What is the point of a law that is only successfully applied to the law abiding?

Whether or not you personally think that restricting certain firearms will make New Zealand a safer place or not, the following two points should make everyone pause to think.

The new gun law is being rushed in a very undemocratic way.

The government expects to pass legislation banning most semi-automatic rifles by the end of next week, exactly four weeks after the terrorist attack that prompted it.


Rushed law that hasn’t gone through the proper democratic processes to ensure that it is well thought out and well written is bad law and it can also be dangerous law.

Not only has the new gun law been rushed, in a knee jerk reaction, without allowing any consultation from the public; it may also prove to be toothless.

Two leading figures of the criminal class have publicly given the middle finger to the government, declaring that their criminal gangs will not abide by any new gun law (surprise, surprise).

The president of the Waikato branch of the Mongrel Mob and a Black Power leader publicly admitted that their gangs have guns and that some of them were illegally obtained. quote.

And neither is willing to concede they should turn them in after the Christchurch attack.

[…] “Will gangs get rid of their weapons? No,” Fatu says. “Because of who we are, we can’t guarantee our own safety.” end quote.


So before the law has even been written, leaders from two of the major gangs in New Zealand have essentially told the government that they intend to break the law. So how has the government reacted? What tough stance will they now take to ensure that their new law successfully takes the weapons off non-law-abiding gun owners?

They have issued a “stern warning” that there will “be consequences”. How police are going to find illegal guns that the gangs do not want found is anyone’s guess.

This new law is very much based on trusting the public to comply.

Police Minister Stuart Nash has said that he found it abhorrent that gang members were publicly saying they going to break the law, and that “We take that very, very seriously”.

I think that only the very naive would think that they could get criminals to voluntarily hand in their guns. Also, as we have said in earlier articles on Whaleoil, how can the police go looking for these guns when they have no records of their existence? The government, in their rush to be seen to be doing something, tipped off gun owners as to their intentions, so those not intending to hand them over will have them well hidden by now. quote.

[…] Peters said the Government did not plan to fail on this issue and its message to the gangs was: “Yes, you will be handing them back”.

The process would apply to gangs in the same way as it did for any law-abiding citizen who had legal arms that were about to become illegal, he said.
“We intend to enforce the law and it’s not a matter of co-operation. It’s a matter of being obliged to conform with the law in this country or be operating illegally, for which there will be consequences,” Peter said.

[…] When asked if police would be given extra powers to search and seize guns from gang members, Nash said the Government was looking at firearms prohibition orders, which was a separate piece of work.

[…] A discussion document on that would be introduced in the next couple of months, he said.
“Along with [Justice] Minister Andrew Little and the Crimes Act, we are looking at how we can increase the ability of the police or give police increased powers to go after these criminals,” he said.

He had news for anyone who was not planning on obeying the law: “They are going to hand the guns back and if they don’t do it voluntarily, then the police are going to come after them.”

The penalties had been substantially increased and there were 720 more officers in the organised crime squad, he said.
After that amnesty period, anyone in possession of one of the illegal firearms would face tougher penalties.
Simply possessing a prohibited firearm would carry a maximum prison sentence of five years. Possessing an illegal modification would carry a maximum sentence of two years. Carrying a prohibited firearm in a public place or carrying it with criminal intent would carry a maximum sentence of seven years.

“My advice to the gangs is hand your weapons back.”

[…] He urged people to declare or hand weapons over before September 29 and not wait until the last minute.
“We suspect a lot of people are waiting on terms and conditions of the buyback to come into play before they actually action the process of handing in their weapons,” he said.

[…] The Government’s first lot of gun law changes will come into effect by April 12, less than a month after the Christchurch terror attack.


I am amazed that Nash thinks that it is reasonable or fair to expect people to act without being informed first what the terms and conditions will be. Something tells me that this law will prove to be as expensive for the government and the long-suffering taxpayer as it will be for the law-abiding gun owners who stand to lose thousands of dollars.