There was an article online with Al Jazeera that had a headline that read, “New Zealand gun lobby backs ban after Christchurch mosques attack”. You are justified in thinking that New Zealand firearms organizations are a bunch of sheep-like wusses if you believed that headline. The only problem is that when you dig further the anonymous author took quotes out of context and ignored actual opposition to the proposals of Prime Minister Jacinda Adern.
It starts with this from the Secretary of the Council of Licensed Firearms Owners:
In stark contrast to the United States, where even the most minor curbs on gun ownership meet ferocious opposition led by the National Rifle Association, New Zealand gun owners agree action is needed.
“We want to support our government in any changes to prevent a terrorist attack from happening in New Zealand again,” said Nicole McKee, secretary of the Council of Licensed Firearm Owners.
That differs from what they are saying now on their Facebook page. They have asked that the consultation period be the normal six months and that a select committee be set up to study it. This has been ignored in the NZ government’s planned bill and COLFO has said:
Today, the Arms (Prohibited firearms, Magazines and Parts) Amendment Bill was released. You had best sit up and pay attention as we are being let down BADLY.
We NEED 100,000 people to step up and state they wish to be able to fire their centre-fire semi-automatic firearms. We NEED you ALL to submit to the select committee and to ask to speak in person. That is the simple key message.
I don’t think that sounds like an organization that is backing the government of New Zealand’s gun control policies. They are also feeling like scapegoats.
Some Licensed firearm owners are feeling they are being made the scapegoat for the
actions of a terrorist, we would like to quote the Prime Minister and say on their behalf ‘We
did not do this’.
Here is what is being banned by the Government of New Zealand’s proposed bill which will carry penalties from 2 to 10 years of imprisonment for violating it.
The Bill inserts new provisions to provide a general prohibition on importing, selling, supplying, or possessing any of the following:
- a semi-automatic firearm (other than a pistol), with some exceptions:
- a pump-action shotgun that is capable of being used with a detachable magazine:
- a pump-action shotgun that has a non-detachable tubular magazine or magazines that can hold more than 5 cartridges or magazines:
- magazines for shotguns that can hold more than 5 cartridges:
- magazines for any other firearm that are detachable and can hold—
- 0.22 calibre or less rimfire cartridges and more than 10 of those cartridges; or
- more than 10 cartridges and can be used with a semi-automatic or fully automatic firearm:
- any other magazine that can hold more than 10 cartridges:
- a part of a prohibited firearm, including a component, that can be applied to enable, or take significant steps towards enabling, a firearm to be fired with, or near, a semi-automatic action.
In the quote from the National Rifle Association of New Zealand referring to only shooting with single shot bolt action rifles, it was taken from the President’s newsletter which contained a number of bulleted items. NRA-NZ is a rifle shooting club that engages in stuff like the Palma Championships and F Class rifle contests. The newsletter notes that they are part of the Council of Licensed Firearms Owners and are letting that organization take the lead in the response to the political situation post-Christchurch mosque attack.
COLFO considers the current licensing requirements for military style semi-automatic firearms meets both the needs of society and firearms owners. The legislation has proved successful in regulating the ownership, use and safe storage of such firearms.
COLFO also believes that MSSAs should be transferable between E endorsement holders and those with a C category endorsement. This would enable bona fide collectors and museums the opportunity to retain or purchase them.
The tragedies that involve mass murder using firearms are normally followed by emotive calls for tighter gun control as people look for a quick fix to feel more secure. It is a fact that those who are diagnosed as mentally ill have little or no respect for any laws let alone firearm laws.
COLFO considers legislating to further restrict firearms possession among law abiding and licensed owners will have no effect on the incidents of violence involving firearms. This has been proven by overseas experience.
I think this conclusively puts a nail in the coffin of the quote implying that they support the NZ government’s plans to ban these firearms.
My final comment is that the number of firearms voluntarily turned in is minimal (less than 50). Despite not having constitutional protections for either free speech or the right to keep and bear arms, it seems many New Zealanders are taking the Gonzales approach – Come and Take It.