New Zealand -(Ammoland.com)- The far left New Zealand government has banned many semi-automatic firearms in the media frenzy following the mass murder at the Christchurch (ironic name!) mosques. A small number of New Zealanders called for calm and rational deliberation in the rush to pass new legislation. They were ignored in the frenzy to pass restrictions on gun ownership.
The New Zealand censor ruled it illegal for New Zealand citizens to read the manifesto of the political terrorist who did the killing. Any discussion of immigration and Islamic terrorism, which were used to justify the killings, were ignored. Instead, the New Zealand government did precisely what the political terrorist predicted it would do: severely restrict firearms ownership.
Consider: major changes in the law, impacting 3-4 percent of New Zealand’s population, were enacted because of one major criminal act of political terrorism in over 100 years of New Zealand history.
It has been difficult to find the details of the new legislation. Forensic Magazine has done a good job of boiling down the legalese. These appear to be the prohibited firearms and parts. From forensicmag.com:
The specific items prohibited under the new law are:
- Weapons classified as a military-style semi-automatic firearms (MSSAs);
- Semi-automatic firearms, excepting those that only fire 0.22 caliber or less rimfire cartridges and having a maximum magazine capacity of 10 cartridges, and also excepting semi-automatic shotguns with non-detachable magazines with a capacity of five or less cartridges;
- Pump-action shotguns with detachable magazines, or non-detachable magazines with a capacity of greater than five cartridges; and
- Parts that can convert non-prohibited weapons into prohibited weapons
Semi-automatic and high-capacity pistols are not prohibited under the bill. Semi-automatic and high-capacity airsoft and paintball guns that resemble prohibited weapons are not also not affected, as they are not included under the legal definition of “firearm”—existing law requires a permit to own such airguns.
Here is the relevant, actual, statutory language. You can see that it requires quite a bit of careful study. From legilation.govt.nz:
2A Meaning of prohibited firearm
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, prohibited firearm—
(a) means the following firearms:
(i) a semi-automatic firearm (except a pistol), other than—
(A) a semi-automatic firearm that is capable of firing only 0.22 calibre or less rimfire cartridges and that has a magazine, whether or not detachable or otherwise externally fed, that is capable of holding no more than 10 cartridges commensurate with that firearm’s chamber size:
(B) a semi-automatic shotgun with a non-detachable tubular magazine or magazines that are capable of holding no more than 5 cartridges commensurate with that firearm’s chamber size:(ii) a pump-action shotgun that is capable of being used with a detachable magazine:
(iii) a pump-action shotgun that has a non-detachable tubular magazine or magazines that are capable of holding more than 5 cartridges commensurate with that firearm’s chamber size; and
(b) includes any other firearm declared by Order in Council made under section 74A to be a prohibited firearm for the purposes of this Act.
2B Meaning of prohibited magazine
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, prohibited magazine,—
(a) in relation to a shotgun, means a magazine, whether or not detachable, that is capable of holding more than 5 cartridges commensurate with that shotgun’s chamber size:
(b) in relation to any other firearm (except a pistol),—
(i) means any detachable magazine—
(A) that is capable of holding 0.22 calibre or less rimfire cartridges and that is capable of holding more than 10 of those cartridges:
(B) that is capable of holding more than 10 cartridges and being used with a semi-automatic or fully automatic firearm:
(ii) means any other magazine, whether or not detachable, that is capable of holding more than 10 cartridges; and
(c) includes any other magazine declared by Order in Council made under section 74A to be a prohibited magazine for the purposes of this Act.
2C Meaning of prohibited part
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, prohibited part means(a) a part of a prohibited firearm:(b) a component that can be applied to enable, or take significant steps towards enabling a firearm to be fired with, or near to, a semi-automatic or automatic action.
2D Meaning of prohibited ammunition
In this Act, prohibited ammunition means any ammunition declared by the Governor-Governor by Order in Council to be prohibited ammunition.
New Zealand has about twice as many gun owners per capita as Australia does. Thus, while the firearms ban was passed in a media frenzy, as happened in Australia following a mass killing, it is not quite as draconian.
The New Zealand legislation shares many common characteristics with severe firearms restrictions that have been passed in democratic countries around the world:
- A government is in power that fears and detests firearms in the hands of the common man. This was the case in England in 1920, the United States in 1968, Canada in 1991, Australia in 1996, and New Zealand in 2019.
- Criminal acts were used as a crises to pass law that would not passage in ordinary circumstance with reasoned debate.
- The laws were passed with little consideration or knowledge of firearms technology.
- The major media of the time were complicit in calling for passage of the law, without critical consideration or analysis, with no time or space allowed to opponents of the restrictions.
- The legislative acts were rushed through the legislative body, before time was allowed for reasoned reflection.
One of the most troubling aspects of the New Zealand situation is the definition of “prohibited ammunition”. It appears the executive branch of New Zealand government can simply declare any ammunition they desire to be “prohibited” on little or no notice, without any additional act of parliament.
Such sweeping power is not consistent with democratic government.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.