The Government has told the people of New Zealand that the new ban on semi-automatic firearms is for public safety and to make sure the events in Christchurch are never repeated. But how well does the actual legislation line up with the rhetoric?
The main aim of the ban is at the ar-15 and similar rifles which the media and authorities like to label “assault weapons”, and the ban certainly does now prohibit these from private ownership. AR rifles (AR stands for Armalite Rifle, the company that developed it) are the most targeted by anti-gun campaigners, mostly due to the black appearance, which is likely why the shooter selected that particular rifle. And the public appears to by and large agree with this policy, with even some hunters stating that no-one needs an ar-15 for hunting. There certainly is a discussion to be had around the validity of the AR platform for hunting purposes and how valid gun control arguments are, but that discussion was not able to be had; the Prime Minister and Stuart Nash threw all advice aside to rush through as quickly as possible.
Whatever your personal opinion on firearms, or specifically the use of semi-automatic for hunting, there is no getting around the fact that the government refused to partake in any discussion and pushed a predetermined agenda through as quickly as possible. There was harsh criticism for anyone that called for a more measured approach, and the bill was passed into law in a matter of days. In case you are unaware, democracy needs to be deliberately slow and methodical to be stable, and we got the exact opposite of that.
And in the subsequent dust cloud as politicians raced towards the legislative finish line, most Kiwis did not see the rest of the impact being dealt to the firearms community. The ban of countless other firearms that the public don’t realize are also banned, including ones that aren’t semi-automatic. The ability for any other types of firearms to be banned at a moments notice without even a vote in parliament, the ability to prohibit any ammunition they wish, again without even so much as a mention in parliament. And this is where the corruption lies. The public have been sold a vision of a NZ free of “evil assault rifles” but what they’ve been given is a ban that reaches far more deeply, and all firearms that haven’t been prohibited can be done so at any time with no notice or consultation. Would you stand to have a law in place that could take your home or your car from you on a whim without notice? I think not.
Regardless of your position on semi-automatics, or firearms, the callousness shown towards a section of our community by our leadership and by the public (who often rely solely on a biased and selective media) is something to be ashamed of, and is far more indicative of an authoritarian state than a democracy.