kin, the other must be someone who is over 20 years old and not related to you

You will have difficulty being deemed ‘fit and proper’ to possess or use firearms if you have:

  • a history of violence
  • repeated involvement with drugs
  • been irresponsible with alcohol
  • a personal or social relationship with people deemed to be unsuitable to be given access to firearms
  • indicated an intent to use a firearm for self-defence.

Firearms storage
You will need to show that firearms will be stored in the manner set out in the Arms Regulations – if you can’t, you may not get a licence or your current one will be revoked. All licence holders must install security at their home, even if they don’t actually have any firearms.

And I know from people who have experienced a visit recently that all these things are covered comprehensively, as well as being cross checked with referees:

This is more comprehensive than in the past.

And it is going to take more for a person to get a firearms licence, with practical training required from tomorrow.

Police gearing up for new firearms safety training for first time licence applicants

From 1 July firearms safety training is changing.

Police has been working with the firearms community to improve safety outcomes by delivering an enhanced firearms safety training programme for first-time firearms licence applicants.

“Much like the process for obtaining a driver licence, first-time applicants will need to pass a theory test and undergo practical training to obtain a firearms licence,” says Acting Superintendent Mike McIlraith.

“For many years the current theory-only programme has provided new firearms users with a solid start. But over recent years Police and the firearms community identified the opportunity to build on this and provide first-time applicants with a practical hands-on component to complement the theoretical.”

The theory test is a computer-based multi-choice test which will be delivered by Police using the same system used for computerised driver licence theory tests.

Applicants must pass the theory test before they can attend the firearms practical training course.

The practical course and training on safe-handling of firearms will be delivered by firearms instructors from the Mountain Safety Council across the country.

The firearms theory test and practical training require applicants to show that they have a strong understanding of the Arms Code and how to stay safe with firearms.

“As pleased as Police is to deliver the new firearms safety programme, new firearms users will still need to gain experience using firearms safely in a variety of settings.

So while many people own firearms in New Zealand it is comparatively safe here compared to the US, and getting and retaining a firearms licence is being carefully and comprehensively vetted.

 

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70 Comments

  1. Patzcuaro

     /  June 30, 2018

    Very interesting statistics:

    “First, for comparison, here are horrific statistics from the US from the Gun Violence Archive:

    2018 (to date, half a year) shooting deaths 7,078, mass shooting deaths: 154
    2017 total deaths 15,631, mass shooting deaths 346
    2016 total deaths 15,104, mass shooting deaths 382
    2015 total deaths 13,532, mass shooting deaths 335
    2014 total deaths 12,556, mass shooting deaths 270”

    Trump formally announced his run for the Presidency in June 2015.

    “Trump formally announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015, with a campaign rally and speech at Trump Tower in New York City.
    Donald Trump presidential campaign, 2016 – Wikipedia

    Shooting deaths and the number of mass shootings have increased substantially since Trump began his run for President, MAGA.

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  June 30, 2018

      It would be only relevant & conclusions drawn if we could see the extended period before Trump announced his candidacy (though to blame him for rising deaths during a period where 95% of the population thought he would lose seems to be a bit of an ask).

      Reply
      • Patzcuaro

         /  June 30, 2018

        Whether people thought he was going to win or not his style of campaigning was rarking the electorate probably even prior to him officially entering the race.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  June 30, 2018

          That’s just silly. Obviously the increase occured in the last two years of Obama’s term. Nothing to do with Trump. If it was it would have continued to increase. It hasn’t.

          Reply
          • Patzcuaro

             /  June 30, 2018

            Silly? Maybe but that is what you can do with statistics, you look for a start point that suits your argument.

            Take homicides in the US, they peaked in 2006 under Bush at 12791, then fell to a low of 11008 in 2014 under Obama, before jumping in 2015 to 12979.

            Trump officially entered the race for President in mid June 2015 but would have been active earlier in 2015.

            https://gun-control.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=006094

            Reply
        • PDB

           /  June 30, 2018

          It is silly – on that basis we should also blame Hillary who was also running for president when gun deaths were at their highest and the bulk of the MSM who lost all sense of objectivity when Trump was running.

          Reply
          • Patzcuaro

             /  June 30, 2018

            But Hilary was part of the Obama administration when the homicide rate was going down. Has the right wing or conservative media ever had any sense of objectivity, I doubt it.

            Reply
  2. Gezza

     /  June 30, 2018

    David / June 29, 2018
    ” What justification is there for anyone to own an assault rifle ?”

    I own a number of them, they are fun.
    …..
    Gezza / June 29, 2018
    The Vegas shooter & all the other mass murderers who’ve used them thought they were fun too, obviously. So you’re in good company, I guess.
    …..
    Gezza / June 29, 2018
    https://yournz.org/2018/06/29/so-thanks-for-your-prayers-but-i-couldnt-give-a-fuck-about-them-if-theres-nothing-else/#comment-287051
    ….
    David / June 30, 2018
    “The Vegas shooter & all the other mass murderers who’ve used them thought they were fun too, obviously. So you’re in good company, I guess.”

    Given that you have painted me with the ‘mass murderer’ brush, can to guess how many people I’ve murdered?
    ….

    It’s an assault rifle. They’re made to kill people. Why do you need to have one? What do you do with it? Are you an army reservist? Do you use it for hunting to put pig, deer, possum & rabbit on the table to save money? Have you made a lot of enemies who are psychopathic killers? Are you useless at darts? Are you paranoid about the impending arrival of the Lefty Zombie apocalypse? Or are you just an overgrown kid with a Rambo fixation?

    Reply
    • David

       /  June 30, 2018

      “It’s an assault rifle. They’re made to kill people.”
      To which I would say, so what? There is no material difference between that and any other firearm.

      “Why do you need to have one? ”

      The delightful thing is that your judgement of my need is not in any way relevant.

      “Or are you just an overgrown kid with a Rambo fixation?”

      I feel so transparent. Although, a technical point, Rambo mostly used an M60, which is not an assault rifle.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  June 30, 2018

        you are a marvel David.
        If Michaelangelo was still alive ,he’d probably make a sculpture in your …image.

        Reply
    • Griff

       /  June 30, 2018

      Penis enlargement.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  June 30, 2018

        Part 2 of Jim Jefferies on gun control in the US. He starts here after saying, at the end of Part 1, that 10% of US people watching him (the gun nuts) are seething. The first reason – he’s making good points. The second reason …

        Reply
      • David

         /  June 30, 2018

        Just to add Griff, penis enlargement is not a legal reason to get a firearms licence in NZ. Shooting for fun, however, is. I

        can’t say I ever notice my penis getting larger as a result of using firearms, but as you have researched the topic, I’m sure you have some evidence somewhere?

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  June 30, 2018

          get a Porsche….a manual.

          Reply
          • David

             /  June 30, 2018

            I got a Porsche because I like small cars and the MX5 was really getting far too tied.

            It’s a mystery to me why you associate these things with penis enlargement. I had a Ducati Monster once and that made my bum hole smaller, but I again, no change in penis size.

            Reply
        • Gezza

           /  June 30, 2018

          “Shooting for fun, however, is…”

          So what do you do you shoot at with a semi automatic for fun, & why is it fun?

          Reply
          • David

             /  June 30, 2018

            “So what do you do you shoot at with a semi automatic for fun, & why is it fun?”

            Mostly targets, typically running gun or 3 gun. It’s fun for the same reasons that surfing is fun.

            Reply
          • Gezza

             /  June 30, 2018

            Is it? Surfing with real, big waves is a challenge man, against nature. You’re shooting with a fake assault rifle that fires ammunition designed to kill people at a paper target. Why?

            Reply
            • David

               /  June 30, 2018

              “Surfing with real, big waves is a challenge man, against nature. You’re shooting with a fake assault rifle that fires ammunition designed to kill people at a paper target. ”

              A painfully ignorant view of what is going on.

              “Why?”

              You have already made your judgement, what is the point in adding anything more? It is not a large leap to understand how they are very similar in nature.

            • Gezza

               /  June 30, 2018

              Well, no , there is a difference. With surfing there are elements of danger. You can get injured. There is always the possibility of sharks.

              You’re not in any danger of getting shot back at by a paper target, or anything else you might be hitting to enjoy watching it get smithereened are you?

              Is there an olympic event for this macho man game you feel a need to play with a fake real warrior or terrorists’ gun?

            • PartisanZ

               /  June 30, 2018

              I find the comparison of surfing to semi-automatic target shooting so odious as to be offensive …

              Surfing uses the natural, primal forces of Mother Nature’s weather and oceans, combined with various surf-and-sea-centric technologies, to afford men and women a thrilling, challenging, envigorating, co-creative water-dance … All surfing is soul surfing … some surfing happens to be professional too …

              War, which furnishes the semi-automatic rifle, and is glorified by senseless doctrines, is the worst thing the human mind has ever conceived. It is the organised negation of life …

            • David

               /  June 30, 2018

              “I find the comparison of surfing to semi-automatic target shooting so odious as to be offensive”

              We have a lot of people hallucinating here. Please read what I wrote. I did not compare the two things.

              “Surfing uses the natural, primal forces of Mother Nature’s weather and oceans, combined with various surf-and-sea-centric technologies, to afford men and women a thrilling, challenging, envigorating, co-creative water-dance … All surfing is soul surfing … some surfing happens to be professional too …”

              I tried that one on with girls when I was 17 too.

          • David

             /  June 30, 2018

            “Well, no , there is a difference.”

            Like I said, your question as to why was not genuine. You have made your judgement already.

            “Is there an olympic event for this macho man game you feel a need to play with a fake real warrior or terrorists’ gun?”

            Again, you are not asking genuine questions. If it was fake, it would be airsoft.

            There is no direct olympic sport for what I do, the Biathlon is similar however. The Pentathlon also exists, but the format is quite different.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  June 30, 2018

              I am asking genuine questions, it’s just that you don’t like what the answers are telling you & others. You are playing pretend warriors with a copy of a military weapon designed for real warriors to kill enemy soldiers. Yours are made for paranoid Americans, Rambo pretenders & real actual killers in the US & Mexico & anywhere where they can sell them to folk who want to kill people. They don’t care who they sell them to or whether it’s legal or not. And you’re boasting about it. But I think you’re just a pretend Rambo wannabe & I’m not impressed.

            • David

               /  June 30, 2018

              “I am asking genuine questions, it’s just that you don’t like what the answers are telling you & others. ”

              No you are not. You have already made up your mind.

              Much like Griff’s penis fetish, you are only seeing what you want to see.

            • Gezza

               /  June 30, 2018

              I’m sure you’d see it differently. Do you wear camos for these games?

            • David

               /  June 30, 2018

              No, just a loin cloth and oil.

            • David

               /  June 30, 2018

              Almost forgot the headband. That would complete the image you want.

        • Griff

           /  June 30, 2018

          [Deleted. PG]

          A fire arm has a design use .
          A 22 capable of rapid fire may have a viable use in pest control were there are multiple targets not so useful for larger game were you should only shoot of you have a clear kill shot.
          Assault rifles are designed on the idea to maximize covering fire… spraying bullets to keep the enemy heads down not picking off game in a hunting environment.
          Few genuine hunters would consider an ar15 clone as a must carry hunting rifle.
          Instead it is the preserve of those who watch to many Rambo movies whilst polishing their barrel.
          Banning military style semi autos would make little difference to those who use guns for sport hunting rather than as a way to lengthen their penis.
          I say this thinking of the few gun nuts I have known motivation behind owning such weapons rather than the genuine hunters attitude.

          Reply
  3. David

     /  June 30, 2018

    Cut me deep bro, here was I thinking you cared…..

    Reply
  4. Patzcuaro

     /  June 30, 2018

    @ “Assault Rifle” David

    “To which I would say, so what? There is no material difference between that and any other firearm.”

    That is nonsense.

    “assault rifle noun
    a lightweight rifle developed from the sub-machine gun, which may be set to fire automatically or semi-automatically.”

    Automatic weapons can technically fire over 500 rounds per minute but more practically about 100 or 40 on semiautomatic compared to maybe about 15 for a bolt action rifle. That to me is material, how many mass shootings are not carried out with automatic or semiautomatic weapons?

    Reply
    • David

       /  June 30, 2018

      “assault rifle noun
      a lightweight rifle developed from the sub-machine gun, which may be set to fire automatically or semi-automatically.”

      You will be glad to know it is (largely), not permitted for anyone in either US or NZ to own an assault rifle, using your definition.

      Reply
    • David

       /  June 30, 2018

      ” That to me is material, how many mass shootings are not carried out with automatic or semiautomatic weapons?”

      None have been committed with automatic weapons.

      Reply
  5. Patzcuaro

     /  June 30, 2018

    The key to a strong democracy is a free press not assault rifles

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  June 30, 2018

      The typewriter image endures, just as when televisions are drawn they are the old style ones and train signs show old choo-choo trains, not modern ones.

      Apart from anything else, I suppose, a typewriter is only used for writing, so a computer would not have the same impact in an illustration.

      Reply
  6. Grimm

     /  June 30, 2018

    It’s interesting that the same people that want guns banned/controlled, are the same people that want less banning/control on other things, like drugs.

    They can’t imagine themselves ever wanting to own a gun, so banning someone’s else’s want is very easy.

    Reply
    • David

       /  June 30, 2018

      “They can’t imagine themselves ever wanting to own a gun, so banning someone’s else’s want is very easy.”

      People who want guns banned cannot imagine owning one and not using it to kill the people they dislike. It’s simple projection….

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  June 30, 2018

        Their penises are just a good enuf size.

        Reply
      • Gezza

         /  June 30, 2018

        can’t say I ever notice my penis getting larger as a result of using firearms,

        No, that’s the thing. It doesn’t. It just makes them feel like it does. It’s simple projection.

        Reply
        • David

           /  June 30, 2018

          Does that happen when you going shooting? I can’t say it’s something I have ever noted.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  June 30, 2018

            Well, the only automatic I’ve ever fired was a bren gun in my final year of school cadets, under army superbision. Shit that was fun. We were allowed to fire them on full automatic. We had to split the platoon up into two groups & mine had the first stint down in the range butts, hauling the man-targets up & down & patching them.

            Christ we nearly shat ourselves when the first section on 10 brens opened up. There was shit flying everywhere, stones, dirt, bits of cardboard target. We all got stung with it. I bet they don’t allow this nowadays. Bloody thrilling though. Some idiot boarder got the entire crew in deep trouble when he deliberately shot two sheep, grazing off the range. One of their psycho bullies.

            I remember thinking “Fark! My old man was a machine gunner in WW2 in North Africa & Italy.” Everyone knows you have to kill tne machine gunners. He would’ve had 4 years of this shit happening to him!”

            But that was when I was a boy & I like war movies n stuff to but I’ve never felt a need to have to be a pretend warrior with a fake assault rifle so I can boast about it online or strut around with it with a bunch of other overgrown kids to compensate for some feeling of masculine inadequacy.

            Reply
      • Griff

         /  June 30, 2018

        Straw man argument .
        No one has suggested banning all guns on this thread .
        RWNJ logic make up shite and gibber about it .

        Reply
        • David

           /  June 30, 2018

          “Straw man argument ”

          Not correct. It is hyperbole.

          “No one has suggested banning all guns on this thread .”

          I’m aware of that. I have made no such claim. If you were not so excited playing with yourself perhaps you would have the time to read what I actually wrote.

          “RWNJ logic make up shite and gibber about it .”

          You have just made some shite up and glibbered about it.

          Reply
  7. Ironically in the news today:

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  June 30, 2018

      Some good reporting by ODT there, seeing you get stuff-all info out of the NZ Police.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  June 30, 2018

        People are always ‘rushed to hospital’ in the news, or ‘plucked to safety’ if they are rescued,

        One really misused cliche is ‘mercy dash’, which I have seen used of someone flying to an ill relation’s hospital bedside.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  June 30, 2018

          Not to forget “weather bomb”. A favourite of 1ewes’s.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  June 30, 2018

            Or ‘extreme weather’ ! A geography master I knew found the then favourite cliche ‘lots of weather’ really annoying !

            How about brutal rape and brutal (or frenzied) attack ? Are there UNbrutal rapes and attacks ?

            Or ‘reluctant hero/heroine’. which is meaningless.

            I am really tired of ‘toasty’ to mean warm. It’s old and tired.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  June 30, 2018

              Yeah. Bit of a total tangent to the topic though so I’ll stop here.

  8. Gezza

     /  June 30, 2018

    Black Hawk Down is on TV2 tonight if anybody wants to watch a US dramatised movie about real warriors using real military weapons for their real actual purpose.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  June 30, 2018

      9.55 pm

      Reply
    • Corky

       /  June 30, 2018

      Love the scene were a dude holds up the stump of what’s left of his thumb and laughs.

      BTW.. that reminds me to tell Parti there’s a great DVD release he will love. It’s called Red Sparrow. A Russian sheila receives the type of espionage training that commies are famed for. The matron trainer tells recruits that the cold war never ended , it just shattered into many pieces. There is reference to a hierarchy of needs. Ditto Americans becoming limp dicks. There’s patriotic references to owing mother Russia a debt. Damn, this DVD will be like a drug for Parti.

      Reply
      • PartisanZ

         /  June 30, 2018

        Typical Western propoganda film by the looks of it. Looks like an attempt to demonize Russians by portraying them as being trained how American ‘black ops’ secret service agents are … Hence, as in another thread, the reason we subsidize film-making …

        It legitimizes, confirms and endorses the status quo. Confirmation bias as ‘entertainment’.

        Try ‘The Innocents’ Corky … more my kind of film … about clearing up after one of your glorious f*^king wars …

        Reply
    • David

       /  June 30, 2018

      The irony of you posting this in this thread is really quite amusing.

      I still think the officer that allowed Shughart and Gordon down on the deck should have been
      court marshalled. The lessons learned about soft skinned vehicles did not get learned until 10 years later, that cost a lot of lives. Nor did the lessons on actually having an actual strategy before you hit the ground get learned either. The hammer/nail has just never been resolved it all just got swept under the rug. End result, total strategic defeat.

      Fun fact; the book got translated into Iraqi and issued to the Iraqi army prior to the 2003 war.

      Can I also point out the vast majority of the combatants on that day were not ‘real warriors’. They were mostly kids messed up on kat firing AK’s & RPG’s in the most chaotic way you could imagine. If they had even a faction of a clue or organisation, none of the ground team would have got out.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  June 30, 2018

        No paper targets & pretendy games with real guns there. People were actually shooting at each other.

        Reply
  9. David

     /  June 30, 2018

    Yes. For reference, in such a place the fun factor hits zero almost immediately and the suck factor hits 100% very, very quickly.

    On days like that, the time with paper targets and pretendy games makes all the difference. That difference can be seen in the relative casualties. Some armor is nice too. Cloth caps my ass.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  June 30, 2018

      Obviously you have put your life on the line & fought in many battles in many wars to acquire all this miltary wisdom, & when required to follow orders & carry out missions with what resources & orders you were given you could see, with 20/20 hindsight from movies and books, would fail, you refused & that was cool with your superiors? Yes?

      Reply
      • David

         /  June 30, 2018

        “Obviously you have put your life on the line & fought in many battles in many wars to acquire all this miltary wisdom, & when required to follow orders & carry out missions with what resources & orders you were given you could see, with 20/20 hindsight from movies and books”

        Now in this confused mess of a sentence there is a glimpse of something, but sadly you don’t get close to it. That’s the problem with complex systems of course, too many ‘stakeholders’ disconnected from the outcome. It’s just a different ,more complex, version of the principal–agent problem.

        I spent a lot of time trying to understand that problem and it’s possible solution, but it’s really a recreational impossibility. You just bounce around trying to find the least flawed one from bad to awful.

        “you refused & that was cool with your superiors”

        I was really never good at doing what I was told.

        “miltary wisdom,”

        This reminds me of a very interesting question that got asked once; “Is there such a thing as military competence?” There is a good argument that outside of very rare situation, all militarizes, by definition, can never be competent. There is a lot to be said for looking for the zen in the point shoot aim.

        Reply
  10. Patzcuaro

     /  July 1, 2018

    A sign of our times.

    Reply

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