Submissions heard in Dunedin on gun law proposals

MPs (from left)  Clare Curran, Duncan Webb, David Carter and David Seymour  listen intently to...
MPs (from left) Clare Curran, Duncan Webb, David Carter and David Seymour listen intently to select committee submissions on the Arms Legislation Bill at a hearing held in Dunedin yesterday. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Otago and Southland firearms owners acted in self-defence yesterday, several making submissions to a Parliamentary select committee considering gun control legislation.

Store owners, shooting club representatives, tourism operators, shooting enthusiasts and pest controllers took issue with various sections of the Arms Legislation Bill, telling the sub-committee of the finance and expenditure select committee of their issues with proposed changes to licensing, management of shooting ranges, and the creation of a firearms registry.

Professional hunter Robert Wilson, of Manapouri, told of his frustration with licensing provisions introduced after the March 15 Christchurch mosque massacre.

"We are a nationwide business and I have a limited endorsement, one for the South Island only, but apparently I am not a fit and proper person on the other side of Cook Strait.

"I have to apply on a case-by-case basis for any work I am doing in the North Island ... with delays in processing.

"I don’t see any hope of expanding my business."

Dunedin Clay Target Club president Grant Dodson said while he had always had concerns about access to military-style weapons, he also had doubts about proposed law changes.

"Parliament needs to create good quality legislation that will make New Zealand safer, because, let’s face it, I don’t want to get shot by some terrorist.

"I do have serious concerns that the Bill, as presented, is a significant lost opportunity."

The proposed changes threatened to alienate law-abiding firearms users, impose a high burden of compliance, and make shooting clubs and ranges dearer and harder to run, he said.

While the great majority of those submitting in Dunedin were opposed to the legislation, Ariel Pons was an exception.

The University of Otago student said current gun laws allowed a massacre, and now New Zealand’s safe gun owners had to lose some of their enjoyment and freedom in order to reduce the risk of another.

Speaking for Quaker Peace and Service Aotearoa New Zealand, Stephanie du Fresne said every legally-owned firearm should be registered.

"We see this as a key component among a range of measures designed to keep firearms out of the wrong hands."

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"The University of Otago student said current gun laws allowed a massacre, and now New Zealand’s safe gun owners had to lose some of their enjoyment and freedom in order to reduce the risk of another."

Not only is that an egregiously vitriolic statement for a person to make, but it has been categorically established that the Police's vetting procedures were compromised and not followed correctly, resulting in the individual concerned being issued with a firearms license. That's what let him do a shooting, not what firearms he had access to after the fact.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand the mental gymnastics that allows the concept of other license holders being responsible for the issuing of said licenses to exist let alone be as pervasive as it seems to be.

The Police issue licenses, not the other people with those licenses. It's so simple.

Heaven forbid the egregiously vitriolic that is accurate.

As usual the pro gun laws people have no idea about firearms or the people that use them, Gun registration has not worked and can not work 1. Because the Data input personal have no idea if the data they are inputing is correct or not, 2. The Police personal that administer the register also have the same problem unless the data is verified by some one that is very knowledgeable on firearms and the Police don't have such a person, 3. There is no way of knowing if all firearms are registered with the lack of trust in the Government and Police many citizens will not comply and who can blame them the goal posts are changing every day, 4. While the gangs are free to do what ever they want there will always be a supply of illegal firearms available to any person that wants them,
The people pushing these laws do not have the interest of NZ as top priority and those that support them have no idea what damage they are doing to our country and the way of life of many thousands of New Zealanders,
None of the new laws will make us safer than we were before March 15 if anything it is the opposite.

Pretty sad that so many people look to the goverment to solve their problems! Why would any reasonably intelligent person think the same group of people who allowed the killer to legally purchase the murder weapons are going to be able to prevent the illegal purchase of weapons on the black market? Your looking to people who have problems walking and chewing gum at the same time to come up with gun legislation that works? What's happened since the legislation passed? Increased crystal meth production and increased crime across the country. Criminals dont care how strict guns are because they dont obey the law. Tightening gun laws only means the criminals have to do more crimes to pay the increased cost for an illegal gun. Only an imbicile would summize law abiding citizens would have to sacrifice their right to own a weapon so society could be safer. Using that logic many individual rights could be forfeited under the auspices of public good? Is that really a road we as a nation want to go down?

A gun register is a shopping list for criminals. All it takes is one crooked cop giving access to the register and the crims can pick and choose their firearms, knowing which addresses to get them from. Dumb idea!

As for the gun laws, they're changing so fast with so many alterations that ordinary citizens will stop complying, because they don't trust the government and the police, and citizens can't keep up to date with what's legal and what's not anyway. Cops don't know either when asked - they genuinely don't know, as a rule, what's legal and what's not. It's a mess.

If this all were actually about keeping kiwis safe, government would have taken the gangs apart first. They haven't. The whole "keeping us safer" line is rubbish.

What's more, we've now got ill-trained cops shooting themselves in the buttocks and shooting inside private homes in front of kids. None of this makes me feel safer!

If the goal of these laws was to drive a wedge between our police and our communities, increase shootings by cops, and create distrust of government and our law, it's worked! But making New Zealand safer? Not so much.

What a disaster!

Robert Walker (above) makes good points. Most of those who want tighter gun laws know nothing about the use of guns and are gunphobic. I knew people who misused guns under the then gun laws, but it did not make me want a change in the law. Rather it was an opportunity to educate the dangerous persons. We know that guns that are used to kill people are mostly owned by illegal owners or those who obtained guns illegitimately. If the anti-gun lobby got some gun education it would be far better because then the discussion would be based closer to the truth. There is nothing to educate better than experience. For that to happen you have to have guns available to people, and banning them will just not work. Criminals and terrorists will find a way to get exactly what they need to kill people. Leave recreational users of firearms alone.

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