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Andrew Dickens: If you want to get tough on crime, you have to get tough on gun ownership

Publish Date
Mon, 10 Jun 2024, 1:28pm
(Photo / Newstalk ZB)
(Photo / Newstalk ZB)

Andrew Dickens: If you want to get tough on crime, you have to get tough on gun ownership

Publish Date
Mon, 10 Jun 2024, 1:28pm

I presume the lead story in the Herald on Sunday was welcomed by police and those behind our stronger gun laws.  

An Auckland pensioner and his daughter have been caught for legally buying 13 guns for the Comancheros motorcycle gang.  

It's the latest of dozens of discoveries by police of licensed gun owners buying for gangs who cannot legally purchase guns.  

It was validation of good old-fashioned police work. Over the past 4 years the police have analysed more than 350,000 sales records looking for suspicious patterns of spending.   

They then correlate the purchases with the records of gun owners, and they discover the gang's straw buyers.  

But to me, it also validates the strengthening of the laws back in 2019 after the Christchurch mosque massacre.  

That saw the banning of military-style semi-automatics, stricter rules on the “fit and proper” test to hold a license, the establishment of a gun registry, and a set of rules designed to ensure gun clubs and ranges are safe places.  

At the time, gun owners made out that the laws criminalised legal gun owners which was a massive over-exaggeration.  It criminalised a type of gun only. A type of gun that non MSSA owners find intimidating and unnecessary. A gun that turns any idiot into a killing machine as long as they can handle the recoil.  

And the new rules also told the citizens of New Zealand that ownership of a gun is not a right but a privilege that must be earned.    

But they also say that once it's earnt there's no problem at all as long as it's not a military-style automatic.  

And slowly it's beginning to make sense to even the law's hardest detractors.  

Act campaigned on a full repeal of the legislation and the minister in charge is Act's Nicole Mckee  

She is also the former spokesperson for the council of licensed firearms owners.  

She was also interviewed in the paper yesterday where she said gun owners hoping for a rollback will be disappointed.  

Act campaigned on greater access to MSSAs and scrapping the gun registry, but these didn’t make it into coalition agreements.  

Instead, the National-Act agreement committed to repealing the regulations around gun clubs and shooting ranges - which Mckee has now backed off from doing completely - a review of the registry and a rewrite of the arms act.  

But, at the moment, the laws are being seen to work.  And here's the rub.  If you support getting tough on crime then you must also support getting tough on gun ownership. 


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