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.


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


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:


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







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.


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.