Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- As New Zealand gun owners seek to comply with their government's new ban on the ownership of semi-automatic centerfire rifles, an advocate for the ban says it is not enough. Nik Green goes so far as to say the attempt to comply with the ban renders the ban pointless. From newshub.com:
Police are looking into whether kits designed to modify AR-15s from semi-automatic to pump-action would allow owners to keep the rifles, which are used in about half of all mass shootings in the US.
Gun Control NZ co-founder Nik Green says allowing the modification kit would render the new laws pointless.
“Any conversion isn't permanent, so you could quite easily switch it back to being a semi-automatic… It doesn't take these dangerous guns off the streets.”
Green is being disingenuous. He makes the jump of logic that because conversions can be reversed, it can be done “quite easily.” It is an enormous jump.
It is true conversions can be reversed. Any modification can be reversed if enough time, money, and energy are used. A welded barrel can be replaced with a new barrel. A receiver cut into three can be welded back together and machined again. The truth is new; fully automatic guns can be made as easily as many conversions can be reversed. Blowback submachine guns are one of the easiest repeaters to make. They are illegally made in small shops and at home all over the world, from Australia to Canada, to Brazil, to the Philippines to Israel.
If a New Zealand owner of a converted semi-auto can smuggle in parts to reverse the conversion, he could smuggle in parts to make a full-auto submachine gun at home. A short barrel would be as easy to smuggle as a gas tube and block. Homemade submachine guns are far less complex than a commercial semi-automatic rifle. From tvnz.co.nz:
It comes as a New Zealand importer considers bringing in an AR-15 modification kit, known as the Animus, which can convert the gun from a semi-automatic weapon to pump-action. The AR-15 was the primary weapon system used during the Christchurch mosque attacks.
The converted pump-action AR-15 has a limited capacity and fires slowly, with every bullet pulled into the chamber manually by hand in a similar fashion to a shotgun. It was designed by an American company to comply with their own gun legislation.
In Australia, an even stricter and more draconian ban was put into place in a similar, emotional rush by the government and media. Pump-action rifles are banned in Australia, as well as semi-autos, so Australians moved to spring assisted straight-pull bolt actions. This innovative company sells them, quite legally, in several Australian states.
The Christchurch murderer planned his act of political terrorism for years. He could have made a submachine gun or several of them. In his manifesto, he mentioned other methods he could have used. He chose semi-automatic guns to obtain maximum exposure for his terrorism from the media and to push New Zealand and American governments toward more draconian gun control measures.
It is easy to see why politicians and the media were so eager to ban guns in Australia and New Zealand. They do not own guns themselves and see no cost to banning them. Banning guns places the target on gun owners and shifts the debate from immigration, terrorism, and media contagion to gun ownership. Censorship in New Zealand worked to institutionalize that shift.
Freedom of speech and of the press are incompatible with gun bans. In the Australian state of New South Wales, it is illegal to possess the knowledge needed to make guns with 3D printers.
New Zealand is, generally, a law-abiding country. Following the rules works both ways. Without the emotional and irrational boost of a mass killing to fuel new laws, it seems likely the conversion of semi-autos to pump-action rifles will be allowed.
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.