David Seymour on Arms Amendment Bill – third reading speech

ACT MP David Seymour was the only one to vote against the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill. This is his third reading speech.


DAVID SEYMOUR (Leader—ACT): Thank you, Mr Assistant Speaker. I rise on behalf of the ACT Party in opposition to this bill, but not in opposition to changing our gun laws. I want to pay tribute to those victims of our nation’s tragedy of 15 March; it is for them that our gun laws must change, because it is not sustainable to have a set of laws where such a deranged individual can get their hands on such lethal weapons with almost nobody knowing about it. That much is certain, and that much is consensus in this House of Parliament, and almost up and down the entire length of this country. However, this bill is not an attempt to improve public safety; it is an exercise in political theatre.

This bill was made redundant and unnecessary by an Order in Council passed down by the Prime Minister and the Government in the week after the tragedy of 15 March. That Order in Council made it clear that only those approximately 7,500 people with the most restricted level of licence—an E category licence that requires extreme vetting and registration of every single weapon—could have semi-automatic weapons. That was a great start. That was a good placeholder, which wouldn’t expire until 30 June. That Order in Council could have been the beginning of a careful, considered, thoughtful legislative process; the type of legislative process that the Government now promises will commence almost as soon as this bill has passed through this House and become a law.

People might ask themselves: “What was the rush and what was the hurry?” Other than the need to be seen to be doing something, there was none. The fact is that, unlike the Prime Minister, who asked, “Well, is it better to do nothing?”, I believe that this bill may end up being worse than nothing.

We could not find, in the select committee, what the officials’ estimates of the success of the gun buy-back might be. So what will members of this House say when we get to the end of the amnesty period this September, and we find that our gun buy-back has been no more successful than the Australian one? One that found that between 40 and 80 percent—just as our Prime Minister couldn’t say, today, how many guns there are in New Zealand, the Australians didn’t know either—of these dangerous weapons have been handed in, and they’ve been handed in by the people who are the law-abiding ones. We could find ourselves with a bigger black market in dangerous semi-automatic weapons than ever outside any regulatory cordon whatsoever. Why might that be? Well, one good reason is that today, in the eleventh hour—such is the rush of this process—the Government decided that they would reward people with compensation if their weapons were owned legally, but they wouldn’t offer compensation for people who hand in illegal weapons. That is how insane the outcomes of this process are.

That is to say nothing—maybe it’s a law that won’t work—about the way it has been gone about; to say nothing of the truncated select committee process, which gave no serious consideration to improving the law, didn’t consider any other options such as upgrading licensing, didn’t allow the committee to consider what the success of the buy-back might be. It simply said, “There is urgency, we must act, we’re going to do this anyway.” That is not good lawmaking, that is not the way to get the law-abiding gun community—whom we need as allies in creating a safer society—on board, and that is not the way to celebrate the institution of Parliament and our democracy at a time when exactly our democratic institutions of freedom have been challenged so violently.

So, for all of those reasons, I am in support of changing our gun laws, but it is impossible for anyone of good conscience to support this bill, the way it’s been brought about, and the problems with it that may well make our society more dangerous than we had on 15 March. Thank you, Mr Assistant Speaker.


See Arms Amendment Bill passes third reading

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13 Comments

  1. Geoffrey

     /  11th April 2019

    A most welcome piece of sane discussion by this MP. The new law, together with the ludicrous cancellation of ANZAC Day ceremonies, demonstrate fear and panic on the part of the Government and it’s agencies. Given that all have been in denial for decades that such an event could ever happen in NICE New Zealand, or if it did, it would happen during someone else’s watch, this is to be expected. However, it is now time to seriously address the need for effective security measures and provisions to meet their cost.

    Reply
  2. lurcher1948

     /  11th April 2019

    David Seymor, putting it bluntly [putting it bluntly, that’s an extreme misrepresentation, pretty much the opposite of what Seymour has said. PG]

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  11th April 2019

      Keep it real, Neighbour.

      Reply
    • Duker

       /  11th April 2019

      Seymour is concern trolling the legislation- ” I am in support of changing our gun laws, ”
      Then he does the lines from the Gun lobby -without evidence
      -‘People might ask themselves: “What was the rush and what was the hurry?” Other than the need to be seen to be doing something, there was none. [50 dead +30 injured]

      – Government decided that they would reward people with compensation if their weapons were owned legally, but they wouldn’t offer compensation for people who hand in illegal weapons. That is how insane the outcomes of this process are.[ yes reward those with illegal weapons]
      -That is to say nothing—maybe it’s a law that won’t work—[Australia, UK showed differently]

      -that is not the way to celebrate the institution of Parliament and our democracy at a time when exactly our democratic institutions of freedom have been challenged so violently.

      All lines from the Gun lobby. Watch his weasel out of any changes to gun laws in the later process , as of course the gun lobby never accept any evidence that means the ‘right to own guns is restricted’
      Seymour has become an gun lobby mouthpiece – spouting NRA lines-. he will regret it.

      Reply
  3. Zedd

     /  11th April 2019

    Mr Seymour singing from the ‘Personal responsibility’ songsheet (libertarian) ?

    BUT I just cant believe that anyone needs MSSAs in Epsom… :/

    Reply
    • lurcher1948

       /  11th April 2019

      They do,to belong to the Auckland Shooting Club….wait that’s closed down

      Reply
      • Zedd

         /  11th April 2019

        point taken Lurch.. BUT surely ‘sporting shooters’ could just keep their MSSA at the shooting clubs, not take them home… even in Epsom (or anywhere else) ? :/

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  11th April 2019

          Sporting shooters can use .22s can’t they. After all it’s hitting the target in the right places that matters……

          Reply
  4. Geoffrey

     /  11th April 2019

    I wonder when exactly the arrest for holding an illegal fire arm would be made; before or after its surrender?

    Reply
    • patupaiarehe

       /  11th April 2019

      I wondered that myself Geoffrey, since certain firearms are illegal as of today, yet the ‘amnesty’ has several months before it’s over.

      Reply
      • Geoffrey

         /  11th April 2019

        As I understand it, most MSSA and all fully automatic firearms have been illegal for 35 years..
        To now indemnify their long term possessors for surrendering them is one thing. But, to also give them some coin for doing so Seema somewhat unnecessary.

        Reply
        • patupaiarehe

           /  11th April 2019

          You are correct with regard to full automatics, as for semi-autos, yes & no. The loophole was that one used to be able to buy (for example) an AR-15 with a 7 cartridge magazine on a standard firearms license (A-cat). To purchase the same weapon with a ‘banana’ magazine (30+cartridges), one would require an E-cat licence, which attracts far more scrutiny from the authorities. Before the law change, one didn’t need a firearms licence to purchase a ‘banana’ magazine. So anyone with a standard firearms licence could very easily buy an AR-15 with a normal magazine, then purchase a bigger one, which would only be illegal once fitted.

          Reply
    • Duker

       /  11th April 2019

      Amnesty applies
      “An amnesty until the end of September, which the Government can extend, means that people with prohibited firearms will not be prosecuted if they are found with their firearms or surrender them to police.”
      Doesn’t apply to using a banned firearm, and depending on circumstances amnesty might be extended ( they have had them before)
      You would be stupid to surrender an illegal weapon outside an amnesty and not expect consequences- remember that word

      Reply

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