Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: A (non-)submission on the new Arms Amendment legislation

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  • BenWilson,

    For anyone considering helping Graeme here, this has already happened, another party (Pete McCaffrey) has submitted the above so that Graeme can make an oral submission without feeling that he has lied in the metadata. The @NZParliament twitter account confirmed also that he would not be blocked from making an oral submission by the existence of the metadata forced into the written submission, so long as he said in the submission that he did actually wish to make a written submission.

    I can't comment expertly on the submission itself, not being a lawyer. Seems sound that criminal law changes should be included into the statutes themselves, to prevent criminal overreach by the police, but at this time, I can't say I care that much about the rights of people to hold onto parts of prohibited weapons and ammunition that but recently took 50 NZ lives and injured 50 more people at the hands of one white supremacist.

    Certainly this kind of hole should be shored up as fast as it can, preferably at the outset, but my heart would hardly be broken if it was not and attempts to wriggle around the hastily written law by making tiny alterations to equipment I feel has no place in NZ society. I don't expect that it is easy to fully specify what kinds of parts fall within the definition of an attempt at making a weapon capable of this kind of carnage, and there may well be a bunch of borderline cases found in the next few months that Parliament wishes, in hindsight, it had thought of. There might be weapons manufacturers who can tailor their way around these laws easily.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Robert Singers,

    Given that 3D printers and CNC metal working equipment can make fully automatic weapons based on plans that are legal in other jurisdictions focusing on the removing the legal right to purchase semi-automatic weapons seems awfully short sighted.

    Legally purchasing a weapon offers an opportunity to inspect who has a weapon. The experience of the last few centuries has shown us that prohibition rarely removes the prohibited goods from circulation it just creates a black market. unregulated and largely invisible.

    Whether legally purchased weapons or illegally manufactured, firearms need ammunition. Ammunition is not so easily manufactured, and involves a bit more than steel and plastic. The controls put in place to monitor the sale of pharmaceuticals to prevent the manufacture of home-bake seem to have been successful to some extent. We should be looking at similar controls for ammunition.

    And we should keep in mind that the weapon of choice for attacks in Europe has been trucks and vans driven into crowds.

    Fetishing the AR15 because it's based on the M16 offers us no safety.

    Since Aug 2015 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Doesn't seem short sighted to me, it's focusing on the the 99.999% of guns ever obtained. But yes, ammo is also being prohibited.

    The experience of the last few centuries has shown us that prohibition rarely removes the prohibited goods from circulation it just creates a black market.

    I call bullshit on that. They did exactly this in Australia and it worked well. Because the "goods" are not an addictive drug for which there is a enormous market, they are mostly things purchased by law abiding citizens who still have plenty of pop-a-cap options open to them, and no intention of mass slaughter. Huge numbers of these guns will be handed back, the shelves of gun shops will not be full of them, and killers like the nameless Christchurch bastard will find it much, much harder to fill their boot with them.

    Legally purchasing a weapon offers an opportunity to inspect who has a weapon.

    It will still be legal to purchase weapons. Just not those weapons. Everyone who has one of those will soon be face the very serious question of whether they want the risk of facing charges for their plaything. If they are a criminal, they will most likely find themselves facing much more serious charges if such a weapon is found in the proximity of some criminal enterprise. It's bad enough to be found with a gun of any kind, much more so a gun that is strictly prohibited to basically everyone.

    And we should keep in mind that the weapon of choice for attacks in Europe has been trucks and vans driven into crowds.

    OK, noted. We'll be banning the guns anyway, though, I expect.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Robert Singers,

    Your comment about ‘trucks and vans’ is just a distraction from the argument, and quite meaningless. It is possible to argue that private vehicle ownership, along with alcohol abuse, has long been the prinary cause of death, destruction and social cost, in New Zealand and elsewhere—but is anyone calling for the prohibition of these two primary causes?

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2537 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    I think that is meant to be the point - no one is, so why are they calling for it for guns, which only slaughtered a proportionally quite small number of people recently?

    It's an equivocation with things that are really very different. There are entirely different balances of harms and utilities between these goods so as to make the analogy break down. It can be stretched, and it can go on and on, so I don't see much point in playing with it. These guns are going to be banned, because NZ society by a huge majority finds ownership of them to be repugnant. The question here is really about the details about how such laws should be drafted.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Robert Singers,

    Given that 3D printers and CNC metal working equipment can make fully automatic weapons

    I think part of the reason the Australian came to Aotearoa is that he couldn't get the weapons he wanted into Australia. So if we set the bar that high we have likely stopped people at his level. Which I personally would count as a win.

    3D printing is still at the "see I made one, once, and it worked, once" level of amazing. The skill and money required for CNC work is high and there are easier ways unless you're into mass manufacture. And the cost of a CNC machine to make a gun barrel is very high - you're drilling a 500mm+ long hole in the centre of hardened steel (that's after first fabricating the length of specially hardened steel).

    Much easier to buy a convertible weapon and hand-make the requisite parts. I suspect that even setting up an existing CNC mill to make the parts takes more skill than smuggling in a working version. Youtube has ample coverage of people buying cheap CNC machines and failing to make them work, so you should probably set the bar for this at "has metal working skills and at least $20,000 to spend".

    But then we're back to "let's control the availability of the weapon" at the start of the process.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1176 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Thanks, Ben. All I have heard from crazy-for-guns apologists today suggests that they shut up and acknowledge that they are attempting to push shit uphill, againsta broad wave of popular support for strengthening gun laws.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2537 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    It is not only about legal/illegal possession. "Legal" also means being able to practise freely, without hindrance, at gun clubs or in many situations for which firearms are legitimately used in public.

    Currently, somebody who cannot do this in Australia can get better at doing it in NZ. Which is what happened (allegedly etc).

    Anybody can own a weapon. Not everybody can use one efficiently. It is a learned skill. Reducing the opportunities to learn can save lives or better still, remove the incentive to be here in the first place.

    Nobody trains openly at the Vehicular Terrorism Club. Why is that?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1313 posts Report Reply

  • Robert Singers,

    YouTube may be full of people failing with with CNC equipment but there’s also a large number of people doing incredible stuff. As well as a number of videos of people handcrafting high quality firearms. The barrier of entry for a 3D printer is much lower and you can print an entire gun bar the firing pin.

    I wasn’t aware we were just legislating to only control the unskilled. There’s no guarantee in the future that the danger will be from a lone wolf. It could equally be from a group resourced to build their own arms factory. Or the factory might be built by an already cash rich group with a desire for firearms for protection and sale to the unscrupulous.

    But you’re right Moz, it may well be easier to import firearms. It’s estimated that there are over 200 million AK47s in the world, and that they sell for as low as US$60 in some places. You never know we might get some of the firearms that Ross Meurant bought up in the last great buy back (and sold to Africa) trickling back.

    We need better gun control legislation and we need legislation that deals with the fact that you can download gun blueprints. From sites that advertise “No prior CNC experience required” and “Legally manufacture unserialized rifles and pistols in the comfort and privacy of home”.

    Or we can just bury our heads in the sand, and pretend yes people have sold back their AR15s (and not stripped, greased and wrapped them in polythene and buried them under the shed).

    Since Aug 2015 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Robert Singers,

    It could equally be from a group resourced to build their own arms factory. Or the factory might be built by an already cash rich group with a desire for firearms for protection and sale to the unscrupulous.

    That'll give the espionage agencies something to salivate over if it were happening in any way, shape or form.

    bury our heads in the sand, and pretend yes people have sold back their AR15s (and not stripped, greased and wrapped them in polythene and buried them under the shed).

    Keep this up and those spys will checking all the paperwork ever generated by gun sales going back to WW2. So get that paper trail false or otherwise sorted sharpish-like. Is that what your hinting at? ;-|

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1868 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Robert Singers,

    The barrier of entry for a 3D printer is much lower and you can print an entire gun bar the firing pin.

    If you build a gun with an entry level 3d printer and then fire it. You are highly likely to blow your hand off.

    I’m more worried about drones. And I’m not overly concerned about those. Aviation law is on that.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4163 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Robert Singers,

    Control of any item is not invalidated because there is still some hole not closed. That's just not how controlling things works, that you give up because it's not 100% perfect. Yes, people can still fabricate guns. But that will cut their numbers down to a tiny fraction of what will be available when you can just walk into a shop and buy them. People can still murder by other means, but that's not an argument to leave one particularly effective method completely open. Public policy is always a numbers game and drastically reducing the number of weapons whose essential purpose is ending human life goes a long way to drastically reducing the chances of a repeat incident of the Christchurch massacre.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Robert Singers,

    Legally purchasing a weapon offers an opportunity to inspect who has a weapon

    hahahahahahahahahahaha

    Oh that’s so funny.

    When one of the biggest gun sellers in New Zealand is a convicted gun smuggler who committed federal crimes in the US and spent two years in jail for them?

    Our current system failed.

    Now we get a new system.

    You want to play with lethal weapons then the choice is clear, leave New Zealand.

    Oh BTW NRA playbook arguments have no sway here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4449 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Glover,

    The Australian buy-back might have worked well from the perspective of the number of guns handed in. But a lot of analysis shows that it did not have a significant effect on reducing firearm deaths. It makes it a fair question as to whether it is an appropriate step to take if we truly want to make a change to firearm deaths in NZ.

    Australian firearm deaths:
    In the 15 years before Port Arthur/the NFA, firearm deaths decreased 2.3 deaths per 100,000 people (5.0 in 1980 to 2.7 in 1995).
    In the 15 years after Port Arthur/the NFA, firearm deaths decreased 1.4 deaths per 100,000 people (2.4 in 1997 to 1.0 in 2012).

    Australian firearm homicides:
    In the 15 years before Port Arthur/the NFA, firearm homicides decreased 0.4 deaths per 100,000 people (0.8 in 1980 to 0.4 in 1995).
    In the 15 years after Port Arthur/the NFA, firearm deaths decreased 0.2 deaths per 100,000 people (0.4 in 1997 to 0.2 in 2012).

    We need to find examples of countries that have made changes that have had a significant impact on gun deaths and see what we can model off them. Australia don't seem to be the example we should be using. If you have any countries that show significant change please let me know!

    Since Apr 2019 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Richard Glover,

    We need to find examples of countries that have made changes that have had a significant impact on gun deaths and see what we can model off them.

    We don’t need to even think rationally about this. We can do this thing on an entirely emotional whim.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4163 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Richard Glover,

    Homicide is death baby!
    Your statistics look shonky too.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1868 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Gun Ho!

    When one of the biggest gun sellers in New Zealand is a convicted gun smuggler who committed federal crimes in the US and spent two years in jail for them?

    Let’s not forget that the current President of the USA’s NRA is none other than the Iran/Contra drug ‘n’ gun-runner (Lt) Oliver North

    I watched that Al Jazeera / One Nation gun funds sting doco last night – sheesh!

    This one was interesting too:

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7869 posts Report Reply

  • Pete,

    A lot of AR15s will not be handed back in and registration will be an expensive boondoggle - I'd bet my two licenses on that
    Australia has a lot of black market firearms

    I fully understand that the will of the people is to ban semis but this law is rushed and poorly written so far, just like the silly MSSA clasification before it

    This will cost taxpayers a LOT of money when, if it was handled more expertly and given more thought, it could be more effective in achieving its aims
    Rushed law is bad law

    Since Apr 2008 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Pete,

    Rushed law is bad law

    You may feel as if gangs are metaphorically roaming the streets with tar and feathers.
    And appealing to the pockets of taxpayers isnt a very convincing argument on your say so. Do you have figures for that?

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1868 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Richard Glover,

    But what is included in the overall death or homicide figures? The Australian law wasn’t (and the NZ one isn’t) really intended to reduce the overall death rate significantly – there’s no way it can reduce the number of hunting accidents or suicides, for example. They’re specifically intended to reduce the massacre rate. So … are you seriously suggesting we wait until we have a large enough sample of massacres to permit a statistically valid before-and-after comparison?

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1870 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Loch,

    The point that seems to be missed here is that this proposed legislation seems to be badly considered as it is being rushed through without due deliberation and consultation.

    Don't misunderstand me; as a responsible firearm owner all my adult life I totally support any reform that would stop any weapon getting into the wrong hands by stringent licensing of both owners and guns. But please do not rush some politically reactionary garbage, but legislate something clear, concise, considered, workable and sustainable.

    Horowhenua • Since Apr 2019 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Paul Loch,

    legislate something clear, concise, considered, workable and sustainable.

    So you have made your submission then?

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1868 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    There are some quite intelligent questions here, as one would expect.-

    -I do take Graham's overall point about legislation under urgency being rushed and shoddy usually. However, the problem is the parliamentary messenger in this context. One would have to say that David Seymour facilitated several such National Party legislative shortfalls as National's coalition partners himself. Which doesn't invalidate Graham's overall point, but...

    -Is the current proposed Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines and Parts) Bill 2019 based on the post- Port Arthur Australian counterpart? What were the shortfalls of that legislation?

    - Could refinements in 3D printer technology lead to functional firearms eventually, so should they therefore be regulated more stringently against that contingency?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    While I get that shoddy legislation is typically a PITA in the long run, I'd like to hear from those alarmed about it what actual bad outcomes they can foresee? Contextualized against the obviously very, very bad outcome that our current laws enabled.

    I can see only three possible bad outcomes, really.
    1. That the legislation doesn't go far enough and inappropriate firearms will still get through.
    2. That the legislation will go too far and firearms that people have a perfectly valid reason to own will be taken away.
    3. That people will accidentally fall foul of unclear laws and be treated as criminals.

    Of these, only 1 really has me worried. Because the reasons put forward for 2 are in general very weak, there are only a very small number of valid reasons to own firearms for work purposes (pest control and the police and army - any others?) - almost all of the rest are recreational, and I really struggle to see why weapons more appropriate for hunting/sport than for ending human life on a massive scale are not enough for the purposes of recreation. And 3 strikes me as very much overblown. Anyone wanting to be sure should avail themselves of an amnesty period to find out. Everyone else is literally risking this willfully and would have only themselves to blame.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • simon g, in reply to Paul Loch,

    Paul, further proposals are planned for later in the year, including a review of licensing requirements (or lack of). That will be a much lengthier legislative process, according to the PM's statements on the matter.

    The underlying problem here is a familiar one in politics: bend, or break. For over 20 years the "responsible gun owners" have been an obstacle to reform. If they had spoken out, if even modest changes had been supported and enacted, then there would not be the overwhelming public antipathy towards the "gun lobby" (however loosely defined). Even now, the prominent voices in the media are the likes of Tipple, Loder, and the guy who calls Ardern "dumb as a plank". And politicians love a cartoon opponent: it makes the battle for public opinion so much easier (they hug themselves with glee when the headlines say "Brian Tamaki attacks government ...").

    Presumably the crackpot fringe do not represent most gun owners, but they do fill a vacuum - one created by decades of silence and indifference. If you want better laws for both gun owners and the wider public, get a much better lobby group to argue for them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1313 posts Report Reply

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