New Zealand bans semiautomatic and “military style” weapons

On March 13, 1996, the Dunblane Massacre took place in Scotland. A man named Thomas Hamilton assaulted a school with four legally-owned handguns, killing 16 children and a teacher (and wounding another 16) before committing suicide. Reaction was swift, and within two years the government had passed two acts banning all handguns in England, Scotland and Wales; the exceptions are “historic and muzzle-loading guns” and a few other types of large “sporting” handguns that are large.

Following the two mosque shootings on March 15, New Zealand has acted even faster. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, whom I much admire, just announced that New Zealand is banning not only the sale of semiautomatic weapons, but ownership of them, which will end via a government buyback scheme. (The weapons used in the mosque shootings had, as I recall, been bought legally but modified illegally.)

Tvnz reports (click on screenshot):

Ms Ardern had previously stated that New Zealand would see gun law reforms “within 10 days” of the Christchurch mosque shootings which left 50 people dead. She took six days to act.

“The attacker took a significant number of lives using primarily two guns, assault rifles purchased legally on an A class licence.

“The time for the easy availability of these weapons must end, and today it will.

“In short, every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country,” Ms Ardern said in a press conference this afternoon.

High-capacity magazines and attachments will also be banned along with the “military style weapons.”

Low calibre .22 semi-automatic firearms used mainly for pest control and duck hunting will be exempt.

The Prime Minister also announced a “buyback scheme” will be made available to those who possess any of the now banned weapons.

Wait a tick! Why do you need semiautomatic weapons for pest control and duck hunting? That’s unfair to the ducks!

At any rate, the announcement of the ban and buyback has already appeared on the New Zealand Police website, and you can see the “Hand in Firearms form” here.

It’s telling that the Federated Farmers, Fish and Game New Zealand, and the National Party (an opposition party; Ardern is from Labour) have joined in supporting the Prime Minister in the ban. It’s going to happen, and happen soon.

You know my opinion and my question: the U.S. should do the same, and do we have any good reasons why not? The Supreme Court has interpreted our Second Amendment, designed to enable militias to defend themselves against tyranny, as giving private citizens a right to own guns. An “originalist” like Scalia should recognize that, and everyone should recognize that this interpretation of the Amendment is an unconscionable stretch, designed to satisfy the NRA and gun-happy Americans. At the very least, handgun ownership should be banned in America, and so should semiautomatic weapons.

I can see no justification for America’s love of gun ownership save the oft-repeated claim that if guns were banned, only the “bad guys” would have guns. But we know that self-protection using handguns costs fewer lives than the accidental deaths caused by owning those guns. As the L.A. Times reported, in 2012 the number of defensive “justifiable homicides” using all firearms was 259, less than half of the “fatal unintentional shootings,” which numbered 548. And on top of this, that year saw 8,342 criminal homicides using guns and 20,666 suicides using guns (about half of all suicides). The Times report concludes this way:

So what conclusions can we draw from this? The notion that a good guy with a gun will stop a bad guy with a gun is a romanticized vision of the nature of violent crime. And that the sea of guns in which we live causes exponentially more danger and harm than good. It’s long past time to start emphasizing the “well-regulated” phrase in the 2nd Amendment.

But it’s unthinkable that what just happened in New Zealand could happen in the U.S. For one thing, it goes against the courts’ construal of the Second Amendment, and on top of that it’s unimaginable that the Republican Party would support such action.

The prevalence of guns in America is not constitutionally permissible under any reasonable interpretation of the Constitution, and doesn’t make our citizens safer. Perhaps we can have rifles for hunting, but they should be kept under strict control, as they do in the UK. In the end, New Zealand’s immediate and rational response to gun violence stands in stark contrast to the refusal of our government, in the face of repeated mass shootings, to do anything but wring its hands, offering “thoughts and prayers.”

h/t: Infiniteimprobability

178 Comments

  1. Posted March 21, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I continue to be impressed with the way the NZ government has dealt with this tragedy.

    • Posted March 21, 2019 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Including a sweeping ban on numerous internet chat boards and news sites, mandatory wearing of the hijab by on-duty female police officers, and broadcasting the moslem call to prayer over the radio?

      • yazikus
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        I saw a picture of the office in hijab, but didn’t see that it was mandatory. Do you have a link to that and the banning chat-board information? I’ve got no problem with the call to prayer.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

          (Sigh)

          The ‘call to prayer’ will be broadcast once, today, in conjunction with a memorial service.
          (Self-styled) Bishop Brian Tamaki has objected, but then he’s a prat. I don’t think any other denomination has.

          Hijab – the Prime Minister wore one when she visited the mosque. I think it was appropriate in the circumstances. Even Judith ‘Pit-bull’ Collins, the deputy leader (IIRC) of the Opposition and not known for being nice to the Government, supported her in that.

          To do them justice, the Opposition have the sense to realise that nit-picking at this time is not going to win them any votes at all. Also, in fairness, I don’t think they want to try and make any political capital out of this.

          cr

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

            Oops, sorry. That ‘Sigh’ was directed at Matt, not Yazikus.

            cr

            • yazikus
              Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

              The info was appreciated regardless.

          • Posted March 22, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

            Obviously, a female government official will be obliged to don a hijab if she is to enter a mosque. The entire nation’s women — including newscasters — wearing one is outrageous. The hijab symbolizes the barbaric moslem worldview that women are mere sex objects while men are uncontrollable rapists.

            I shall always oppose government promotion of religion, even following tragedies and even in countries where it is not profited by law.

            Both these gestures were unnecessary and excessive; there were plenty of other ways to express empathy with the victims. This all seems a combination of dress-up + virtue signaling on the part of the Left.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted March 22, 2019 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

              I was thinking that as an atheist, I wouldn’t want to participate in wearing a headscarf that signifies a religion. I’m not sure how I would handle that if I were in NZ without seeming intolerant.

        • Posted March 21, 2019 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

          Personal correspondence with a friend in NZ re. the hijab. If not mandatory, then an if-you-know-what’s-best-for-you ‘suggestion’.

          The internet ban:
          https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/03/australian-and-nz-isps-blocked-dozens-of-sites-that-host-nz-shooting-video/

          Australia has also just banned Milo Y for “foment[ing] hatred and division” by stating “the establishment panders to and mollycoddles extremist leftism and barbaric alien religious cultures.”

          • Posted March 21, 2019 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

            You’ll have to do better than that to justify your “sweeping ban on numerous internet chat boards and news sites,” claim.

            Better than simple examples of attempts to prevent hosting of the live cam video of the shooting by sites that won’t do so voluntarily.

            I’m a NZer and as it happens, I think the hijab wearing gesture rather misguided, alternative gestures other than a symbol of female subjugation might have been better. Nevertheless its only a gesture and only temporary (one day?)

            • Posted March 22, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

              … attempts to prevent hosting of the live cam video of the shooting by sites that won’t do so voluntarily.

              It’s not really voluntary, if banning is the consequence of not complying. What is the NZ law under which this action was taken, and the threat of a 14-year prison sentence for distributing, 10 for possessing, the video?

              I agree that the hijab is a misogynistic symbol and embracing it even for a day as a gesture of tolerance is misguided. I see also that a version of NZ’s silver fern, where each frond is a silhouette of a moslem in prayer, has ‘gone viral’. I suspect that most folks find a massacre in side a house of worship somehow especially egregious. In contrast, no one celebrated the dancing of the 50 club goers in Orlando.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted March 22, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

                From what I read about the video, the ISPs in NZ decided to restrict access to sites that hosted that video until the video is removed. They were not directed by the state to do so.

  2. GBJames
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    It must be nice to have a government that can take rational gun control measures.

  3. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Canada has decent gun control though most Canadians don’t realize it and think we are just like the US. Those Canadians have never travelled to the US.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      If they’re comin’ ‘cross the border, tell ’em to come strapped, or don’t come at all.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:43 am | Permalink

        Coming back over the border might be problematic.

  4. Robert Bray
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Although I’m no hunter and never was, I believe most ducks are killed in flight (or take-off) with shotguns. The only duck most hunters could hit with a .22 is a sitting duck. Which makes the New Zealand exception all the more puzzling.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      I don’t understand the usefulness of semi-automatic .22 guns but maybe I’m missing a use case. I have a regular .22 and I don’t shoot it, just own it, but did target shooting with it as a younger person.

      • GBJames
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        I’m opposed to gun ownership in general although I do own one technically. It is a 1848 Austrian-made Garibaldi rifle that was used in the early Civil War. It couldn’t actually be used since the firing mechanism is rusted up. But the bayonet is pretty sharp. I joke about using it for self defense… “Hold on a minute while I get a stool and climb up to get this thing off the wall…” 😉

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

          My dad has an old muzzle loader as a collector’s item. He has all the firing pins removed from all his rifles. Most people can’t even load a muzzle loader even if they had the appropriate materials to do so, not to mention that by the time you got around to loading it, everything around you would have moved on.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:46 am | Permalink

          We’ll try to give some warning before the rebels get to Antietam Creek.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        There is no reason for semi-automatic 22 rifles. They make and sell them because they can. They have made pump action 22 rifles for more than 60 years. Those old rifles hold 15 or 20 rounds.

        I have never heard of anyone hunting ducks with a 22 rifle. It is probably illegal in most states and it makes no sense.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:54 am | Permalink

          Sounds like a varmint rifle to me — but maybe we should check with an expert outdoorsman like Mitt Romney.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:58 am | Permalink

            I always thought he was kind of a varmint. And close to g*d as well.

        • phil
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

          Have you seen the ducks in NZ?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      GunPolicy.org ‘About’ page & their remarks on .22 bunny guns:

      “Harmless” .22 calibre Rabbit Rifles Kill More People Than Any Other Type of Gun Contrary to their popular image as low-powered “bunny guns.
      .22-calibre rimfire rifles are commonly used in multiple shootings. In seven recent mass Killings involving .22 rifles in Australia & New Zealand alone, 54 people died by gunfire.

      Source is this TWO PAGE PDF which has the relevant details re dates, incidents etc.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        I worked with someone who told me a .22 couldn’t kill anyone. I asked him to let me shoot him with my .22 and we would see. 🙂 His rational was “it only makes a tiny hole”. I think he needs to understand what tiny holes mean to the body.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

          The .22 is actually the weapon-of-choice for certain professional hitmen. It’s small, lightweight, less messy, and easier to silence. See here for further explanation.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:31 am | Permalink

            And no kicking. I hate getting kicked.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:22 am | Permalink

          Yeah, he’s a genius! 🙂

          A small calibre, low velocity round is ideal for killing a person if close in. The little bullet enters the brain pan & rolls/rattles around inside like a roulette ball doing extensive damage while a faster bullet is possibly more survivable [in & out in a straight line], though you’ll need a metal plate. 🙂

        • Adam M.
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

          Yeah, that’s silly. A .22 magnum round can even punch through 3A body armor, which is about the best body armor reasonable for most people to wear (mostly because the .22 round is narrow and has a high velocity). They shouldn’t be underestimated.

        • Adam M.
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

          Yeah, that’s silly. A .22 magnum round can even punch through 3A body armor, which is about the best body armor reasonable for most people to wear (mostly because the .22 round is narrow and has a high velocity). They shouldn’t be underestimated.

          • Adam M.
            Posted March 21, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

            Oy. I only clicked “Post comment” once!

        • Adam M.
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

          Yeah, that’s silly. A .22 magnum round can even punch through 3A body armor, which is about the best body armor reasonable for most people to wear (mostly because the .22 round is narrow and has a high velocity). They shouldn’t be underestimated.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        Since it matters in relation to what’s banned in NZ, here’s the technical diff between Rimfire & Centrefire ammo.

        And the pictorial difference:

        LEFT: .22 rimfire ammo rifles are permitted
        RIGHT: .22 centrefire ammo rifles are NOT permitted

        It is my understanding that the banned centrefire can achieve greater muzzle velocity for the same calibre because stronger casing allows for more powder in the centrefire which can be a longer round holding more powder & with a longer, heavier bullet & thus greater muzzle velocity.

        Here endeth the [probably faulty] lesson

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:11 am | Permalink

          Yes, and the center fire is generally much higher velocity and does much greater damage. However, I understand the Israeli secret police used 22 pistols for most of their work. It kills just as well and much less noise. They are taught to pull the trigger in two’s.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink

            Yes. Mossad & El Al sky marshals used the .22LR ammo in the Baretta 70 pistol for many years before switching to 9mm.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:29 am | Permalink

          It’s perplexing to me that most law enforcement carry hollow point ammo. The argument is that hollow points are more accurate but the effect of a hollow point on a person is devastating. It’s banned by most Western militaries.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:39 am | Permalink

            Indeed. And since Americans love to build their homes in wood [or at least their interior walls] it’s somewhat insane to be toting heavy duty ammo in the urban environment.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

            I don’t know about hollow point being more accurate – never heard that. It is used by the police because it stops. It knocks down. If you are hit by hard jacket, military type bullets they can just pass through. But the main reason military is hard jacket, they want the bullets to go through brush, woods etc. Hollow point will not do this.

            • Derek Freyberg
              Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

              Military rounds are jacketed because the use of expanding rounds is prohibited by the Hague Convention of 1899.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

              i think that’s partly what they mean by “more accurate” in that they don’t hit innocent by standers so easily. Apparently they allow for more precision as well but the carnage they do to people is really quite awful. It’s why they are banned by many military as part of various conventions.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted March 21, 2019 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

              Hollow point information on Wikipedia including information about accuracy, penetration, use, and conventions.

            • Stuart A Milc
              Posted March 21, 2019 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

              Not all hollow points are created equal. I’m assuming that Diana is referring to cops preferring hollow point pistol ammo and I’m skeptical of that. Hollow point pistol ammo is generally less accurate than regular ball ammo. It also doesn’t cycle as reliably in a semi automatic pistol, all things considered. Honestly, if my life depended on it I’ll take full metal jacket.

              Rifle match (i.e. high uniformity and accuracy) ammunition can also be hollow point but it’s not the same as what I described above. Several bullet manufacturers solve tip consistency by creating a tiny hole (about 1mm) and pocket right at the very tip of the bullet. This does nothing for expansion – if it hits something living it’s probably a passthrough.

    • Stuartg
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      As I understand it, the semi-automatic rim fire .22 tends to be used in NZ for pest clearance. More specifically, farmers often use them to reduce introduced pest species such as rats and rabbits.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        Yes. They are being kept specifically because of rabbits on high country farms in the South Island. A farmer can easily kill fifty thousand rabbits a year on his/her South Island high country farm. There’s currently no other way to do that other than low-calibre semi-automatic rifles. A very small number of farms also have a problem with huge numbers of ducks because of duck shit polluting their water source.

        People should also be wary of transferring attitudes towards/culture re- guns from one country to another. Guns are very common in NZ, but no one thinks they have a right to them and we don’t have a gun culture like the US.

        I’ve just been to lunch with a group of eight other women. Of course the subject of the ChCh massacre came up. All but two (my mother and me) have guns at home. (Most said “in the back of the wardrobe,” which is illegal, but they all kept the ammunition locked up elsewhere.) I live in a rural area and the women all have a farming or veterinary backgrounds. They think of them as tools of the job. None would consider getting a gun out for any other reason than work.

        • Mike Anderson
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

          I live in a rural area and the women all have a farming or veterinary backgrounds. They think of them as tools of the job. None would consider getting a gun out for any other reason than work.

          There’s a good amount of Americans like that. Their guns aren’t for self defense or zombie apocalypse or tyrannical black presidents, they’re work tools.

        • phil
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

          “There’s currently no other way to do that other than low-calibre semi-automatic rifles.”

          NZ doesn’t mixo or calicivirus?

          • Stuartg
            Posted March 22, 2019 at 4:22 am | Permalink

            Resistance developed rapidly, partly because of unplanned, poorly distributed, and above all else, illegal release of virus.

            With native top predators gone (Haast eagle), and introduced predators (cats, stoats, weasels) preferring native fauna as easier prey, rabbits in NZ demonstrated the fecundity that they are known for. Tens of thousands of rabbits shot per high country station, per annum, is not exaggeration.

            That’s why the exception for semi-automatic rimfire .22s.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted March 22, 2019 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

            They have used viruses in the past. At least one was released illegally and not how the scientists were going to do it resulting in a lower kill rate than it should have. The rabbits are now largely immune to it. Other viruses there are native ?birds ?animals (not sure what but I know something is) that are at risk and so it’s not used. As an introduced species, they have no natural predators here. That’s why there are so many.

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Have been having some dialogue with Heather on this issue and hats off to NZ for this fast action taken. See how easy good things can be done, however, not so in this conflicted country of ours.

    You are correct, there is no reason for these weapons for any type of hunting. That is my opinion as someone who grew up in the culture. For something like duck hunting they are likely talking about semi automatic shotguns, not rifles. No one uses rifles to hunt ducks. Shotguns whether pump action or semi-automatic are generally restricted to 5 shells in the gun. Sometimes you must have the gun plugged so it holds only 3 shells. Every state has different laws concerning these things and you must know the laws or pay the price if caught not following regulations.

    In this country we need to get rid of all assault type weapons and we also need to get rid of hand guns.

    • Adam M.
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      I think there is reason for a hunting rifle that allows firing a quick follow-up shot. Generally this means a way to quickly cycle the action and load the next round without messing up the sight picture. That way, a non-disabling first shot can be quickly followed up with a second if necessary.

      A semi-automatic rifle does this (and such hunting rifles are quite popular). A pump-action rifle can as well, but I think any hunting rifle that allows a quick follow-up shot against an animal would also allow quick follow-up shots against humans, so if semi-automatic rifles should be banned on those grounds then pump-action rifles should be banned too, it seems. (With training, a pump-action weapon can be fired at about the same speed as a semi-automatic, assuming you’re actually taking time to aim.)

      I wouldn’t argue against hunting rifles needing to be bolt-action, but it would probably lead to an increase in animal cruelty as more animals escape only to die days later. It may be a reasonable tradeoff.

      It seems to me that magazine capacity and reload time are more important factors in “assault” applications. Perhaps all civilian firearms should be required to have low-capacity internal tube magazines, which are slow to reload and can’t be quickly swapped out like box magazines.

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        With training, a pump-action weapon can be fired at about the same speed as a semi-automatic, assuming you’re actually taking time to aim.

        False.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      The proposed NZ law will allow semi-automatic 22 rifles with up to 10 rounds (used for e.g. rabbits) and pump-action shotguns with up to 5 rounds in a fixed non-swappable magazine (presumably for e.g. ducks)

      Any gun can be lethal in the right circumstances. But the obvious answer to those misguided gun nuts who try to use that to argue that ‘the law won’t work’ is surely to say ‘OK then, so you’re saying we should ban all guns?’

      cr

  6. Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Hear, hear, sir. Weapons, no matter the configuration, that were incepted as specifically human killing weapons have no place in the general public. ←That is the proverbial period.

    • yazikus
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      +1

    • Robert
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      +1

    • Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      +1

    • Posted March 21, 2019 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      Well said!

    • max blancke
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      The majority of firearms are adopted from designs that were once military weapons. That is where the R&D money has always been.

      To me, this looks like rushing to be seen as doing something, even if it has no effect on the problem or is counterproductive.

      They are similarly trying to solve the same issues in GB, by instituting increasingly silly bans on things like butter knives. It is easier than confronting the actual problems of violence, which can be fairly complex.

      • Posted March 21, 2019 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        Blah, blah, blah, butter knives and lawnmowers, you guys are all the same. If Gatling swords were available before Hastings, the Vikings would have had them of course, but the Saxons being rational, would outlawed them in the shires. Stop thinking like a Dane.

        • Posted March 21, 2019 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

          Who else finds that comment incomprehensible?

          • Posted March 21, 2019 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

            I’m pointing out the thinking is distorted; the feeling that one needs the pinnacle of technology in regards to personal weapons is foolhardy in today’s world. The ability to deal killing damage to large swathes of those before your personnage is psychotic, and even the Saxons were more competent in regards to weapons than we.

            I’ll use an ammosexuals retort; prove me wrong. Show me where the peasant owned a catapult, or ballista, or any mass killing weapon of the day and wasn’t immediately put in check by his lord.

            Rationally, no man that isn’t going to war needs a weapon of war.

            • phil
              Posted March 22, 2019 at 12:37 am | Permalink

              As if that should need to be pointed out, although clearly it did.

              Remember too that there was a time in English history when the citizenry were required to practice archery with longbows on a regular basis, and they then showed the French the devastating firepower of the things. I’ve not heard of plague of massacres from the times, outside of military contexts, but then longbows don’t come in semi-automatic configurations AFAIK. I suppose massed archers is the closest equivalent.

              Also worth considering is that in those times the citizenry had to deal with various wild and dangerous animals, to much greater extent than today, so there was a greater justification for being armed.

          • phil
            Posted March 22, 2019 at 12:28 am | Permalink

            It is completely comprehensible. It’s MB’s comment that is silly.

            In Oz we placed restrictions on firearms directly after “the deadliest mass shooting in Australian history.”

            There had been other massacres involving firearms before that (not counting massacres of indigenous people by settlers), but there has been only one mass shooting that I know of in the 22 years since, where a man killed several members of his own family.

            We have not banned butter knives, or Swiss army knives, Leatherman tools, or hunting knives, steak knives, kitchen knives, butchers knives, etc, although people under a certain age (16? 18?) are prohibited from buying knives.

            Apart from police and some security personnel, people here just don’t carry guns, and that’s well and good. People can still own and use guns if they have a legitimate reason, it’s just that they are restricted and need to be registered. Oh and crims possess guns to bump each other off with. We don’t seem to have much in the way of muggings with weapons either.

            The country hasn’t sunk into civil war, we don’t have an authoritarian government (in fact it is likely to fall very soon), and we have a reasonably civil society with a rate of gun death nowhere near that of the US.

            Although the shooter in NZ was Australian he could not have done what he did in Australia, in that he could not have legally obtained or possessed the firearms he had in NZ. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen here with illegally acquired guns, simply that so far at least it hasn’t.

            Don’t get me wrong, I have an abiding fascination with all sorts of firearms, I have used high powered military rifles and automatic weapons, but I have never owned one, do not possess any, and see no need for almost everyone in civil society to do so.

    • phil
      Posted March 22, 2019 at 12:06 am | Permalink

      Like the AR-15.

  7. Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  8. Mark Jones
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    It would be nice if governments could be motivated to ban such destructive weapons before children or Muslims are slaughtered. I guess it takes time for legislation to catch up with technology.

    On his podcast recently, Sam Harris was discussing Nick Bostrom’s Vulnerable World Hypothesis (https://nickbostrom.com/papers/vulnerable.pdf) which suggests we are at some risk of destroying ourselves through some discovery (picking a ‘black ball’ out of an urn) that makes it easy for bad actors to be destructive. It makes a case for more proactive surveillance of technological developments, which is hardly likely to be popular politically.

    I was then idly wondering if a ‘black ball’ has already been picked out – the world wide web, maybe.

  9. Dominic
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    In the UK the Hungerford murders were the first modern such massacre, & as a result automatic weapons were prohibited.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungerford_massacre#Police_response

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Obvs, the Kiwis don’t share our red-blooded American love of freedom … to slaughter as many of our fellow citizens as quickly and lethally as possible.

  11. yazikus
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Perhaps we can have rifles for hunting, but they should be kept under strict control, as they do in the UK.

    And any serious hunter would scoff at the idea of using an AR-15 or something similar for hunting. It is absurd.

    • Brujo Feo
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      “And any serious hunter…”

      Sorry, yazikus, but it’s your unevidenced claim that is absurd. Citations available–LOTS of them. Whatever beef one might have with the AR-15, unsuitability for hunting ain’t one of them.

      • yazikus
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        It will certainly kill an animal, I don’t dispute that. Only the laziest, least skilled ‘hunter’ would choose to use one.

        • Brujo Feo
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

          “Only the laziest, least skilled ‘hunter’ would choose to use one.”

          This is just so meaningless on so many levels that I hardly know where to start. Let me try Pauli: “Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig; es ist nicht einmal falsch!”

          • Posted March 21, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

            Really? I am not a hunter and do not personally know any, and I do not understand hunting except for food or pest control, but isn’t the point of hunting to prove that you can strike the wild animal with one or two precise shots?

            • Brujo Feo
              Posted March 21, 2019 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

              “…with one or two precise shots?”

              Well, I wouldn’t think so; I would think that for most hunters, the idea is to shoot something and then eat it. But I’m no mind-reader, and why speculate?

              So…how is one or two precise shots from an AR-15 different from those same one or two precise shots from any other functionally-IDENTICAL semi-auto? Which is what most hunting rifles are; only when you get into the heaviest calibers for very large or dangerous game do you see weapons largely limited to bolt-actions. (I’m thinking like 8mm Remington Magnum and up.)

              And while you don’t know any hunters, I know plenty. And one consideration is that if your first shot isn’t perfect, you want to be able to get off another without losing your sight picture. The idea is to kill the animal cleanly, not torture it.

              • Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

                You wouldn’t use a functionally identical semi auto though, would you? The AR-15 is an assault rifle designed for killing or suppressing humans at relatively short ranges.

                Let’s be honest: the people who own AR-15s have them because they think they look cool and they can pretend they’re in ‘Nam.

              • Brujo Feo
                Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

                Jeremy Pereira:

                “You wouldn’t use a functionally identical semi auto though, would you?”

                Sure I would. In fact, I’d have to, as I don’t own anything that looks like an AR-15. But that’s all it is, as you contradict yourself by saying in your third sentence: a “look.”

                “The AR-15 is an assault rifle designed for killing or suppressing humans at relatively short ranges.”

                No, it isn’t an assault rifle, although its selective-fire variant, the M-16, is. By any competent definition that I’m aware of. Correct as to the “relatively”; the general military thinking, IIRC, is under 200 meters.

                “Let’s be honest: the people who own AR-15s have them because they think they look cool and they can pretend they’re in ‘Nam.”

                That would be false. The people that I know who own them (I suspect a far greater number than you do)favor them for their light weight, reliability, ease of customization, and parts interchangeability. And let’s be honest: that kind of bigoted statement comes across little different than saying that black people have rhythm and like watermelon. You’ve been watching too much Duck Dynasty.

              • phil
                Posted March 22, 2019 at 12:57 am | Permalink

                Personally I think this distinction between what supposedly is and isn’t an assault rifle is for the most part artificial.

                The AR-15 was designed from the AR-10 SPECIFICALLY to satisfy a requirement for a light assault rifle for the US army. Since then a version has been produced for non-military use which has had the selective fire feature disabled.

                But we now know that the restriction of full automatic fire has been bypassed with the advent of bump stocks and similar devices. Bump stocks may now be illegal but there is almost certainly a large pool of the devices out there, so that restriction has been effectively bypassed for all time and the distinction between the AR-15 and the M16/M4 has significantly dissolved.

                The FN FAL was produced in semi- and full auto versions, and AFAIK significant modifications were needed to make the L1A1 into a full auto L2A1. But AFAIK nobody seems to have thought it would be a good idea to make the FAL without selective fire available to the general public.

              • Posted March 24, 2019 at 11:35 am | Permalink

                @Brujo

                Yeah, actually no. The AR-15 is most definitely an assault rifle. It was designed as an assault rifle, it fires an intermediate cartridge and it is magazine fed. Yes, it doesn’t have full auto, so I suppose we can be grateful for that.

                That would be false. The people that I know who own them (I suspect a far greater number than you do)favor them for their light weight, reliability, ease of customization, and parts interchangeability

                So there are no hunting or target rifles that have been designed in the last 60 years that aren’t better?

                And let’s be honest: that kind of bigoted statement comes across little different than saying that black people have rhythm and like watermelon

                Nobody chooses to be black. The people who own AR-15s definitely chose them over other more suitable weapons.

                And you know what. I don’t have any issue with anybody who wants to pretend they are in Vietnam. If you want to play soldiers, that’s fine by me. In fact, I understand that desire more than I understand the desire of anybody to go hunting for sport with a rifle instead of a camera. I love watching the youtube videos from channels like Forgotten Weapons and C&Rsenal but the problem is that allowing people to freely own small arms has a cost in human lives

    • max blancke
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      Feral hogs are a big problem in a lot of rural places. They are hunted almost exclusively with Ar-type guns.
      Most ranchers in my area have at least one of them in their truck at all times. Not because they are specially lethal, which they are not. It is because they are super rugged, and reliable. If you have it banging around in your tool box for a couple of months, then need it badly, it is going to work just fine.

      If you go to our local public range, probably 80% of people are practicing with AR-style rifles. Pretty much everyone here is a hunter or rancher or both, and we have zero gun violence.

      • Stuart A Milc
        Posted March 22, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        AR’s and “AR-style” firearms are just fine for hunting and the range of calibers available means that you can use them on pretty much any game in North America. People who say stuff like “…any serious hunter would scoff…” are just uniformed. And you can make it whatever you want it to be: a short range bush gun or a long-distance flat shooter. The possibilities are endless – that’s why it’s such an effective platform.

        • yazikus
          Posted March 22, 2019 at 11:34 am | Permalink

          I think we can agree there are hunters, and there are ‘hunters’. The ones I know who prefer the AR-style weapons for hunting also enjoy riding around on their ATVs killing as many coyotes as they can. More often than not, they’ll leave their keystone light cans where they drink them. The ‘serious hunters’ I refer to are just that, serious. They tend to be conservation minded, considerate and skilled marksmen. Whether your personal anecdata agrees with mine does not make one of us uninformed.

      • yazikus
        Posted March 22, 2019 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        And I know folks who have hunted those feral hogs with grenades. That doesn’t make a grenade a reasonable hunting choice of weapon. I come from ranchers, I have spent the largest single majority of my life in rural america. I have guns. I get the appeal of a handy AR-15, but I maintain it is more of a vanity/convenience choice than anything else. Other non-AR style rifles are just as rugged and reliable. I do go to my local range, as well, and the majority of folks are not practicing with AR-style rifles.

        • Stuart A Milc
          Posted March 22, 2019 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

          Good for you. Again, an AR in its numerous configurations can be a great hunting firearm. For the Fudds out there who must have fine walnut furniture on their guns to go along with their deerstalker caps and tweed coats you can have that on your AR as well.

          • yazikus
            Posted March 23, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

            Hey now, my hunting hat resembles that remark.

  12. yazikus
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    In my free time, I volunteer at a public building that is open-carry. I happened upon a 51st State rally recently and naturally it was attended by a handful of rifle-toting asshats ‘patriots’ (I couldn’t see the speaker due to their excessive gun-packing – sticking out of every orifice it seemed). These folks are not responsible gun owners, I would wager, by and large. Conceal carry people give me far fewer qualms. They’ve done their training, certification, etc. They don’t go around trying to intimidate with their killing machines. I don’t know how we are going to get people to understand the stupidity of clinging to their assault weapons.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      A 51st state rally? I’m guessing not for Puerto Rico. I find they also cling to their bibles.

      • yazikus
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        Our intrepid, would be secessionist Representative Matt Shea would like to lop off the eastern halves of Oregon and WA to create his libertarian, gun-toting, bible-warring paradise of the state of Liberty.

        • Posted March 22, 2019 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

          LOL. I live in the future State of Jefferson.

          P.S. I concur with your profile of CC vs. OC types.

          • yazikus
            Posted March 22, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

            My favorite part of the rally was when Shea had to pass by me to exit the Rotunda – he was telling his aide that he was rather disappointed he didn’t get a standing ovation at the end. He was sure his final joke should have done it. Poor fella.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:26 am | Permalink

        Canadians visiting the US find it a very odd site to see people carrying firearms. It’s odd to us to think you need to bring a side arm into Walmart.

        • David Harper
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

          And when you bring your gun into a Walmart, it sometimes ends very, very badly:

          https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/dec/31/idaho-nuclear-scientist-shot-dead-son-walmart

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

            I remember reading about that. Tragic and the thought that she was carrying a loaded weapon like that, casually, in her purse!

            • claudia baker
              Posted March 21, 2019 at 11:58 am | Permalink

              Even the notion of “open carry” is so ridiculous to me as a Canadian. “Conceal carry” is not much better. Why does a young woman, with a toddler, need a loaded gun in her purse while going shopping at Walmart ffs? I’m afraid I don’t feel much pity at all. Such stupidity. If your country is to dangerous that everyone needs to be “packing”, it’s time to re-think your country’s values and morals.

              • Posted March 21, 2019 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

                +1

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted March 21, 2019 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

                To think I’ve wandered in American Walmarts unarmed….so dangerous!

              • Richard
                Posted March 21, 2019 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

                As Bill Maher said on the subject of “open carry”: “You’re going to Home Depot to buy a new toilet seat. It’s not as though you’re going to meet armed resistance.”

  13. Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    We should ban all semi-automatic weapons.
    Damage that results from their ownership far outweighs any reason to own them.

  14. Simon Hayward
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I’d have been less keen to see Trevor the duck repatriated to NZ if I’t know he could then be hunted with a semi-automatic :/

    • Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Well, Trevor was killed by a d*g, so the hunters didn’t get a crack at him.

  15. Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    I don’t see the prevalence of guns as being the primary factor of the enormous problem in the US, but rather the abject failure to enact reasonable laws and rules about gun ownership and proficiency as in Switzerland. https://www.businessinsider.com/switzerland-gun-laws-rates-of-gun-deaths-2018-2#most-people-arent-allowed-to-carry-their-guns-around-in-switzerland-12

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      Yes. The argument that “guns don’t kill people, bad people do” would have more force if the likes of the NRA were prepared to support means of identifying bad people before they were allowed to buy guns.

      • Posted March 21, 2019 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

        Agreed. Here in Colorado there will likely be a “red flag” law that allows judges to sign an order removing guns from dangerous people. Numerous county sheriffs have already declared that they will not enforce the law and will tout being a gun sanctuary county.

  16. rickflick
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    In many ways, New Zealand is a model for the world. It’s government and governmental procedures and traditions work effectively. So many other countries could benefit by imitation.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      OK. but can I pass when it comes to those Orcs that the Kiwis have there? And also those annoyingly smug Hobbits?

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        Not to mention the Vegemite.

        • rickflick
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:48 am | Permalink

          I ate one once. They’re so hard to catch.

          • Richard
            Posted March 21, 2019 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

            Not if you switch to full auto.

      • rickflick
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        Right. Well, there are limits.

    • Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      Yes, but why did it take a massacre of fifty people to enact these gun controls?

      It’s the same everywhere (well, in some places). In Britain, for example, we banned most semi automatic rifles in 1988 but only after a massacre. We banned most handguns in 1997 but only after a massacre.

      Personally I think it’s a shame that countries seem to come up with these reactions in response to disasters. It would be much better to institute reasonable controls without having to have a massacre first.

      • Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        Partially answering my own question:

        I’ve just looked up the statistics on gun deaths and New Zealand didn’t really have a fire arms problem before the massacre. Its fire arms death rate is only about five times that of the UK despite having ten times as many guns per inhabitant.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

          “Its fire arms death rate is only about five times that of the UK”

          I do like the ‘only’ 😎

          Probably a large percentage of those are hunting accidents. (41 fatal hunting accidents between 2007 & 2016; 22 of those were firearms).

          cr

          • Posted March 22, 2019 at 7:22 am | Permalink

            I said “only” because I was extrapolating from the rate of gun ownership.

            Also, although NZ has five times the rate of deaths of the UK, it’s still pretty low in the international league table of deaths.

            Most of the firearms deaths in NZ are suicides

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        Politics. It’s hard to legislate something this imposing unless there’s a clear reason that’s right in front of people’s faces.

        (In USA it’s so far impossible to impose needed change, even though the reasons are right in front of our faces every month or so.)

        • Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

          It’s hard to legislate something this imposing unless there’s a clear reason that’s right in front of people’s faces.

          I think I’d have to agree with that.

      • rickflick
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

        It’s the same in an area like mine safety as well. If a cave caves in and a hundred or so men are lost, it’s time to legislate some mine safety. Great city fires always lead to new building codes, etc.

  17. First Amendment Safe Space
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I don’t think Jerry knows what a semi-automatic weapon is..

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Yeah – I knew one of you types would pop up. It happens every bloody time. I attempted to cut you off at the pass with my little essay further up.

      So tell me – how does your comment make the World better? And what’s the point of it in the context of NZ?

    • Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Hey, you rude and ignorant person, I’ve made it clear before that I know what a semiautomatic weapon is. Here: it’s a weapon that fires a bullet each time you pull the trigger AND puts a round in the chamber automatically about that.

      An automatic weapon continues to fire as long as you have the trigger pulled.

      You want to apologize now?

      By the way, the website that is linked to your name is anonymous. According to the Roolz you can’t do that; you have to have some link there to your real name. But of course people like you wouldn’t do that; you hide behind your anonymity. I have removed the link from your name.

      • rickflick
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        I doubt First knows what an apology is.

  18. Mike Anderson
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Consider why the USA can’t make progress on this issue when every other developed country in the world can: money in politics.

    The gun lobby is powerful enough to control a significant portion of the government. With enough money one can stop almost any kind of legislative change no matter how much the citizenry wants it to happen.

    The USA will never make progress on this issue until the general power of special interests is brought under control.

    • Adam M.
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      Yeah. Or enact almost any legislative change no matter how much the citizenry doesn’t want it.

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        Since so many people still want to own guns I limit my arguments to opposing semi autos.

        I’m for a less intrusive step of limiting magazine size. Maybe an 8 round limit, equal to a big revolver. Maybe a 5 round limit for long guns.

        And even lower fruit: require background checks and register single every gun sale/transfer. Every. Single. One.

        • Mike Anderson
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

          Oops. responded to wrong post.

    • Posted March 21, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      At least a sixty per cent majority of people in the US still favor gun ownership. With that stat banning guns out right is pretty far off.

      More than mighty per cent favor more strict control and background checks.

      Since so many people still want to own guns I limit my arguments to opposing semi autos. We have banned machine guns, sawed off shotguns and other weapons so there is precedent for banning types of guns.

      I think public opinion will continue to more in opposition to gun ownership and guns will eventually be banned but we are several decades or more away from that.

      • Posted March 21, 2019 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        ninety per cent

        not mighty per cent

        • rickflick
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

          The mighty ninety!

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        Since so many people still want to own guns I limit my arguments to opposing semi autos.

        I’m for a less intrusive step of limiting magazine size. Maybe an 8 round limit, equal to a big revolver. Maybe a 5 round limit for long guns.

        And even lower fruit: require background checks and register single every gun sale/transfer. Every. Single. One.

        • Rita Prangle
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

          I would add a test of competency with firearms, including knowledge use, care and storage, along with demonstrated ability to hit a target from a reasonable distance. As for the inevitable question of “who decides what that means?”, I think gun owners need to wise up and join a sensible dialogue about it. Otherwise, at some point, the rules and regulation details WILL be imposed by politicians who may not be so knowledgeable.

          • Mike Anderson
            Posted March 21, 2019 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

            Agree. We put similar requirements on driving cars, it’s nonsensical to not require such safeguards on gun ownership and operation.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted March 21, 2019 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

            Part of the issue in the US is the rules vary from state to state. Some states do require competency tests as you describe, some do not.

  19. Adam M.
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    At least they’re direct and mostly honest about it, although maybe that’s because the New Zealand people aren’t getting a say in the matter. Regardless of how much I’d support a bill, I just can’t stand when it’s pitched to voters in a dishonest way.

    For example, I1693 here in Washington state targeted “assault weapons”, specifically “assault rifles” or what they called a “semi-automatic assault rifle”. The official argument said “Assault weapons are not designed for hunting… they are military-grade weapons designed to kill large numbers of people.” and you could hear lots of people repeat the argument, saying “It doesn’t target hunting rifles or anything like that! Just assault rifles!”

    The thing is, if you read the text of the bill, a “semi-automatic assault rifle” is defined as a semi-automatic rifle. The word “assault” has no meaning at all, and was apparently inserted just to deceive or scare voters. The bill applies to all semi-automatic rifles, including nearly all target-shooting rifles, and all auto-loading hunting rifles (most of which have very small magazines), which are not “military-grade weapons designed to kill large numbers of people”.

    On the other side, the opponents claimed the bill would “leave people defenseless” when the proposed restrictions weren’t nearly so onerous.

    Anyone who wants to restrict “assault” weapons should have to define an “assault” weapon and say how it differs from a non-“assault” weapon. On rare occasions this is done in a reasonable way, by pointing to certain features like vertical foregrips, flash suppressors, collimating sights, and the like. But usually the word “assault” is devoid of meaning and intended to scare or deceive people.

    That said, I can’t find much to disagree with in Jerry’s post. I just wish there was more honesty in the wider debate.

    • rickflick
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      If honesty has been lost it went out the window with votes purchased by the gun manufacturers.

      • Adam M.
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        I’d say that’s a different layer to the problem, but I agree with you. That politicians are so easily and frequently bribed into acting against the greater good and the wishes of the public is very frustrating.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      People will put whatever terminology on it to make them feel good or happy. All semi-automatic rifles should be band, in other words, are not needed by the general public. But the ones such as the looks/like AK47 or M-15 type weapons are made and presented to be like the military models that operate both semi and full auto. They have large magazines holding 30 or more cartridges. No one outside the military or law enforcement should have these.

      Hunting rifles, where they are used can be bolt action or pump and hold fewer shells. Many are single shot. Most hunting only allows one shot so why would you carry something around all day with 15 or 30 rounds? It is heavy and stupid.

      The vast majority of hunting is done with a much safer gun called a shotgun. People should not need to be told these are much safer guns for hunting but, there are many stupid people out there. Finally, I would get rid of the hand guns because they are most dangerous of all and kill the most people.

      The fight in Conn. where the Sandy Hook slaughter happened has some good news now. They have won in court to overturn the law put in place while Bush was president that made manufacturers immune from prosecution. They will now likely be taking Remington to court on their gun that was used to kill all of those kids. It will probably be a civil law suit for lots of money.

      • Brujo Feo
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        “No one outside the military or law enforcement should have these.”

        Mr. Schenck, what is your rationale for giving these weapons to police…or even the military? https://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM

        And what sort of shotgun would you recommend for elk or caribou?

        • Posted March 21, 2019 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

          Twelve gauge. And it would be more sporting because the hunter would have to get much closer to the target.

    • Brujo Feo
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      “On rare occasions this is done in a reasonable way…”

      I can’t go quite that far. I am unaware of any definition of “assault rifle” (the term “assault weapon” being relatively unknown) by any military anywhere that uses the term for any weapon lacking selective-fire capability. (Meaning that an auto-only configuration couldn’t be an assault rifle either; it would be a machine gun.) https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-definition-of-assault-rifle

      If people want to ban semi-auto rifles, they should just say so. Not by pretending that they’re “assault rifles.” (And enough of the “no one wants to take away your guns” nonsense. Of course they do–just ask them.)

      • Rita Prangle
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        Since a majority of Americans DO favor private gun ownership, but do also favor sane gun controls, your argument that “people” want to take away your guns is irrelevant, because that is a minority opinion. Furthermore, consider that if we enacted sane gun controls that would decrease the levels of gun violence, that minority would shrink.

        • Brujo Feo
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

          “…irrelevant, because that is a minority opinion.”

          I’m sorry, are you saying that minority opinions (about *anything*)can be safely ignored? Need I remind you that our current idiot thug-in-chief was elected by a minority of voters?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      “At least they’re direct and mostly honest about it, although maybe that’s because the New Zealand people aren’t getting a say in the matter. Regardless of how much I’d support a bill, I just can’t stand when it’s pitched to voters in a dishonest way.”

      If they held a referendum right now, what do you suppose the result would be?

      The Opposition (the National Party) are fully in support. So the legislation will pass in Parliament.

      The National Party likes to think of it as the representatives of farming folk and in this instance both Federated Farmers and Fish & Game NZ are in support.

      That’s a much ‘say’ as ‘the people’ normally get, in any country.

      cr

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        Also, if it was so radical and not wanted, the opposition could make a big stink about it and if taken to the extreme there always the option of non confidence votes and forced elections.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

          The Opposition (National Party) has realised that, on this issue, they would end up way on the wrong side of public opinion. They support the proposed measures.

          The National Party, to do them credit, realises that there is no percentage in nit-picking this. And, to do them justice, I don’t think they want to. They like to think they represent most farmers (and they’re probably right), but the exemptions to the ban for .22 rabbit rifles and 5-shot shotguns mean that most farmers are not unduly affected by the ban.

          There may also be, further down the track, more measures taken, probably along the lines of more serious scrutiny of gun-owners licences, registration of firearms and recording of sales (which we don’t have now). Again, most farmers can live with that.

          cr

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

            I see I repeated myself. Sorry. 8(

            cr

  20. Jimbo
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    This is mythology. All rifles can kill humans. A typical “deer rifle” is equally lethal to one designed for military combat. High-capacity clips and a semi-automatic action can improve the rate of killing but the intended design and use of a weapon when it was built borders on semantics.

    Should all pistols be banned? Very few hunt with them.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Good point.

      Pistols are banned, in NZ.

      Next?

      cr

      • Jimbo
        Posted March 22, 2019 at 3:48 am | Permalink

        I honestly didn’t know.

        This would never fly in the US.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted March 22, 2019 at 4:10 am | Permalink

          In the US in it’s current state, agreed.

          In NZ the law used to be that a suitably licensed person could own a pistol, used only for sporting purposes, at a shooting range where it had to be kept. i.e. no carrying it around.

          Carrying of pistols for e.g. bodyguard purposes was, I believe, theoretically possible (with suitable licences) but extremely difficult to get the licences and extremely rare.

          That’s what I understood last time I heard of it, some years ago. It’s probably still broadly the same.

          cr

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted March 22, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

            Same as in Canada. A hand gun is restricted but not prohibited. You need a restricted licence for them, a registration, and an authorization to transport.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted March 22, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

              And some hand guns are prohibited…depends on the hand gun.

          • Jimbo
            Posted March 22, 2019 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

            Thanks for the measured replies. In the US, “assault weapons” and political movements to ban them miss the point and wouldn’t change much. While the killing of innocents by psychos using military rifles has been horrific and conspicuous here, gun violence and death are essentially the problem of handguns.

            I find it unconscionable that handgun manufacturers have done virtually nothing to improve their safety which would reduce accidental (though obviously not intentional) shootings. The gun debate tends to reduce to a city vs country issue in the US though I don’t know for other countries.

  21. eric
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    The Supreme Court has interpreted our Second Amendment, designed to enable militias to defend themselves against tyranny, as giving private citizens a right to own guns.

    I think the interpretation of the 2nd amendment as supporting an individual right to own guns is both a natural one and a common use one…however, this does not prevent the US from doing exactly what NZ did. Revolvers are arms. Shotguns are most certainly arms. Single-action rifles are arms. So if you ban semi-automatic long arms – heck, even if you banned semi-automatic handguns along with them – you’d still be: (1) allowing people to bear arms, (2) allowing people effective weapons for home defense, (3) allowing guns used commonly for hunting, and (4) allowing people access to the sorts of weapons they need to train with to be effective militia members.

    IMO the second amendment poses no barrier to reasonable gun control laws. The US’ problem is about corporate campaign donations undermining political will to tackle a problem the majority of citizens want tackled.

    • Posted March 21, 2019 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      That and the Supreme Court. How the court would rule on a law to ban semi automatic weapons is at this point unknown.

      Getting such s law passed through congress is largely depdnt on campaign contributions by corporations.

      But my guess is that more than fifty per cent of the population would favor s ban on semi automatic weapons at this time. I think that will change in a few years to a minority.

      • Posted March 21, 2019 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        would not favor a ban on semi automatic wespons.

      • eric
        Posted March 22, 2019 at 6:25 am | Permalink

        All semi-automatics might be too broad and a historical reach. After all, we’ve had semi-auto pistols since before WWI. They’re almost 19th century technology.

        Personally I think the main issue comes from the combination of semi-auto and long barrel, which gives people a rapid fire capability with long range accuracy. Sure, that’s a great capability for war-fighting. Not so much needed for home defense when our homes have end-to-end distances of 30 feet, and not so much needed for sport hunting where hunters strive for single-shot kills. So personally, I’d be fine with a first step being to control semi-auto long arms as well as large magazines, and leave the Colt 1911 alone. It’s not the complete gun elimination many liberals want, but I think getting rid of fast action long arms is a sort of Pareto solution (i.e. it eliminates the 20% of arms that cause 80% of the problem).
        That’s just my opinion though, I’m perfectly happy to admit that this is an issue on which reasonable people may disagree.

  22. Derek Freyberg
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    As I read the new regulations, when read together with the older regulations, self-loading rifles (greater than .22 caliber) with a detachable magazine are now classified as military-style semi-automatic arms (MSSAs). Under the old regs, with an ordinary firearms license (A license), one could buy a self-loading rifle with a detachable magazine provided that it did not have certain other features that caused it to be classified as an MSSA; and with an E license (more difficult to obtain, requires a showing of need), one could buy an MSSA. What seems to have happened is that essentially all self-loading rifles with detachable magazines have now become reclassified as MSSAs, and people who hold only an A license can no longer legally own them. But there is not, as far as I can see, a ban on MSSAs as such, or on self-loading rifles as such. That may yet come – but I think there may remain a way for professional hunters (for example, of the feral deer, goats, and pigs that New Zealand used to pay people to kill when I was young) to retain them for that use. And large-capacity magazines may well be banned (just as they are in California!).

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      That is correct.

      It will take ~3 weeks to pass an Act banning MSSA’s, high-capacity magazines and ‘conversion kits’, etc.

      In the meantime, apparently, people with an E license can legally buy one, but (from what I gather) some Police paperwork and approval is currently needed to do so and, as the PM said, don’t bother applying.

      (Note the mosque-shooting guns were currently-legal A-classification which had been illegally modified to E).

      Also, exceptions will be allowed in specific circumstances for organisations such as DOC (Department of Conservation) BUT they will be tightly controlled.

      (This is what I gathered from the PM’s speech).

      cr

      • Derek Freyberg
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        Glad to have confirmation – it seems that announcements of an immediate ban (widely publicized in various on-line news sources) were premature/exaggeration. And I guess the ban on high-capacity magazines and the like simply could not be done by Order in Council, whereas the reclassification could be.
        I don’t recall any self-loading rifles being available in NZ when I was growing up (1960s) – this phenomenon of M16-like weapons seems recent. And I was amazed at a picture from a recent Christchurch gun show (in one of the articles following the recent incident) showing a table with “accessories” for the M16, like fore-end handgrips, so it could be held like a submachinegun. Those are not hunters’ tools.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted March 22, 2019 at 1:06 am | Permalink

          Well, the ban is de facto immediate, or as immediate as they can make it. The law will take about 3 weeks to change under ‘urgency’ but Cabinet can declare specific weapons to be ‘restricted weapons’ by regulation and I think they have just done that.

          ‘Restricted weapons’ require a police permit to be bought and sold and until after the law change, the police won’t be issuing any.

          Holders of weapons which become illegal will be given reasonable time to surrender them to police, and a ‘buy-back’ scheme will operate.

          cr

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted March 22, 2019 at 1:07 am | Permalink

            Oh, and the reason for making the ban immediate was to pre-empt people ‘stocking up’ on such weapons.

            cr

  23. Stuart A Milc
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    I find it interesting that New Zealand moved so quickly to ban semi-autos. Not shocked but a bit surprised. I mean, semi-autos have been around for about 120 years and I’m guessing New Zealanders have had them all of that time. And yet despite that relatively peaceful 120-year history this is their first move after the massacre. I’m curious to see what kind of pushback there is if any.

  24. Posted March 21, 2019 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    I perceive a legitimate use for semi automatics in NZ.
    There has been a small industry involved in pest control in the S Island high country ans mountainous areas. It involves culling wild deer and tahr using helicopters.
    Animals are targeted from moving helicopters and fast reloading rates are likely required for fast efficient kills.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 22, 2019 at 1:11 am | Permalink

      Semi-autos up to .22 rimfire, 10 shot, will be exempt from the ban.

      In heavier calibres, an exemption will be possible for organisations such as DoC (Department of Conservation), for specific purposes, but it will be very tightly controlled.

      cr

  25. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Moreover:

    – After the Bataclan terrorist attack in France, the EU commission decided and started to implement a weapons directive 2017-2018 [ http://www.ostrasmaland.se/debatt/nya-vapendirektiv-som-ar-onodigt-strikta/ ]

    – After the Utöya terrorist attack in Norway, Norway decided to ban semi-automatic weapons with strike potential 2018 [ https://svenskjakt.se/start/nyhet/norskt-forbud-mot-halvautomater/ ].

  26. phil
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    Haven’t read all the comments yet (and there are many of them).

    “As the L.A. Times reported, in 2012 the number of defensive “justifiable homicides” using all firearms was 259, less than half of the “fatal unintentional shootings,” which numbered 548.”

    I’m not sure that’s the right comparison. They should compare the number of occasions when an armed victim prevented a crime against the number of times they didn’t.

    I have frequently heard (but can cite no source) that a firearm is more likely to be taken and used by the perpetrator against the victim than prevents a crime.

    Whatever, the numbers of “justifiable homicides” and “fatal unintentional shootings” are insignificant compared to the many thousands also killed. In Australia’s experience one of the most significant effects of gun control was the reduction in gun suicides. We’ve had only one mass shooting in the decades since Port Arthur too.

    “Low calibre .22 semi-automatic firearms used mainly for pest control and duck hunting will be exempt.”

    I find that a bit odd since the AR-15 would fit that description. Simply specifying the calibre of the bullet is not enough, you also need to control or restrict the size of the cartridge behind it. Also, I presume there is a fair pool of bump stocks for AR-15s out in society.

    Well, whoever said it was easy, but difficulty shouldn’t be an excuse for not making an effort.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 22, 2019 at 12:18 am | Permalink

      Low calibre .22 semi-automatic firearms used mainly for pest control and duck hunting will be exempt…I find that a bit odd since the AR-15 would fit that description. Simply specifying the calibre of the bullet is not enough, you also need to control or restrict the size of the cartridge behind it…

      The deal is rimfire acceptable & centrefire not acceptable. .22 & smaller – max capacity magazine of 10.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 22, 2019 at 12:49 am | Permalink

        Also that quote in the report was condensed and ended up misleading. The original speech mentioned (IIRC) that small .22’s and 5-shot shotguns will be exempt, hence the duck hunting reference.

        cr

  27. phoffman56
    Posted March 22, 2019 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    “But we know that self-protection using handguns costs fewer lives than the accidental deaths caused by owning those guns.”

    Did you not intend to say something like the following?

    ‘But we know that the putative lack of self-protection caused by banning the use of handguns costs fewer lives than the accidental deaths caused by owning those guns.’

    The original version at the top is confusing to me: It sounds like:

    ‘But we know that x costs fewer lives than x.’

    with the same x both times of course.

    And those additional deaths include not only accidental ones.

  28. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 22, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    An article about why the US can’t do what NZ did with the firearm restriction appears on CBC this morning.


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