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Tim Dower: Is owning a gun a right or a privilege?

Tim Dower,
Publish Date
Fri, 23 Jun 2023, 8:52am
Photo / Getty Images
Photo / Getty Images

Tim Dower: Is owning a gun a right or a privilege?

Tim Dower,
Publish Date
Fri, 23 Jun 2023, 8:52am

Hard to believe it's taken so long to get this new firearms register up and running.

Then again - it's a government IT project and we all know there's a well-established track record of these things going way past deadline and of course way over budget.

On top of that, it's likely to be clunky, overly complicated and not very well thought out so don't be at all surprised if it needs a multi-million dollar overhaul within the first couple of years.

And don't be surprised either if it has no impact on the rampant crime wave we're enduring.

Police themselves say there's been a marked increase of guns being used for criminal activity.

That's in spite of the fortune we spent on gun buybacks, after the Christchurch mosque attacks.

And they say a lot of the weapons they're seizing these days are being traced back to legal buyers.

Some get stolen in burglaries, but some have also been on-sold to people who simply shouldn't have them.

So, the logic for collecting all this information on legally licensed gun owners and the weapons they're holding is that some of these weapons end up in the wrong hands.

The Council of Licensed Firearm Owners doesn't like it; they say legitimate owners are being singled out for police failures.

I see their point, but maybe because licensed owners are mostly legitimate owners with legitimate intent - maybe they've lost sight of the potential carnage a gun can be used to inflict.

So, while those owners say they're being scapegoated, do they not have a major part to play in making sure these weapons don't get into the wrong hands?

Is owning a gun a right or a privilege? Like driving, I'd say it's a privilege.

A privilege some people shouldn't have.

So, on the face of it, keeping good records of what weapons we have, who has them, and where they are, has to make sense.

All we can hope is that the people who've built it haven't ballsed it up and that police use the information they get from it to come down hard on people who shouldn't have guns.

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