Getting strapped in New Zealand, Americans learn ropes of gun control

Mourners cry outside the scene of a mass shooting at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin. The shooter used a legally purchased 9mm handgun in the rampage. (Photo from REUTERS/John Gress)
Mourners cry outside the scene of a mass shooting at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin. The shooter used a legally purchased 9mm handgun in the rampage. (Photo from REUTERS/John Gress)

Gun violence is an unfortunate and irrefutable part of American culture.

An American my age can almost mark years of their life by instances of extreme violence committed by armed nutcases, from Waco, to Columbine High School, to the DC Sniper, to Virginia Tech, to Tucson, to last month in Aurora, Colorado, and the shootings just yesterday at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

And of course, gun violence has taken its toll on Seattle, my former home, with the shootings at Café Racer in May.

I say my former home because, after growing up in the Northwest and living in Seattle for over 10 years, my partner and I immigrated to New Zealand two years ago.

And we are currently going through the process of legally obtaining firearms in New Zealand.

The reasons we left the United States are varied, but partly a reaction to the political swing to the right during the Bush administration.

guns shooting
The author at a gun range in Oregon. (Photo courtesy Brian Norton)

Our reasons for owning firearms are also varied but have to do partially with our upbringing.

Both of us grew up with fathers who shot guns and taught us basic firearm safety. The desire also stems the recent life-changing experiences of emergency survival situations during the Christchurch earthquakes (a whole other story) and partially out of curiosity about New Zealand gun culture.

You might be surprised to find out that New Zealand is not unfamiliar with gun violence. In 1990, a 33 year old mentally unstable man in Aramoana, NZ shot and killed thirteen people including a police officer using a semi-automatic rifle. (The events have been dramatized in the New Zealand film Out of the Blue)

But unlike shootings in the US, the incident directly resulted in changes to New Zealand firearms laws. A special category of “Military Style Semi-Automatic” weapons was created; the sales and ownership of which are now severely restricted. Purchase or import of military style semi-automatics and all handguns must be individually approved by, and registered with, the New Zealand police.

firearms gun sales range
The author’s partner at a gun store in Las Vegas. Obtaining powerful firearms legally is easier in the US than almost any other country. (Photo by Brian Norton)

Without a valid and current firearms license, you cannot legally purchase any firearm other than a pellet gun anywhere in New Zealand. There is probably a black market or some other means of acquiring a firearm illegally, but firearms recovered from drug busts or other organised criminal activities typically amount to hunting rifles or pump action shot guns. Handguns and military style semi-automatics are rare, difficult to obtain, and very expensive.

So how do Kiwis go about getting their hands on guns?

The process for obtaining a basic firearms license is long, complicated and expensive. In other words, designed to weed out a broad portion of the population that the law deems unsuitable to possess a firearm.

After submitting your application to the NZ Police, you are signed up for a mandatory firearm safety course put on by the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council. The course runs about three hours. Experienced instructors offer advice covering the handling, operation and storage of firearms. It ends with a written exam. If you fail the exam, you must go back to the police station to register for the next available class, with no exceptions.

If you pass, your results are reported back to the NZ Police Arms Officer in preparation for the next step, the interview.

About a week following the safety class, the Arms Officer rang us to set up a personal interview. He came to our house in the evening with a huge booklet filled with questions. He interviewed each of us alone; me, my partner, and our personal reference (which must be a non-relative who has known you for at least two years and can attest to your ‘good character’).

Handbooks, licenses and safety equipment required for gun ownership in New Zealand (Photo by Brian Norton)
Handbooks, licenses and safety equipment required for gun ownership in New Zealand. (Photo by Brian Norton)

The interview was intense and personal. I observed the Arms Officer taking notice of the general state of our home as well as our demeanor. He confirmed we had a lockable cabinet for firearm storage, and separate lockable storage for ammunition. He asked pointed questions about alcohol and drug consumption, our domestic situation and our general mental health.

He also asked what we intended to use firearms for. Hint: personal or home protection is not an accepted rationale and would likely get you rejected – acceptable reasons are limited to hunting and/or target shooting.

Several weeks later, our New Zealand Firearms Licenses arrived in the mail.

While negotiating the license process, we had also started membership with the Christchurch Pistol Club. In order to legally obtain a handgun, your firearms license requires a special endorsement. Getting the pistol endorsement requires you to be a current full member of an accredited pistol club and be sponsored by the club after a 6 month probationary period. Once the endorsement has been received, you must attend at least 12 club activities every year to keep it. We are currently in month 4 of our probation, and making almost weekly trips to the range to shoot the club guns.

Violation of any gun laws, including those relating to storage, transport or sales can easily result in a loss of your endorsement, your full license or even criminal conviction. Handguns may only be transported to and from the range, gunsmith or police station, and must be in a locked container. If your handgun is stolen from your car or home, you will probably lose at least your endorsement if not your full license. Random home visits from the Arms Officer are not unheard of.

It’s hard to say if the hurdles for potential gun owners have a direct effect on the lack of gun violence in New Zealand. But something is working.

NZ has a firearm-related death rate of 2.66 per 100,000 people, per year. The rate in the US is almost 5 times that.

Mass shootings like the one by James Holmes at a Batman movie premiere in Colorado last month have not prompted serious political dialogue about gun control, despite the ease with which mentally ill people and members of hate groups appear to obtain weapons. (Photo from REUTERS/RJ Sangosti)
Mass shootings like the one by James Holmes at a Batman movie premiere in Colorado last month have not prompted serious political dialogue about gun control, despite the ease with which mentally ill people and members of hate groups appear to obtain weapons. (Photo from REUTERS/RJ Sangosti)

And unlike in the States, gun legislation rarely becomes mired in the political fog, despite the fact that the country has a similar frontier mentality and outdoorsy culture to the US.

The two main political parties, Labour and National (there are 8 active parties in NZ parliament) both treat gun control as a bi-partisan issue.

Some could argue that the sheer number of firearms available in the US (almost one for every person) render effective control of those firearms impossible. By comparison, New Zealand is estimated to have just over 1 million firearms in a country of 4.4 million. By and large, the level of scrutiny and control on possession and transfer of firearms, especially the types of weapons capable of mass killings, seems like an alternate universe when compared to the United States.

Between the application fees, membership dues, club activities and special safes required, the financial obligations alone could be a barrier to anyone looking to obtain a firearm for frivolous or reactionary reasons. To get a gun in New Zealand you have to plan ahead, have a clean record, and have the money to spend on it.

In other words, it’s a tremendous pain in the ass. But it’s a pain in the ass that appears to be saving lives.

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56 Comments

  1. Really interesting (and timely) piece Brian, thank you. You’ve got me wondering what “have money to spend on it” means? How much more expensive are guns/permits/the whole process in NZ?

  2. It’s not really prohibitive, but it may make you think twice about your commitment. The standard license application fee (non-refundable) is NZD$126.50. Additional endorsement applications (for pistols, military style weapons or collector weapons) are $200 each. Membership fees to the pistol club are about $225 every 6 months. And this is all before you can even spring for a pistol! Until then you have to use the ‘club guns’ and buy their ammo.

  3. Hi Brian,

    Nice article and completely factual. I am a member of Auckland Pistol Club and your fees seem a tad high if you have to pay that every 6 months….was that meant to be 12 months? I must say that after the painful drawnout process of getting your B endorsement it is worth the wait when you can go to the club with your own gun (and reload ammo which is much cheaper) whenever you want. Cheers!

  4. Hi Shaun,

    You might be right…annual fee for a couple. Since dues are assessed on a particular date every year, we had to pay twice in close succession (about 3 months apart) just because of the time of year we joined. I’d be interested to get in contact with you. Shoot me an email if you want: r.brian.norton@gmail.com.

    Cheers

  5. Wow, another anti-gun article. Color me shocked. As the US gun ownership has skyrocketed in the last few decades, murders have gone down. Look at Mexico and Brazil for *great* examples of how extreme gun control measures do not decrease violence

  6. NZ fan, you are a little bright light in a pretty dark room, I can’t understand how people don’t get that fewer guns in citizens hands equals more violent crime not less, we need more of the public armed not less, as for James Holmes and Adam Lanza to name just two recent ” shooters” they had trained Patsy written all over them, fortunately it didn’t fool enough of the awake U.S.ers and the second amendment hangs on by the skin of it’s teeth. needless to say both those shooters picked “Gun Free Zones” to wreak havoc. Had the teachers and other theatre goers been able to be armed the outcome would have been very different.
    Welcome to NZ Brian, we need good people like you here, but don’t believe too much of that lefty gun hatin’ BS.

    1. Well said, Pedro – Hear! Hear!

      And had even a tiny sample of those traveling on September 11 2001 been observing their Second Amendment GUARANTEED un-infringed right to keep and to bear arms? What a different day — and subsequent 13-odd years we’d have enjoyed!

      (We’d perhaps have even dodged some of Mr Bush’s and DC’s increasingly-authoritarian-regulatory bureaucracy’s insidiously accelerating our beloved fraternal republic’s sliding to the Left)

      1. Brian, are you seriously suggesting that passengers be allowed to carry weapons on passenger aircraft on the off-chance it gets highjacked?

        Never mind the government, I don’t think airlines would stand for that.

        1. The airlines already stand for air-marshalls randomly riding on flights BECAUSE of 911.
          For US flights, provided the FAA stands for it, it’s up to the airline owner.

          Further, up until recently, trained aircrew on various flights were randomly armed to prevent hijackings.

          You know that the TSA has an accreditation program to allow “trusted” people to fast-track through security onto planes, right? Kind of an “anti-no-fly-list”. Seems like not a huge step to further trust these already “trusted” people to concealed carry, if they’re already permitted to do so. Otherwise, one should ask what the definition of “trust” is.

          Back in the early 20th century, just around prohibition, when the firearm murder statistics were quite high compared to today, people brought guns with them on flights if there was some sensible reason to and they had permission. If they pulled them out and started shooting, or tried to hijack the plane, it was a huge deal, just like now. Only they didn’t usually do that. They certainly didn’t x-ray or frisk people getting onto planes.

          Plenty of unrest in the world in those days, though. Spanish Civil War, unhappy Eastern Europeans, organized crime, etc.

      2. Airliners are private property and the owners would have every right to refuse to let people carry guns on them. Given the danger of having a gun fired while the plane is in high altitude they likely would not want every tom dick and harry carrying one.

        1. And what danger is that? You’ve seen too many movies. Hearing damage probably, but it is a myth that a bullet hole in the plane would cause explosive decompression.

    2. haha yes well said the hippy weirdo urban bunch have really thrown salt in the mix new zealand sciety..
      there is a very strong urban rural split here but the rural folks are not organized. ..
      guns are good they need no regulation and i dont see why they woudl need a permit either. when there was no permit required there was no problem
      i like it where the police are unarmed and the people armed :D

      the origins of gun laws here were handgun permits in the 1920s to disrupt potential troublesome. “disarm Catholics communists and anarchists” which in its self is a bunch of totalitarian bullshit :).. and tells you what kind sort of arse licking parrots the politicians were here even back in the 1920s:)..
      from that point on politicians and the urban mouth breathers have pushed to control firearms.

      actually new zealand has had quite a few massacres many the victims have been police :) first one was in the 1890s.. in ww2 there was a real hoot cops were harrassing a farmer and tryed to illegally confiscate his guns so he shot the silly buggers he was a crack shot and killed a bunch and then headed into the bush for several says.. kind of like new zealands version of the mad trapper , there was a large man hunt and shootout…. they made a movie about that one too.. ,
      because they dont have guns and so are not to familiar with them they seem to cop a few rounds…. are they are easy to hit in blue..
      really though its so rare .. and the gangs in new zealand prefer iron bars and bats and such.. they can buyguns im sure many of those dirty mongrel mob clowns have guns ive seen them pig and goat hunting on quite
      few occasions in northland

      mostly in new zealand in rural areas everybody hs guns. i never saw a house without at least 5-10 guns maybe more.. youll see them in sheds in peoples bedrooms in trucks on bikes in buckets on horses.. i dounf a small signal cannon and revolver and single shot shotgun in a swamp when was a kid for example about 7. the revolver was buggered up enough it wouldn’t fire.. the shotgun probably would have fired if it was cleaned :O no oxygen in the swamp.. (looked like theyed been in there about 100 years. probably from a guy Fawkes event or something)
      my dad cleaned the pistol up made a holster and then gave it to me as a toy.
      i took it to show and tell to school nobody said much as i showed it to the teacher first and she saw it couldnt function.. :) . hell i took a hand forged spatha,, a small greek sword to school my father made.. for show and tell and they didnt care as long as it wasnt sharp….
      when we had to doe a school play and dress as indians we used real guns with the bolts removed as muskets.. and also real antique muskets !! actually that shoulds a little unsafe :) i recall the teacher just took the bolts and magazines out of each rifle checked them and then that was it.. i recall one was a bsa bolt action.
      the only thing they were concerned with was i had a tomahawk with e and it was sharp and didnt have a sheath.. :) so .. i never new guns were “bad” till i traveled outside of the valley and suddenly realised not everybody was as tolerant as us :)

    3. The homicide rate in New Zealand is 0.9 people per 100,000, in the US that number is 3.8 people per 100,000. That’s almost four times higher, so much for gun control causing more violence.

      1. Steve,

        Take New York, DC, Chicago and other urban areas with oppressive gun regs out of the statistical mix and see what happens to those numbers.

    4. Have you noticed how liberals want to focus on only gun deaths? They never want to discuss total deaths in countries with gun control. If nobody has guns, the weak fall prey to the strong, but they don’t seem to count those deaths as serious. In 2014 London was named the most dangerous city in Europe. Quite a distinction for a gun-free country!

  7. You seem to have forgotten that Waco wasn’t an instance of gun violence by nutters. It was an instance of police overstepping their grounds and a group of American’s refusing to have their rights trod all over. Read the Wikipedia article. It was one of the largest mass murders by the US government in history. The media sensationalized it, and unfortunately many, many lesser educated folk bought the media line without asking any questions or reading up on it further.

    The Branch Davidians had done nothing wrong. There were ‘possible allegations’ of a few firearms offenses. But nothing worth having the military called in (and idgaf what ‘police’ or government branch it was, if it wears a military uniform, operates military hardware (including tanks) then it’s the military) and have your entire community gunned down and burnt alive from having incendiary weaponry fired at your fuel reserves knowingly.

    It was murder. Cold blooded murder. A great example of the US political arms, governments, and law enforcement overstepping their bounds. It’s bad enough that you guys can be arrested for ‘resisting arrest’ just for walking away from a cop even though you hadn’t committed any crime that could have caused an arrest that you’re allegedly resisting, but now they also can ‘detain’ you, a magical special place between ‘under arrest’ and ‘free to go’ that they can use whenever they feel like it for whatever reason they want.

    The Branch Davidians were the first deaths besides the Ruby Ridge Massacre (which was a bunch of people killed for their ethnic background) in the long downward spiral of your rights vanishing into thin air because American’s sit on their hands, listen to either 1. conspiracy nuts who just make you look like an idiot and don’t know how to lobby effectively and instead damage the cause, or 2. the government and media, obeying exactly what they want you to obey.

    You have to take a safe middle ground. Read the facts on everything you can. Try wiki, it’s a solid neutral source. Question everything, but don’t go loopy about it, ie: if I hear one more conspiretard talking about ‘false flag’ this false flag that, everything is a false flag then bitchslap yourself or whoever is saying it. Generally conspiretards tend to have a huge web of lunacy and can’t not tie one conspiracy to another, so if you’re reading someplace that starts to raise kookier and kookier stuff, stop, and go back to wiki! :P

    1. Wiki’s not often Right — but what it says of the “co-“presdential”) Clintons’ Waco is True.

      Both those atrocities and the George Herbert Walker Bush administration’s murderous siege at Ruby Ridge, the shooting of Randy Weaver and his friend and the wanton slaughter of 14-years-old Sammy and Mrs Vicki Weaver were a glimpse of what’s to come, should America’s apparently irreversible slide into fascissocialism not be halted!

  8. There is no mention in the NZ Firearms law that you cannot use a firearm for home/self-defence. Its an interpretation invented by an arrogant criminal government and there criminal terrorist-sponsoring Members of Parliament (congress-people). We don’t blame our police for it either, These terrorist/bandit/criminal MPs only tell our police what to do. As you yanks say – Id rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6

  9. Look at the U.S. FBI Crime Statics on gun related crimes. Almost half of gun related crimes are committed by an ethic group that makes up 12.5% of the U.S. population. These are mostly committed in the Northeast and South regions of the country. NZ has has multicultural people in its population but none quite as where violence (Knife/Assault/Robbery/Theft/Non gun related crimes) is rampant for such a small minority of the population. Granted other races partake in the crimes and this could be attributed to the national culture.

    This is the trend and need for self defense in America, not to mention our natural right to obtain these “tools” to protect ourselves from corrupt individuals and organizations.

  10. As a responsible gun owner here in the U.S. I would go through all of the steps in NZ to own my target rifle. I love target shooting too much and feel that this is a good system for NZ. For the United States, people are pretty corrupt and really not trusting. If something like this was set in place no one in California would be able to own any type of rifle, whereas in say, Montana, Tennessee, and other states everyone would be eligible because of the attitudes of the officials who would be conducting the interviews and deciding if it is ok or not to own a firearm. I do like this system in the right setting though. It assures the correct level of maturity, commitment, and discipline to own a firearm.

  11. I know this is an old post, but I’ve been looking over the NZ gun laws and all sorts of blogs and posts and things like this and saw this : “Under the above law, putting a 20 round clip into a .22 semi-automatic rifle changes the definition of that rifle to a MSSA.”

    Do you know if an AR automatically counts as an MSSA, or is it still “A class” as long as you only own a 5 round magazine and have none of the other features mentioned?

  12. If you think NZ is expensive, then Australia is more so! I’ve started target pistol shooting, and am going through the long process of getting a handgun licence.

    1. In Queensland you have to get a “Statement of Eligibility” to join a pistol club if you don’t have a long gun licence. This is a preliminary background check by the police, and is the only thing that doesn’t cost $100s.
    2. After that, apply to join a club ($50), get approved, join the club ($340), participate in 6 months of supervised shooting (chaperoned at all times), using club ammo ($5 for 65 rounds of 22LR, all I’ve shot so far).
    3. After 6 months, apply for a Cat. H Weapons Licence (5yr is $242). The police have to wait another 28 days before looking at the application.
    4. Once the licence is issued, you then apply for a Permit To Acquire ($35). Wait for the permit to be issued.
    5. Buy the firearm specified on the PTA. Quite a bit more expensive here than the US. You’re only allowed two handguns for the first 12 months: an airpistol and either a rimfire or centrefire. The only allowable reason for having a calibre over .38 is metallic silhouette, and then it must be under .50.
    6. Shoot a minimum of four competitions per year per class (Air, rimfire, centrefire, >0.38), or six comps per year if you have a single class. Multiple classes can’t be counted on the same day.

    If this level of bureaucracy doesn’t filter out those with ill-intent or a low tolerance for BS, I don’t know what will.

    1. Yes, in Australia you spend 10% on guns and ammo, and 90% on club memberships, license renewals, permits-to-acquire, safekeeping, etc.

      Doing it for 10 years you can spend a few thousand on guns, but you’ll spend 10,000 on club fees if you belong to 3 clubs, pistol, rifle, and high-calibre/metallic silhouette.

  13. I’m a kiwi.
    I’m licensed and have a lot of guns. Its a big hobby of mine and I collect old firearms as well. Those old .30wcf’s turn my crank… …ya dig?

    This aside…

    Giving a gun to every Tom and Sally is just nuts.
    I know plenty of angry, drunken Tom’s and many stupid Sally’s.
    From cutting other peoples heads off to painting their nails, people will do weird people things. PERIOD!!!

    Our gun culture weeds out (most of) the crazy’s, moron’s and crim’s. Our firearms are locked up, are away from the kids and difficult to steal.

    So I’ll be DARNED if I’m going to let some foreigner bring that “it’s my right” gun culture here.

    HERE, in this land, you prove yourself and you earn your right!!!
    This is OUR culture, dig?

    If you don’t like it, STAY OUT OF MY COUNTRY!

    Nice article Brian. I wish upon you the biggest of bull Tahrs (if you hunt Tahr, that is…)

    1. No worries Ben. Individual rights aren’t for everybody. There’s a certain amount of responsibility that comes with them.

    2. Civil rights are unalienable. Privileges and grants are earned.

      In the US, gun dealers are required to check for crazies, morons, and crims before selling them a gun. If that checks out, the sale goes through. Seems simple enough. It’s not perfect, but then nothing ever is.

      It seems like the system in NZ is set up to discourage gun ownership from the start.

  14. I still don’t get why anyone need gun. I know the article talks about being grown up in family which own gun and learned how to use gun safely and all. Does it really justify to own gun? I ask a simple question how many times one locked out with keys in the house or drove to home from work subconsciously while on phone? My whole point here is things do happen accidentally when we do same thing again and again, that is why the big corporations rotate people on production lines so they do’t feel routine and cause accidents. One mistake and cost of that could be irrecoverable. I am more fascinated about conquering my inner peace rather than conquering gun.

    1. Owning guns to a lot of people who are unfortunate to live in a dodgy area, having a pistol is the reason you make it home at night sometimes. Having a shotgun under the bed or in the headboard or a pistol in the bedside table helps people who live in the aforementioned shitty areas or who have been broken into before sleep easier at night, knowing they can do something about any intruders. It’s about taking matters into your own hands. Firearms, are also sports, there’s target shooting, the winter biathlon (combining cross-country skiing and target shooting), competitive 3-gun shooting (where you have a rifle, pistol, and shotgun, and must complete a course as fast as possible, while shooting targets, reloading, switching weapons, and maintaining strict self-discipline.) sheet and trap shooting using shotguns and orange clays. Then there is hunting, where you can go out into the woods, and come back with something to feed yourself or your family for weeks. Pest removal doesn’t get much more humane than a bullet to the head is most cases.
      In short, guns are a lot of things to a lot of people, unfortunately some people don’t need guns so think nothing or negatively of them, they then impress these views on people around them or their local government, which is when you start getting gun control and taking away that which can mean so much to other people.

    2. I don’t need auto insurance… until I do need it and then I’m glad I have it. I can justify gun ownership in one word and that word is “history”.

    3. it’s unfortunate there are rabbits like you in the world that think you can tell wolves they can’t own guns because it hurts your feelings.

      he’s the thing about liberty, you can’t let people take it away from you, or you will end up being their slave.

      have a nice day

    4. Ram, it’s not about need. Do you need a car that can go over 80 mph? Speaking of which it sounds like you driving your car is a lot less safe than me owning my guns.

  15. Thanks for the information. I know of a number of Americans who'd like to leave liberal wacko Obamaland.

  16. That’s nucking futs! I guess a revolutionary war is out of the question, to much paperwork just to get started.

  17. Another kiwi here, you forgot to mention that the licences and endorsements last 10 years. So essentially its

    $12 per year for A Cat (Rifles and Shotguns Licence)
    $20 per year for B Cat (Pistols)

    Club fees are fair, it give you a safe place to shoot and facilities include popper, movers, barricades and various ranges to shoot all your guns, and also to socialise with other owners.

    Timing wise you can obtain an A cat licence here in 6 weeks which is not unreasonable considering what you can buy on an A cat, (AR15, Dragunovs, HK USMC, Siagas, AK47).

    Lastly one bonus in NZ is you can buy suppressors with no licence or fees, its classed as an accessory.

    I reckon NZ has got it right, and in many cases (once the process is out the way) we have better than the USA. Right now on my A cat I can have practically any rifle or shotgun I want today (no background check).

    1. Thank you for this extra bit of information. This is a great article for me as an gun owning American who has been looking into moving to New Zealand.
      Does anyone know the process in getting firearms shipped to you from family back stateside once you are able to attain all required licenses?

      1. Pretty easy, your local arms office \ police station will supply you with a permit to import (no cost). Once approved you scan\fax\email that form to US side (no doubt they will need to follow US export process) and when it comes into country customs will contact you and require the original permits in order to release the firearms.

        Often its easier to send these to customs NZ asap so they already have the paperwork.

        With Trump as your new president I assume you may already be here :)

    2. nzmr2guy,

      I carry my pistol pretty much anywhere I go, and amazingly it’s never risen up to kill anyone. I think we’re doing it somewhat right over here.

  18. Its good you got away during the Bush administration because Obama has really screwed up America. The Democrats have become so corrupt.

  19. And your poor cannot defend themselves. Considering there are well over 300 Million firearms of all sorts in America, with well over 200k documented instances of those firearms being used in self defense, half without discharging, preventing rape, burglary, robbery, kidnapping. You would expect in a liberal mindset that our streets would be covered in blood, (analogy), like the 1930’s reefer madness to marijuana,,but there not. And most violence in America is because of the war on drugs. Prohibition of anything in a free society, where 2 or more parties agree, where they are not hurting anyone else or someone else’s freedom,,is not freedom. Freedom with exception,,you can do it your own way,,if its done just how I say, is not freedom.

  20. No one ever talks of the 2.5 million or more crimes that are thwarted every year in the USA due to private citizens owning guns. Seems they only want to focus on the negative. With freedom comes danger..life is fraught with danger.

  21. New Zealand is awash with illegal underground black market firearms!

    I could jump in the car, drive to the North shore & buy a illegal .45 1911A handgun with 500 rounds of ammo in 30 minutes, or anything I wanted!
    Also I have noticed these illegal handguns in NZ are cheaper then the legally sold ones. Hell my mate just illegally purchase a gold plated fully automatic AK47 with 2x 75 round drums mags and 1000 round so f ammo.
    New Zealanders have no idea and live in denial. They think beacuse there country is at the the bottom of the world and is not land locked that somehow we are clean & uncorrupted..lol.

    Also The only reason the USA has a higher gun violence is beacuse they have a gang problem not a gun problem!

    Any way Kiwis go back to sleep now!

    1. Simon you sound like a big bad man and your mate must be the baddest gangster alive in Auckland.

      Wow you are cool.

  22. This article is full of misinformation and propaganda. The process is not costly, and the interview process is very easy. Intersting to see how the US is trying to push their agenda around the world.

  23. This article is full of so many false logics.

    I knew there was a problem when one of the gun shooting examples the author pointed out was Waco Texas, which had nothing to do with a gun nut or using guns to shootanyone, in fact the aggressor and the gun nut in that case was the Federal Government and they absolutely were at fault in that situation.

    For starters, you cannot compare a country with a measly 4.4 million primarily made up of a single culture and ethnicity to that of the United States which is 350 million people!
    I get so tired of anti-gun advocates taking a complex issue and completely and watering it down to something as simplistic as comparing it to a tiny country that has a fraction of the people and is not made up of the diverse and complex cultural issues that the United States has.

    Guns have been in the United States before it was a country, that has never changed, 40 years ago the violence with mass shootings was not as it was, this is not a gun issue and it’s not a gun control issue, it’s a mental health issue and it’s a cultural issue within Society.
    If you want to take a fair comparison of the United States to another country, then it would most likely be that of South Africa, which has the diverse ethnicity and cultural background.

    If you compare the United States to other countries in the world, it’s not even close to being number 1 on gun violence, but anti-gun advocates love to dismiss all those other countries as if somehow they don’t “count”.

    I’m a retired police officer, and I absolutely get so tired of the ridiculous false a Logics that are rooted in gun-free zones and knee jerk reactions to gun control laws that absolutely do nothing to stop somebody that is determined and hell-bent to kill other human beings.

    So the message from this article is that the United States should become a totalitarian police state that should put guns into a class of people where only those that have the money and the means to afford such a luxury or in the Constitution’s case, a right, are able to do so, and we once again start separating people out by class with their means and ability to afford such things.

    One point of the U.S was to get away from class politics within Society, and the second amendment was created as a right for everybody to prevent such ridiculous measures.

    Also, you can take many examples from restricted countries like France that have had Terror attacks lately using full military grade weapons as well as recent attacks using Vehicles such as trucks and vans to commit mass killings and the result is the same.
    Anyone driven to commit murder will find a way to do so, are we going to create knee-jerk reactions to ban trucks and vans and claim that we should all Drive tiny compact smart cars?
    Show me one single example of where restriction of guns or magazines has resulted in the prevention of targeted violence? Show me one example of where a gun-free zone has stopped somebody from going into such a Zone and committing murder?
    You can’t because there are none, it’s ridiculous. Gun-free zones are the biggest joke that have ever been created, if someone is willing to commit murder they sure as hell don’t care about it a sign that says they can’t bring their gun there. The same logic that’s behind passing gun laws to stop gun violence would be that of seeing murder can’t happen because it’s illegal on the books.
    Chicago has the strictest gun laws in the United States, and yet it’s the murder capital of the country. If any of the ridiculous Logics applied by the anti-gun crowd held true, they Chicago would be the safest city in the country.
    You know why gun violence is less in New Zealand? Because it’s a small population country isolated from any Mass populated countries that can constantly pour into its borders, and it’s not filled with a hodgepodge of diverse cultures and ethnic backgrounds that constantly divide themselves and Clash, living on top of each other in impoverished ghettos and cities.

    It’s not comprable in any way shape or form to that of how the United States is made up.

    People need to get it through their head that the United States has a very unique Melting Pot of cultures unlike that of anywhere in the world as well as a massive population of 350 million people, much of which are in dense cities.

    You want to see gun violence decreased? Start Reforming mental health laws, and get rid of the ridiculous War on Drugs that does nothing but drive violence.

    You cannot deploy absurd a gun laws like that in New Zealand in the United States and think it would have any effect whatsoever.

    You’re Talking about a country that has a population comprable to that of Colorado alone, and is mainly made up of the same ethnicity and cultural background and has nothing comprable to that of Inner city complexities like seen in Chicago or Detroit.

    There’s so much wrong with this article it can’t possibly be covered in the comment section. It absolutely ignores any legitament factors in regards to that of United States when comparing to anywhere else.

  24. It’s nice to know that guns only for the wealthy is working out well for you down there in NZ. But then again, I’m sure those who aren’t so wealthy probably disagree on how well it works.

  25. Respondents to this article are going to fall into three broad categories;

    1. Those who maintain gun ownership should be an inalienable right, have their own sense of self-worth invested in gun ownership and will countenance no argument that gun control might diminish gun violence, irrespective of the evidence. These people make a lot of noise, but they are fringe dwellers in NZ

    2. Those who are intimidated by guns and will not acknowledge any circumstances where gun ownership can be a safe and responsible choice. Almost as noisy as category 1, and also on the edges

    3. Those who are neither invested in or intimidated by gun ownership, who regard guns as legitimate tools that can be dangerous and destructive if maliciously used, and who therefore support appropriate licencing and restrictions, just as with car ownership. Quietest of the three, as majorities usually are

    In America the majority of people support stronger gun control but the agenda is set by a vocal, well-connected minority from catagory 1. That’s American democracy. In New Zealand, current gun ownership laws are bipartisan issue for the major parties, because they reflect the views of the majority of the population, who fall in to category 2. That’s New Zealand democracy.

    I’m a former soldier, a gun owner and a member of category 3

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