Now if Only Canada Will Get a Clue

Clayton Cramer links to this report that New Zealand has finally given up (at least for now) on its plan to attempt long-gun registration (again.)

Gun registration off the agenda – Hawkins
24 December 2004

The Government has finally abandoned the idea of registering firearms.

Police Minister George Hawkins confirmed today that registration will not be in a bill he is preparing to tighten border control of illicit arms trading.

Border control?? New Zealand is an island. Doesn’t he therefore mean “gun smuggling?”

The legislation will bring New Zealand into line with international protocols on the control of weapons, parts and ammunition.

“International” = “U.N.”

That doesn’t give me the warm fuzzies.

The registration of all the guns in the country was recommended seven years ago in a government-commissioned review of gun laws carried out by Sir Thomas Thorpe.

Neither the previous nor the present government acted on the recommendation, and Mr Hawkins said today it was off the agenda.

What this peice doesn’t tell you is that New Zealand tried long-gun registration before, and it failed miserably. They’ve had handgun registration since 1921, according to this Guncite page (and used it in 1974 to confiscate revolvers), but when they tried to expand their registration scheme to long guns in the 1980’s they finally gave up in defeat in 1983, settling for registration of the then-new “evil military-looking rifles” only. They stopped trying to register other rifles and shotguns because they recognized that it was expensive, useless, and tied up to much police time and effort.

So of course somebody had to bring it up again.

“Police told the Government it wouldn’t make very much difference, and they recommended that we did not register every firearm,” he said on National Radio.

“Police advice was that most of the times guns are used illegally, they are illegal guns and they don’t know about them anyway.”

Halleluja! A voice of reason!

The chairman of the Council of licensed Firearms Owners, John Howat, agreed with the decision.

“There’s no evidence, anywhere in the world, that registration systems assist police in generally controlling firearms,” he said.

“It is incredibly costly. We don’t want to go down that track, it’s a waste of money.”

As Canada has found to the tune of over a billion dollars – but they won’t admit their mistake.

The Progressive Party’s justice spokesman, Matt Robson, has advocated registration in the past and he did not agree.

He’s a “Progressive” – of course he did not agree. Progressives can’t be bothered with little things like reality.

“Without a firearms registration authority, without the proper registration of every gun in New Zealand, we leave ourselves very vulnerable,” he said.

Vulnerable to what? The inability to disarm the proles before they come to string you up for violating their rights just one time too often?

Mr Hawkins will put his bill into Parliament early next year.

He said it would give increased powers to customs officials to search for and seize illicit weapons and ammunition.

Works really good with drug smuggling too, I bet. What’s the street price for cocaine in Auckand these days?

Supply and demand, Mr. Hawkins. Economics 101.

It would allow New Zealand to sign the United Nations protocol on the control of trans-national organised crime.

Be still, my beating heart.

“Illegal arms getting into the Pacific isn’t something we want to see, and we’re playing our part as a responsible member of the Pacific group of nations,” he said.

“We’re very conscious that we have a lot of ports, a lot of yachts come to them, and we have to be ever vigilant.”

You’ve got a fair amount of just plain coastline, too. Gonna put up a wall?

There are four different classes of firearms licence in New Zealand. The A category entitles holders to own and use rifles and shotguns. Other categories enable people to own and use handguns and military-style semi-automatic firearms under strict conditions.

Just not strict enough, apparently. That’s the thing about gun control laws, they never appear to be good enough. There’s always that “next step.”

But it looks like New Zealand is going to skip back from at least one.

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