Majority support stronger firearms laws – poll

A 1 News/Colmar Brunton poll has only 14% of people opposing the new firearms laws.

1 News  New poll: 61% of New Zealanders back gun ban in wake of Christchurch atrocity

The majority of New Zealand voters believe the Government’s swift move to enact new gun laws has been “about right” in the wake of the Christchurch terrorist attacks.

In the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll, eligible New Zealand voters were asked what they thought of the Government’s moves.

  • 61%  thought the changes were about right
  • 19% thought it did not go far enough
  • 14% thought it went too far
  • 5% didn’t know
  • 2% refused to answer.

So 80% thought the changes were ‘about right’ or didn’t go far enough.

The Government has indicated this was the ‘first tranche’ of changes and intend to do more, but will wisely take more to look into what else should be done.

Between April 6 and 10, 1009 eligible voters were polled via landline and mobile phone. The maximum sampling error is approximately ±3.1%-points at the 95 per cent confidence level.

Opposition to firearm law changes

Almost all of Parliament agreed with the necessity to urgently tighten up on New Zealand firearm laws following the  Christchurch mosque massacres. That is progressing – see New firearm legislation introduced to Parliament.

However there is growing opposition, especially with the speed of the changes.

RNZ: Gun law change fast-track has ‘outpaced’ gun lobby – academic

The speed with which the government has fast-tracked changes to firearms laws has left the gun lobby in a spin, according to an Australian academic.

By the end of next week, politicians expect the Arms Amendment Bill to come into force.

It will ban semi-automatic weapons and military style semi-automatics, with the exception of shotguns and low-calibre rifles.

Parts, magazines and ammunition which can make a gun illegal will also be banned, and there will be tougher penalties for people breaking firearm laws.

Should it come in by Friday next week, it will have taken just four weeks since the Christchurch mosque attacks which killed 50 people.

Four weeks is not long for those in the gun business to come up with a meaningful reaction to the proposals, and Gun City – which sold the accused gunman four of his firearms – is seeking to slow down the process and ensure an in depth discussion takes place on what law changes should be made.

In a letter sent to people who have previously purchased items from the retailer, Gun City said it wants gun owners to be treated fairly, and asked them to contact lawmakers and media.

Gun City is promoting this:

The proposed Firearms law changes affect all New Zealanders.  We want Firearms Licence holders to be fairly and reasonably treated.

1. We need an independent inquiry into how the shooter obtaining a Firearms Licence
2. We want an accurate description of the firearms which the Government proposes to change the law on
3. We need an immediate indication of how the value will be calculated and when payment will be received
4. Will compensation include accessories and ammunition for the gun?
5. Will compensation be limited to just the items surrendered, or will other compensation be made for things such as the following;

(a) Already booked travel for events with the surrendered items
(b) Loss of investment in production equipment and shooting facilities
(c) Loss of employment
(d) Loss of income.

6. To please allow a reasonable timeframe to effect any changes.

Here is the release from the Beehive in relation to the proposed speedy changes.

https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/new-zealand-bans-military-style-semi-automatics-and-assault-rifles

What You Can Do:
Step One
Sign the Petition asking for Parliament to give this consultation the time it deserves.

https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/petitions/document/PET_86334/petition-of-hayden-livingstone-kiwis-request-reasonable

Step Two
Write to the people who are controlling our destiny; MPs, Police, newspapers, television, and radio (we suggest you avoid direct interviews with Radio, TV, and reporters as you may not be presented as you wish).

(a) Email or mail a short note to these people expressing how you feel about the matter
(b) Email or mail a short note expressing how you feel about the matter to Parliament. Using the following emailed address: gunlawchanges@parliament.govt.nz
(c) Prepare a more detailed letter (submission) about the law changes. This note from COLFO has good direction:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zy41PMTn-YQF3oqaxdT-JlQg0fcMw9Ky/view?fbclid=IwAR2HtH-aMk6HTjGZB1n-Nobcv3wHXo2bDk2RIVG0BCM2L7FSduUKWaaMK-s

Step Three
Follow Firearms owners groups like the ones listed below:

https://www.colfo.org.nz/

https://www.facebook.com/colfonz/

http://www.founz.co.nz/

https://www.facebook.com/firearmownersunitednz/

https://kiwigunblog.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/kiwigunblog/

We want to encourage shooting sports unity as we are stronger as one group.  If shooters help one another it is more likely that your preferred type of shooting sport will remain secure.  The reasons and activities for which we own guns vary.  Let’s stand united as Firearms Licence holders rather than dividing into different groups, in the hope that other shooting disciplines will not be affected.

In summary, we want reasonable reactions that which will be effective.

RNZ:

The director of GunPolicy.org, Philip Alpers, said the government had followed Australia’s playbook for how to change gun laws.

“With gun control it’s gratifying to see this government do an end run around the gun lobby,” Mr Alpers said.

“That’s exactly what happened in Australia. John Howard took only 12 days after Port Arthur and that’s what won the battle, he outpaced and outsmarted and just outflanked the gun lobby in a very short period of time.

“New Zealand’s done it in an even shorter period of time.”

Speed, according to Philip Alpers, is crucial when countering a gun lobby which can mobilise quickly, and has helped halt gun law reform for more than two decades.

Professor Kevin Clements, of the University of Otago, praised the quick actions of the government and said it was about time the laws changed.

“This is exactly in line with the suggestions and recommendations of Judge Tom Thorp from 21 years ago, and it should have happened a long time ago rather than having to wait for a tragedy to occur.

“This is a wonderful step forward.”

I think that the political will to change firearm laws quickly looks likely to prevail here.

New firearm legislation introduced to Parliament

Announced yesterday:  Tighter gun laws to enhance public safety


Police Minister Stuart Nash has introduced legislation changing firearms laws to improve public safety following the Christchurch terror attacks.

“Every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack will be banned,” Mr Nash says. “Owning a gun is a privilege not a right. Too many people have legal access to semi-automatic firearms which are capable of causing significant harm.”

“The attack exposed considerable weaknesses in our laws. The firearms, magazines and parts used by the terrorist were purchased lawfully and modified into MSSAs due to legal loopholes. Our priority is to enhance public safety and wellbeing by urgent changes to the law.

“It is important to reiterate the legislation introduced today is not directed at law-abiding firearms owners who have legitimate uses for their guns. Our actions are instead directed at making sure this never happens again,” Mr Nash says.

The Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines and Parts) Amendment Bill will:

  • Ban semi-automatic weapons and military style semi-automatics (MSSAs)
  • Ban parts, magazines and ammunition which can be used to assemble a prohibited firearm or convert a lower-powered firearm into a semi-automatic
  • Ban pump action shotguns with more than a five shot capacity
  • Ban semi-automatic shotguns with a capacity to hold a detachable magazine, or with an internal magazine capable of holding more than five cartridges
  • Exempt some semi-automatic firearms, such as .22 calibres and shotguns, which have limited ammunition capacity
  • Create tougher penalties and introduce new offences
  • Create new definitions of prohibited firearms, prohibited magazines, prohibited parts and prohibited ammunition
  • Establish an amnesty for firearms owners who take steps to hand over unlawful weapons, parts, magazines and ammunition to Police by 30 September 2019

“The misuse of semi-automatic weapons has caused death and injury at our places of worship. It has left a nationwide legacy of harm, pain and grief,” Mr Nash says.

“The men, women and children who died and suffered injuries at the mosques now have their own legacy. We will tighten gun laws to improve the safety and security of all New Zealanders. Their memory is our responsibility.

“The Arms Amendment Bill will have its first reading tomorrow, and be referred to a Select Committee for a swift public submissions process. It will return to Parliament next week to pass through its remaining stages. It is intended to come into force on 12 April, the day after the Royal Assent.

“Further announcements are due shortly on the administration and parameters of the buyback scheme,” Mr Nash says.

Questions and Answers

What are the new prohibitions?

  • Prohibited firearms include semi-automatics and MSSAs; and shotguns with detachable magazines or internal magazines which hold more than five rounds.
  • Prohibited magazines include those holding more than 5 cartridges for a shotgun; more than ten cartridges for a .22 calibre rimfire weapon; and any other magazine capable of holding more than ten cartridges.
  • Prohibited parts include any component of a prohibited firearm, or any component that can enable a firearm to be used as a semi-automatic or fully automatic weapon. Examples could include bump stocks, free-standing pistol grips and silencers.
  • Prohibited ammunition will include certain types of military ammunition as defined by the Governor General through Order in Council. Examples could include armour piercing ammunition.

Are any semi-automatic firearms exempted from the changes?

  • A small number of firearms owners have a legitimate use for weapons with a larger capacity. Semi-automatic firearms which are commonly used for hunting, pest control, stock management on farms, and duck shooting will not be affected. These are:
  • Semi-automatic .22 calibre rimfire firearms with a magazine which holds no more than ten rounds
  • Semi-automatic and pump action shotguns with a non-detachable tubular magazine which holds no more than five rounds

What about licensed owners who have a professional reason for having a semi-automatic or another prohibited firearm?

  • There will be exemptions for specially licensed dealers, bona fide collectors, museum curators and firearms used during dramatic productions, as there are now. They must take steps to disable the weapon and follow other guidelines around security and safety.
  • Authorised pest controllers governed by s.100 of the Biosecurity Act may be permitted by Police to own a semi-automatic
  • There are exemptions for Police and Defence Force personnel.
  • There is no exemption for international sporting competitions. Further advice is needed and it may be considered as part of the second Arms Amendment Bill which is likely later this year

What are the new penalties and offences?

  • maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment:

using a prohibited firearm to resist arrest

  • maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment:

unlawful possession of a prohibited firearm in a public place

presenting a prohibited firearm at another person

carrying a prohibited firearm with criminal intent

possessing a prohibited firearm while committing any offence that has a maximum penalty of 3 years or more

  • maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment:

importing a prohibited item

unlawful possession of a prohibited firearm

supplying or selling a prohibited firearm or magazine

intentionally using a prohibited part to assemble or convert a firearm into a prohibited weapon

  • maximum penalty of 2 years:

possessing a prohibited part or magazine

supplying or selling a prohibited part

How does the amnesty work?

The amnesty means firearms owners who now inadvertently possess a prohibited weapon, magazine, part, or ammunition can hand it over to Police or a licensed dealer without fear of being penalised. Any other firearm, magazine, parts and ammunition not affected by the ban can also be handed over.

Around 200 firearms have already been handed over.

More than 1400 calls have been made to the dedicated Police line 0800 311311

Around 900 online web forms have been filled in at www.police.govt.nz

How will the buyback work?

Police and the Treasury are working on the details of the buyback. The underlying principle is that fair and reasonable compensation will be paid. It will take into account the age and type of weapon, and the market value. It is estimated it will cost between $100 million and $200 million.

What measures are likely to be included in the next Arms Amendment Bill, later in 2019?

Several issues require more analysis and advice from Police, other government agencies and affected groups. This will take time to get right. These include:

  • A register of firearms
  • Licensing of firearms owners and the Police vetting process for a ‘fit and proper person’
  • The Police inspection and monitoring regime, such as rules around storage of firearms

Significant but not drastic firearm law changes

The Government have announced a significant ban on ‘military style’ semi-automatic firearms and magazines, effective immediately, but have given practical semi-automatics such as .22 and shotguns a reprieve. More stringent licensing requirements and measures will be introduced later, and a buyback scheme is yet to be announced.

I think this is as far as the Government could reasonably go in a very short timeframe, and most legitimate firearm users should be happy with this. It looks good banning ‘military weapons’ but doesn’t go as far as some people wanted.

Order in Council:  Arms (Military Style Semi-automatic Firearms) Order 2019

Federated Farmers approve:

There has been a strong positive reaction from the US.


New Zealand bans military style semi-automatics and assault rifles

  • Military style semi-automatics and assault rifles banned under stronger gun laws
  • Immediate action to prevent stock-piling

Military style semi-automatics and assault rifles will be banned in New Zealand under stronger new gun laws announced today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

“On 15 March our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too. We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Cabinet agreed to overhaul the law when it met on Monday, 72 hours after the horrific terrorism act in Christchurch. Now, six days after this attack, we are announcing a ban on all military style semi-automatics (MSSA) and assault rifles in New Zealand.

“Related parts used to convert these guns into MSSAs are also being banned, along with all high-capacity magazines.

“An amnesty will be put in place for weapons to be handed in, and Cabinet has directed officials to develop a buyback scheme. Further details will be announced on the buyback in due course.

“All semi-automatic weapons used during the terrorist attack on Friday 15 March will be banned.

“I strongly believe that the vast majority of legitimate gun owners in New Zealand will understand that these moves are in the national interest, and will take these changes in their stride.

“When Australia undertook similar reforms, their approach was to allow for exemptions for farmers upon application, including for pest control and animal welfare. We have taken similar action to identify the weapons legitimately required in those areas, and preclude them.

“Legislation to give effect to the ban will be introduced when Parliament sits in the first week of April. We will provide a short, sharp Select Committee process for feedback on the technical aspects of the changes. We are looking to progress the amendments to this legislation under urgency and expect these amendments to the Arms Act to be passed within the next session of Parliament,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“The Bill will include narrow exemptions for legitimate business use, which would include professional pest control. Police and the Defence Force will also have exemptions. Issues like access for mainstream international sporting competitions are also being worked through,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said.

“We have also acknowledged that some guns serve legitimate purposes in our farming communities, and have therefore set out exemptions for 0.22 calibre rifles and shotguns commonly used for duck hunting. These will have limitations around their capacity.

“While the legislation is being drafted, I am announcing the Government will take immediate action today to restrict the potential stock-piling of these guns and encourage people to continue to surrender their firearms.

Earlier this afternoon, an Order in Council under section 74A(c) of the Arms Act was signed by the Governor-General to reclassify a wider range of semi-automatic weapons under the Act. It came into effect at 3pm today.

“This interim measure will ensure that all of the weapons being banned under amendments to the Arms Act are now categorised as weapons requiring an E endorsement on a firearms licence.

“The effect of this is that it will prevent the sale of MSSAs and assault rifles to people with A category gun licences. The Order in Council is a transitional measure until the wider ban takes effect.

“We are introducing transitionary measures for gun owners to hand in their guns to Police to hold until details of a buy-back are announced. Likewise, the Police continue to accept guns for destruction.

“Again, we encourage gun owners to phone in to Police ahead of time to advise them they are bringing their guns in to the station,” Stuart Nash said.

“The actions announced today are the first step of the Government’s response. We will continue to develop stronger and more effective licensing rules, storage requirements and penalties for not complying with gun regulations. It is the Government’s intention that these amendments will go through the full legislative process,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“To owners who have legitimate uses for their guns, I want to reiterate that the actions being announced today are not because of you, and are not directed at you. Our actions, on behalf of all New Zealanders, are directed at making sure this never happens again.”

 

 

Government planning firearm law changes, but important questions unanswered

It’s inevitable that New Zealand’s firearm laws are changed in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has made it clear that the Government intends to make changes quickly, and will announce these within a week, but at this stage what is planned is vague.

There is certain to be changes to legal availability of semi-automatic weapons, and I think that most people accept this as necessary to some extent.

But there are fairly good reasons for retaining the ability to lawfully use semi-automatics for some purposes, especially semi-automatic .22 rimfire rifles for pest control (particularly possum control), and also semi-automatic shotguns for fowl control (like geese culling).

Ardern at her post-Cabinet media conference yesterday:

Cabinet today made in-principle decisions around the reform of our gun laws. I intend to give further detail of these decisions to the media and public before Cabinet meets again next Monday. This ultimately means that within 10 days of this horrific act of terrorism, we will have announced reforms which will, I believe, make our community safer.

In the intervening period, we will be working hard and as quickly as we can to finalise some of the details around the decision Cabinet has made today and the consequences of it.

The clear lesson from history around the world is that to make our community safer, the time to act is now. I know that this might for a short period create a small degree of uncertainty amongst some gun owners, including those who possess guns for legitimate reasons, and I particularly acknowledge those in our rural communities. I want to assure you that the work that we are doing is not directed at you.

In fact, I strongly believe that the vast majority of gun owners in New Zealand will agree with the sentiment that change needs to occur. I, in fact, believe that they will be with us.

In the meantime, I want to remind people: you can surrender your gun to the police at any time. In fact I have seen reports that people are, in fact, already doing this.

I applaud that effort, and if you’re thinking about surrendering your weapon, I would encourage you to do so.

I have a semi-automatic .22 and have considered surrendering it, but at this stage have decided to wait. I actually need it over the next few weeks, as it is time to reduce my sheep flock before winter, and a rifle is the best way to start the process. For this I don’t operate it as a semi-automatic as I use low velocity cartridges that have insufficient power to reload – I have to manually clear the spent cartridge and manually reload.

Ardern revealed a little more at her media conference – Government has agreed to gun law changes, will tell public within week

Ardern made the quasi-announcement following an extended Cabinet meeting with ministers on Monday, which was widened to include Confidence and Supply partners the Green Party.

Ardern, who appeared alongside Deputy Prime Minister and NZ First leader Winston Peters, said there was no disagreement around the Cabinet table on the decision.

“Within 10 days of this horrific act of terrorism we will have announced reforms that I think will make New Zealanders safer,” Ardern said.

“In the intervening period we will be working hard and as quickly as we can to finalise some of the details around the decision Cabinet has made today and the consequences of it.”

Ardern said she realised this period would create uncertainty for gun owners. She said the changes would not be aimed at responsible gun owners.

Peters, who has in the past opposed gun law reform, said that on Friday “our whole world changed. And some of our laws will as well”.

Ardern applauded those who had voluntarily surrendered their guns to police since the attack. She advised against prospective gun-owners making purchasing decisions in the coming days.

I presume that is aimed at people thinking of rushing in and purchasing a semi-automatic rifle to beat a ban (I think that is futile and silly), but more generally it is good advice.

I am likely to replace my rifle with a bolt action, but I don’t think now is a good time to rush into that. My rifle is stored safely and securely, ammunition is locked away separately, and only I know how to access it.

As for arguments for retaining some use of semi-automatics, some have been made here at Your NZ.

Andrew:

“Most hunters don’t use semi-automatics – they are a waste of time and bullets for most game shooting.”

This is true for large game. I have no issue all at all making all access to MSSA’s and semi-automatic “rifles” that can take an external magazine restricted. I would not include a .22 rimfire semi-automatic in this list though.

I would have an issue, however, if they banned semi-auto shotguns. Auto loading shotguns are by far the most commonly used shotgun for shooting water fowl. Every year we cull up to 1000 geese in and around the Waikato area. Being stuck with a side by side would make this next to impossible without large scale poisoning.

Ant Corke:

Semi automatic firearms are a tool that are currently used by pest controllers and DOC rangers to erradicate pests such as rabbits and wallabies that infest the central south island, feral pigs and goats that destroy important endangered species habitats throughout New Zealand. The goverment’s commitment for the Battle for the Birds and Preditor Free 2050 requires firearms that have sufficient firepower to ensure high productivity. A blanket ban would hamper this. There are laws, such as the E Category which could be widened to restrict easy access to these firearms without removing a very important conservation tool.

Careful thought is required in drafting new legislation not knee jerk reactions from the ill informed.

I think these are both valid points in the debate over restricting access to semi-automatic firearms, and i hope the Government carefully considers these – Ardern has given an indication that they are listening to legitimate firearms users.

There are legitimate uses for semi-automatics that could justify special licensing to allow their use. This could be similar to the current special licensing to possess and use poisons for pest control.

After carefully considering things I have decided that I have good reason to still to have a firearm. I can switch from semi-automatic to bolt action and may well do this. If special licensing is required for any semi-automatic then I am unlikely to bother with that.

I think that just about all responsible firearm owners and users accept and support the need for some restrictions and law changes.

We will have to wait and see what extent the changes end up requiring.