NZ gun laws not tight enough - lobbyist
Tue, 18 Dec 2012 2:20p.m.
By James Fyfe
Despite New Zealand’s reputation for tight gun regulation, one anti-gun lobbyist says we are still leaving ourselves exposed.
Professor Kevin Clements, director of the National Centre of Peace and Conflict Studies at Otago University, says current laws around gun registration are loose and leave room for abuse.
“The registered arms owners [might have] a large amount of weapons but we don’t know how many, where they are, what sort they are and whether they might fall into someone else’s hands,” he says.
The recent massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School has reignited the debate on gun regulation in the United States, and around the world.
It is estimated there are up to 1.5 million firearms currently in New Zealand and police say there are 234,006 registered owners.
According to a 2007 survey, New Zealand has the 22nd highest number of firearm owners in the world.
While gun owners themselves must be registered there is no general requirement for guns, says Mr Clement.
However, owners of pistols, restricted weapons or military-style semi-automatic firearms must qualify for an endorsement on their licence, part of which requires details of the weapon being recorded against the licence.
But Mr Clements says it is important that all weapons are registered.
“We need a complete inventory of the total number of weapons available in New Zealand, and we need to have these tagged to particular individuals, so we know who’s got what.”
Pro-gun supporters have previously criticised gun registration laws as costly and impractical.
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12/04/2013 12:12:24 a.m.
As an American I just wanted to reply to the “look at America” comments.
America doesn’t have a gun problem; we have drug, gang and mental health problems. Most of the people I know own guns yet, not a single person I know has used one in anger or used them to hurt someone else. In fact, I have never known anyone who harmed another person with a gun. The sad fact is the gangs in some cities here cause major problems and most of the gun violence you guys here about happens in those cities as a result of gang and drug related crime. We also have serious issues with health care here. I could go in to detail about some of the problems that I personally see as a Physician but I’ll just cover one and say kids here are prescribed drugs, for things like ADD/ADHD at an alarming level when there is no scientific data to back up their use on such a large scale. In short, the 2nd Amendment has always been a part of the U.S. and up until 1986 it was very easy for Americans to buy just about any type of weapon they wanted including fully automatic machineguns. However, it wasn’t until relatively recently that we started having problems with mass shootings. So we have to ask ourselves what has changed? It certainly isn’t our access to guns.
One thing that has changed is how news travels and how people live their lives. In the modern age, when something happens in one part of the world news of that event is read all over the world in a matter of hours. Young people tend to also spend a lot of their time online, in a virtual world, where people are reduced to a picture or perhaps a few lines of text. People seeking their 15 minutes of fame is nothing new but what is new is the ability for one, isolated person to go out and become world famous by committing some atrocious act. Add to that a new level of social disconnection when our youth are increasing gaining more of the social interaction in a virtual world and I think we have a recipe for exactly these types of events
6/03/2013 8:46:24 a.m.
Sandra - sorry but I have to contradict you. Criminals do actually obey the law most of the time. Even though there are between 1.1 and 1.5 million guns in NZ, shootings are extremely rare. That's because, with a few very rare exceptions, criminals and others use guns safely. It's a cultural thing. We don't have the shoot-em-up culture of USA or Mexico. I just hope we stay that way.
24/02/2013 5:28:53 p.m.
Criminals do NOT obey laws. They do NOT and will NOT obey gun laws either! Lawful people need the right to bear arms. This RIGHT is not only for self defense, but also to oppose government oppression. Look at the history of gun confiscation, and where it has led! WAKE UP PEOPLE!
24/01/2013 2:15:47 a.m.
Shane, you have no idea where guns involved' I was brought up with guns but with due respect the gun at that time was only for hunting wild animals, but today with guns that anything can happened. Just look at America and guns in control is a little differ from our country since the world war.
11/01/2013 3:25:34 p.m.
@JAN, we have 250,000 licensed firearms holders in New Zealand.Contrary to what you think owning a gun does not mean you instantly choose to shoot people when angry.If that was the case NZ would have alot of shootings based on the amount of houses with guns in them.
6/01/2013 11:10:39 p.m.
I disagreed with guns in our community as anything can happened but the Law introducing that gun would changed everyone life' the answer is a NO' it can only gets worse.
Why not live like the American that has guns in every household and when you are angry just go down the road and shoot as many as you like and do away with our Armed Forces.
3/01/2013 4:06:57 p.m.
the firearms laws are fine the way they are there very fair in my view and control the use and distribution of firearms very well any tighter and we will be like aussie a nanae state where you cant go to the toilet with out a permit
3/01/2013 6:50:07 a.m.
Criminals don't care about how tough the gun laws are, they buy firearms from other criminals or receive them from burglaries, they don't need a licence to own one. Making tougher gun laws only restricts law biding citizens from obtaining them.
27/12/2012 7:05:56 p.m.
David Hawk wrote:
Why on Earth do we need a "National Centre of Peace and Conflict Studies at Otago University"?
Just a useless department sucking up taxpayers money and producing nothing, research or graduates, of any value in the real world. What was Prof. Clements doing before he scored this no doubt lucrative tax payer funded position flipping burgers or stacking supermarket shelves?
Time to get rid of many of the liberal university departments and get back to teaching real subjects of practical worth.
27/12/2012 7:02:57 p.m.
Had Prof. Clements been paying attention for the last 17 years or so he might have noted the vastly expensive and futile waste of money that was the Canadian experience with registering shotguns and rifles. In the early nineties Canada invited a highly experienced and knowledgeable NZ Police Inspector to Canada to brief them on New Zealands new (1993) system of licencing and vetting individual gun owners not their guns. The Inspector strongly advised the Canadian Government not to attempt to introduce universal registration on the grounds of cost and ineffectiveness. The Canadians ignored this advice and in 1995 introduced the long gun registry with Bill C95. Now, seventeen years and two billion dollars (yes, that's right, $2,000,000,000) later, they have just scrapped the long gun registry because it proved to be essentially useless.
New Zealand has the best, most effective and cost effective system of firearm licencing in the world and we do not need and cannot afford to go tinkering with what ain't broke.
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