In the months since radical changes to our firearms laws were first announced there has been significantly less rioting that you would expect compared to a country with a strong pro-gun lobby such as the United States. We’ve certainly seen a good amount of cheering by those who already had firearms restrictions on their wishlists, but what about those actually affected by the changes? Many stand to lose the ability to compete in sports and activities they love, more still are being made out to be terrible individuals simply for owning firearms, and those throwing the accusations around know little about firearms and less still about viable solutions to the gun safety issue, should there turn out to actually be one.
Great, so it’s obvious why there is praise for the ban from some, but where is the opposition? The rushed response by Prime Minister Ardern holds a large part of the answer for this. By holding a kangaroo court immediately after the shootings it gave Jacinda the ability to declare anyone opposing the bill to be racist and hateful – a simple yet effective tactic. It was created a politically untenable position to oppose the ban or even call for a delay. We even saw Ms Ardern laugh when asked if shooters would have an opportunity to contribute to the changes, and declared that she would not be swayed by naysayers. Such actions suggest a predetermined outcome dictated by a personal agenda, one that now has an opportunity to be dictatorially realized through the vehicle of the Christchurch attack.
Shooters tend to be upstanding and responsible members of society, and thus will generally have too much going on in their lives to drop everything and protest, so we saw no demonstrations outside parliament. Well, that and the reality that any protest would be spun into support for the abhorrent events in Christchurch by media that favours clicks and sensationalism over balanced reporting. Most members of the public opposed to these changes were really hoping that the politicians would see sense and work with the shooting community instead of strong-arming citizens into submission. As it becomes more clear they are opting for the hostile and aggressive approach we are starting to see the opposition from shooters against what is perceived to be an unjust law. Some still speak in support of the new laws out of ignorance, thinking that the new laws don’t affect them so it’s fine, not realizing it’s probably a precursor to full private firearms ban. Others speak in support thinking that it shows support for the victims of the tragedy in Christchurch, but you can oppose both the terrible act as well as the ban without facing a moral dilemma.
It has also been claimed that NZ has a big gun lobby, so shouldn’t we expect big opposition from that? well, the truth is the “gun lobby” in NZ is only a handful of people with zero funding who are vocal on firearms issues. This small group is labelled a gun lobby when anti-gun advocates need someone to blame for the firearms laws not being “fixed” in the past, but the reality is firearms were never a hotbed issue until a foreigner came here with evil intentions. The firearms laws weren’t fixed because there were no political points to be gained by doing so and the proposed fixed wouldn’t have helped much, if at all.
And then we have the political opposition. ACT’s David Seymour was the only one with the balls to stand up and say that rushed law is bad law and that things should have slowed down to the usual pace of lawmaking. This is a good time to point out that every member of the “Opposition” National Party voted in favour of rushing the legislation, and while there may be some that are not fond of firearms, not one Member of Parliament besides Mr Seymour dared to call Ardern out of using the tragedy to force through bad law in a matter of days to score political points. Clearly, the threat of losing potential votes and being labelled racist worked perfectly in this case.
The new law should be opposed, not because of your stance on firearms, it should be opposed because it was rushed into place, citizens were stripped of their rights to contribute to the process, it penalises honest citizens, confiscates property, and all without any attempt to understand what went wrong in the first place. It may be that some types of firearms have no place in NZ, but we haven’t even had a chance to have that discussion.
The opposition to the law is there, it’s in every citizen who believes in an honest government, and it needs to become organized and do whatever is necessary to protect honest citizens from dishonest leadership.