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Firearms law changes – Royal Commission

  • November 13th, 2019

I am not surprised the Royal Commission into the Mosque attacks needs an extension of its report date. In April I posted on its terms of reference.  There is a great need for careful reflective investigation independent of a Police force that has become nakedly engaged in political advocacy.

The Commission’s work is vital – we should all want an evidence based disciplined report. How a free society deals with the terrorism threat is serious everywhere. If the Commission can give us a report that counters current political temptations to whip up the fever, it should have all the time it needs.

Many societies have been blighted, and ultimately undone, by leadership willing to exploit tragedies and panics and attacks, to distract their people. Among the oldest political tricks is to foment hatreds of minorities, to promote fears of ‘the enemy within’.

All societies are vulnerable to such unprincipled tactics. Here is a fascinating NYT account of how vulnerable the US was to that 100 years ago. Eventually Oliver Wendell Holmes was brave judge enough to reverse himself on the Supreme Court. He realized how important free speech was to dealing with that dangerous political climate.

The extension of the Royal Commission reporting date is an opportunity for MPs with courage – perhaps NZ First. Better still would be Labour MPs  taking steps to reserve judgment on the current Arms Legislation Amendment Bill until the Royal Commission has reported. Parliament needs to ‘breath through its nose”. It must suspend the cynical Police campaign that emerged in April. It is generating the ugly flower that has never before found fertile soil here – to root in antipathies over firearms law that so disfigure US partisan politics.

Prime Minister Ardern showed a superb sense of what was needed for the Muslim members of our society immediately after the attacks. She recreated grounds for trust. Sadly the need to be seen to do more was then hijacked with a pre-prepared Police strategy to arm themselves and to marginalize licensed firearms owners, transferring to them the fear and anger rightly felt toward Tarrant.

We have long been regarded as one of the lucky countries for our firearms regulation. We have very low rates of firearms crime, co-existing with high levels of lawful firearms ownership. Our good fortune has been recognized at international arms control meetings.

But in the April panic we got new firearms law while leaving criminal firearms owners essentially untouched.  Since then, the Coalition has doubled down, with slogans to be enacted in a fresh Bill. It will arm police unnecessarily with draconian powers. We are well on the way to poisoning the mutual trust and respect values that have distinguished our firearms community relations with Police.

If the Royal Commission finds that the best guard against radicalising is more trust, and more respect – what the PM showed immediately after Tarrant’s infamous action, it could be too late. No government will reverse its mistakes immediately. Especially if they have been trumpeted as an achievement internationally.

David Seymour puts it well in a statement immediately after the announcement on the extraordinary extension of the Commission’s report date.

Our client COLFO has also asked MPs to show at least enough respect for the Royal Commission’s careful work to delay legislating until the Commission lessons are available.  From what we have seen of the submissions to the Commission and on the Arms Legislation Bill, the latter does actually nothing that would have materially impeded Tarrant. Instead it vilifies lawful firearms owners. It is a diversion from reforming the Police practices that might even have enabled him.

The current timetable for the Arms Legislation Bill is itself a disgrace

  • Most submitters have been insulted with MPs being allowed only a single question,
  • official briefing papers have great gaps on costs, and establishing connections between provisions sought, and mass murder risks;
  • briefings have involved obvious self pleading by the Police faction which has silenced the ordinary front line officers who have tried to maintain the traditional relationships with licensed firearms owners
  • MPs who suspect that Police might have good reason to be ashamed of what the Royal Commission will report have not been given enough time to pursue their suspicions, and
  • the speed in legislating seems designed solely for political grandstanding in March, not for setting NZ up to defend its values and its reputation with the benefit of the Royal Commission report.

We have had an international reputation as being like Switzerland and Iceland – a high trust society with mutual respect between law abiding firearms users, and Police. We are seeing a cynical attempt to give NZ the kind of toxic permanent debate over firearms law that discredits politics in the US – for partisan advantage.

 

 

Comments

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  • B Welch
  • November 14th, 2019
  • 12:15 pm

With the PM and Police bosses all afflicted with big egos and a personal anti-gun zealot position, the LFOs and ultimately NZ as a Nation, didn’t stand a chance.

NZ had stubbornly failed to provide the opportunity required to get their way.

Until an Australian blow in, terrorist-looking-for-a-venue, chose NZ.

I read his manifesto, before it was banned. He said he wanted to create social upheaval because he thought we needed it. He chose a shooting over other options, because it got the most reaction. The legal shambles we now have is PLAYING HIS GAME.

On TV we saw a clip from the submissions to the sub committee. One lost his rag and did an emotional Hollywood, suggesting he might have written a fair bit of it.

Some watching this, would be appalled that this is how our laws are made.

The front line, actual Police, have the vast majority of the people on their side.
That includes ‘The Latte Set’ of dilettantes and others who are consumed with their social life and happy to ban anything that doesn’t affect THEM.

It also includes a huge number of ‘practical’ people. The sort who are not just a source of information, but actual help. The sort who don’t just drive past, but will get out of their car and go to the aid of Police when it’s obvious they need it. This includes the ‘Guns & Hunters’ people. They have the mind set and fitness to be useful.

On TV, the Police ‘spokespeople’ always say don’t do this. Their bleeding members hear this with embarrassment. They were there, they know.

An unintended consequence of these legal zealots, is the loss of respect for Police as an organization. We can just hope this is not directed at the Police they are most likely to meet.

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  • Mike
  • November 17th, 2019
  • 5:00 pm

here is a great need for careful reflective investigation independent of a Police force that has become nakedly engaged in political advocacy.”

There we have the nub.

Rank and file individuals in the NZPolice, ordinary people in the main, respect them, because they know them, their families and their children because we meet on the sidelines at school sport and at New World and the doctors and heaven forbid, ED sometimes.

Not so for the Political Class, the NZPolice leadership, who have transitioned out of being just Policeman/Manager into Little Policeman/Manager/Politician.

One understands in a small country like NZ, that is always going to happen to a degree to the Mike Bush’s of NZ, but this is different.

Lockstep that with a political Operator/Liar of some substance and a preening protective Media and a cowed opposition.

We have a process that is unjust, unfair and corrupt to our values, ways and history.

Sadly unless this is undone by concerted opposition in Parliament and at the ballot box, decency and democracy will have fallen to the political class union between Labour/NZF/Greens and the NZPolice/media.

Their reinventing and taking away rights at will with a bland we know best/ only ugly people argue with us attitude is the worst of behaviour and not what we are as a people.

I am not hopeful of NZF or National to undo the injustices meted upon us all.

NZF who’s leader controls all, is so full of Utu, he has lost his way and his rank and file are sheeple. None of them have spoken up in their individual capacity, yet they number several shooter and rural people.

National too lost their way, partly due to the magnitude of the event caused by the lone Australian, and because they are to a large extent urban not really rural.
This coupled with a compliant media and a vicious demogogery against all who heed slow down, think, trust in the Kiwi collective that is us.

Only one person, in that of ACT’s David Seymour has stood and defended both the 250,000 law abiding Kiwis who own firearms and shoot and all other Kiwis rights.

When a police force leadership goes rogue like this, the only answer is resignations, retirement ands sacking when the dust settles.
Whether National is up for that after winning the next election, I for one doubt.

Simon their leader stayed silent when his own Judith Collins joined in with the Greenie attack on David Seymour when he defended our rights against the Greens assertions against our basic rights.

Not only making 250,000 law abiding people criminals and taking their property off of them with an unjust process,

That the narrative changed generations long held rights to privilege as given by the political class (incl NZPolice) to owning a firearm for a law abiding citizen is very very worrying.

For where does it stop?

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