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An old man with a slug gun

  • March 20th, 2009

 My respect for Gary McCormick increased during his Panel session yesterday with Jim Mora, after he confided his doubts about his earlier campaigning with Philip Alpers against firearm ownership.

The Panel ended up wondering what should be done to restore the right of old people, women, indeed anyone weaker than the hunks of meat who may threaten them, to defend themselves with anything more than the feeble hands and protests.

I’ve spent a lot of time worrying about exactly that issue (use the search function on this blogsite with "self defence") but I  did not have time to outline some of the solutions I’ve worked on.

The Crimes Act protects our ancient rights to defend ourselves, albeit muddled by 1980s changes that removed the defence of provocation. The Arms Act 1983, however, gives the Police a chance to subvert the intent of the Crimes Act.

There is a Bill to amend the Arms Act in the current Parliament’s backlog. I prepared amendments to the amendment bill, to include  the Crimes Act defences in the Arms Act. They await a Select Committee report back.

Those particular suggestions flowed from the case of Northland farmer Paul McIntyre. He was acquitted on a Crimes Act charge after shooting at a group brazenly stealing his quad bike after he’d warned them, but the same reasoning would not work in relation to Arms Act charges. 

My amending Supplementary Order Paper would protect acts of self-defence as follows:
·         By requiring the Attorney General’s permission before the police pursue a prosecution, where self defence is an issue. This is a common statutory device used to protect against the overuse of broad charges.
·         By requiring the Courts to consider the effect on trying to deter criminals if victims are convicted.
·         By requiring the Courts to recognise the impracticality of "not taking the law into your own hands" when there are no other hands to take it. (i.e. distance to neighbours and nearest “manned” police station)
·         By requiring the Courts to award legal costs to victims who successfully raise their defence, so they are not punished by the costs even when they are innocent.
The main change would be to the rule that condemns us to cower in the face of thugs, when they should be scared of the innocent majority.
My amendments would reinstate proper purpose for having a weapon as a legal defence. For example, a farmer charged with presenting a firearm after taking a shot gun to investigate noises in his quad bike shed, could advance in defence his fear of being bashed, or recent neighbourhood experience of thieves carrying on despite warnings, and disappearing with quad bikes long before any police could even be contacted, let alone attend.
This would not justify a disproportionate use of the weapon, but it would justify being able to show the offenders that the crime victim could defeat them if necessary.
That is the key restoration needed. We are most likely to be condemned to fight, as a country and as individuals, when it is not clear that bullying will be met with overwhelming retaliation. The worst times in which to live are when there is no clear consequence for aggression, when hostile parties are uncertain about their relative strength, when there may be relative equality, or worse, a power vacuum.
Defence is least used when the likely outcome is clear.

 

Comments

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  • Chuck Bird
  • March 20th, 2009
  • 10:33 am

Sounds very sensible and balanced. No one should have the right to assault some one with a weapon because someone is stealing or damaging their property. However,one should have the right to present a weapon if they suspect their property is being stolen or damaged if the intention is to defend themselves if attacked but not for purposes of retribution.

[…] Zen Trucking added an interesting post today on An old man with a slug gunHere’s a small readingBy requiring the Courts to consider the effect on trying to deter criminals if victims are convicted. […]

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I am not prepared to shag around these discussions much anymore Stephen, I keep defensive weapons, its not an attitude of “make my day punk” , just an attitude of being like the boy scout being prepared,

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  • George
  • March 23rd, 2009
  • 11:19 am

The way our law stands at present it is an affront to civilisation. Western society stands largely on two pillars, the Judaic code[and hence the Christian] and the Greek.
They, including Roman Republic, included the right to self defence as part of the law. If the bearing of arms is legal, then consideration must turn to the intent on bearing them. If you have [as we do now] an increasing amount of armed and violent robbery and home invasion it can be reasonably presumed the criminal in your home is malevolent and predisposed to harming you and yours, [as well as robbing you.] Removing the threat with the aid of a legally owned weapon is reasonable and just.

Our present law cockily arraigns itself against the bible, the Talmud, Aristotle, Cicero, Aquinas, The Enlightenment, common sense and natural justice.

To what purpose?

“As of oligarchy so of tyranny…Both mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of their arms.” Aristotle, Politics, book 5, part x, 350 BC.

For me, the simple sentence in Exodus 22.v 2
says it all.

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  • James
  • March 24th, 2009
  • 11:42 am

The right to life contains within it the corollary right to defend it and remain alive.To posses the means to defense is a logical abstraction from that….and you do not require anyones permission to do so.

We have a State to protect pre existing natural rights….we don’t have rights by virtue of having a State.And a State should never be able to tell peaceful people what they may own.

[…] REFLECTIONS placed an observative post today on An old man with a slug gunHere’s a quick excerptMy amending Supplementary Order Paper would protect acts of self-defence as follows: […]

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