Dear SSANZ members,
It is Friday 13th so you must expect bad things to come your way. Here it is a link to the new round of legislation:
From a quick scan I see that some of the wording has undergone a slight change from the leaked document, so it will pay you to read this one very carefully from start to finish.
The Bill will have its first reading in Parliament on 24 September and then go to the Select Committee stage.
We will reserve further comment on the Bill until we have all had opportunity to study it in detail as there is a lot to take in..
Below is commentary from Act on today’s announcement..
As you may have seen, tonight the Government announced the details of a new wave of firearms laws.
We are working through what they’ve said and provide some initial comments below. If you’d like it from the horse’s mouth, you can read the official statement on the Beehive website here.
The timing of the announcement is cynical. Governments always release bad news on Friday afternoons, hoping people will just want to have a drink and start the weekend. The Government also knows this announcement will be drowned out by its own scandals this week.
Another Rushed Process
Some media are reporting the Select Committee process will take five months instead of the usual six. This is better than the three proposed initially. It’s much better than April’s one week process. However, it appears they want the law to be passed for the March 15 Anniversary. Again the Government is putting political theatre ahead of good lawmaking practice.
Should Have Waited for the Royal Commission
The Government should have waited for the results of the Royal Commission it set up in response to the March 15 tragedy. That Royal Commission was set up to find out what went wrong. It makes no sense to introduce law changes without learning from the Royal Commission. It makes no sense to have a Royal Commission if you are not going to heed it when making laws.
Introducing a Registry
The biggest change is the promise to introduce a registry within two years. We know, from overseas experience, that this is futile . If you are not a fit and proper person you should not have any firearm even if it is registered. If you are a fit and proper person, what difference does it make if your firearm is registered?
Punishing the Law Abiding
The announcement says the punishment for owning a firearm without a license will increase to $15,000 or one year in prison. However, the punishment for entering wrong information into the new registry is $20,000 or three years in prison. The Government is again punishing the law abiding. Almost the entire announcement is focused on people who own firearms legally. There is almost nothing about actual criminals.
A Right or a Privilege?
The announcement says the law will confirm that owning a firearm is a privilege. A fundamental principal of the law in a free society is that you can do anything not expressly forbidden. Saying our rights are actually privileges granted by the Government is an extremely disturbing trend. We are not aware of any other area in law where doing something is said to be ‘a privilege.’ In ACT’s view the Government is continuing its scapegoating of Licensed Firearm Owners.
The Announcement says license holders can be red flagged for ‘extremism.’ Who judges what an extreme view is? In the long term, this may be the most worrying part of all.
More Bureaucracy for Clubs
Clubs are some of the most important institutions for promoting the safe use of firearms. Informal agreements between police and pistol clubs have worked well. Clubs will now face new regulation that, ironically, will make it less attractive to form, run, and grow clubs.
A Possible Positive
We had heard that the planned advisory committee would be appointed by the Police Commissioner and contain bureaucrats. Now it appears it will be a group including firearm owners. We’ll suggest that at least some members should be elected by those who hold licenses.
What the Government Should have Done
Thank you again for supporting ACT’s Fair Firearm Law campaign. ACT developed this policy with members of the licensed firearm community. We are campaigning to implement it after the election and reverse damaging changes. We think that will still be possible (the Government says the registry will take two years to build, and that’s just the initial, hopeful projection that all Government IT projects start with).
You Can Help
Please use the ideas here to persuade others the latest amendment is wrong. It punishes the wrong people and is more about political theatre than public safety. Feel free to forward this email and invite more people to sign up to the campaign at:https://fairfirearmlaws.act.org.nz
Here Is How They See us Overseas
New Zealand Moves to Create Gun Registry in Response to Mosque Shootings
By Jack Crowe
Lawmakers in New Zealand are seeking to further restrict gun ownership in response to a shooting spree at two Christchurch mosques that claimed 51 lives earlier this year.
Legislation introduced in New Zealand’s parliament on Friday would create national gun registry to track all of the country’s guns and their owners and would also require that gun owners obtain licenses that must be renewed every five years, according to Associated Press.
The bill would also require that doctors inform the authorities if they believe a patient is mentally unfit to possess a gun.
“We absolutely recognize there is a legitimate need in our communities to be able to access guns, particularly our rural community,” New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern said Friday. “But what these changes do is recognize that actually there’s a real responsibility that comes with gun ownership.”
Drawing a distinction between her own country and the U.S., Ardern added, “owning a firearm is a privilege not a right.”
In the days following the March 15 mosque shooting, the New Zealand parliament rushed to ban assault weapons like the one that was used in the attack. The government has since collected roughly 19,000 semi-automatic rifles and 70,000 parts. The so-called buy-back program will run until December, at which point New Zealanders who remain in possession of the banned weapons will be criminally liable.
Brendon Tarrant, a 28-year-old white supremacist, has pleaded not guilty to murder and terrorism charges and he remains in jail ahead of his trial, which is scheduled to begin in June of 2020.