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.


  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.

      1. Guns aren’t used for protection in NZ, unless you are a criminal (it is illegal to use a gun for protection here). Even the police don’t carry guns on their person, they are in a locked box in the car.

        1. How do you protect yourself in NZ then? I assume there is violent crime. If a large, violence inclined individual kicks in your door, and are carrying a baseball bat, what is a petite woman to do to prevent an assault or murder? Physical resistance seems futile in that situation, and the police can’t be there in 20 seconds, correct?

          1. As a petite woman living in New Zealand, I can tell you that very few large, violence-inclined individuals kick down doors in New Zealand. The murder rate in the US is five times higher than in NZ and in NZ, the majority of people who are murdered are done so by people they know, not strangers kicking down doors. I feel way safer with a well-funded justice system and welfare system and strict gun laws than I would if people had access to more guns.

          2. I live in the state of Maine USA. We have constitutional carry. That means no permit needed to carry open or concealed. We had a 2/100000 murder rate. An armed society is a polite society. Not every murder was a gun, in fact most murders were knife or vehicular.

        2. well first we have 10 times the population you have and not being able to protect myself is submissive. remember “its better to have and not need it than need it and not have it. NZ is the paranoid state give me a break. SOS

        3. Criminals by definition care not what the law says. They will have theur guns. The law abiding are required to cower and die. The police will be along shortly to write up a report. Reality sucks.
          With firearms there wil be tragedies. Without them, there will be genocides. To all of the antigun folks: if you’ve never needed a firearm for protection of your life- count yourself fortunate- many have never enjoyed such a luxury.

        1. Our (U.S.) founders were quite intelligent and well read individuals. They understood that every government in history has turned on its own people. A government can rot internally as ours is now. We are becoming a failed state as the elite want more control over the masses and even fight our President everyday as he threatens their power and their access to the government coffers. We now kill the the innocent before and after birth. This is why we have the 2nd amendment in our constitution. Not for target shooting or hunting. There may be a second civil war on our horizon. God forbid.

          1. Well said, and it’s not paranoid like some idiot in another comment said. Governments have turned on their people in the past and it will happen again. At least in the land I love, we the people, have the ability to communicate our unwillingness to be pawns like many citizens have in other countries. Firearms give us the freedom and liberty that is our unalienable right as citizens of the greatest country in the planet.

        2. Criminals. Are you awake? You cannot legislate away things from folks who disregard the law. It is also a fact that the police rarely show up in time to stop any event in progress. Keeping arms is a cheap insurance policy against those who view our lives as disposable.

        3. I dont’t know… perhaps a terrist who patiently underwent the process to obtain a semiautomatic weapon legally just to kill 50 people who he knew were not ready to or capable of defebding themselves. I get it, not every person needs a gun or should have one. However, what you fail to realize is that guns are a part of our society now and unless you can completely erase them conceptually, destroy them ALL or guarentee that only responsiple people own them, there needs to be someone with one ready to defend. It is the weapon of choice for the world. And if you don’t think it takes a person with a gun to stop another person with a gun, please stop calling the police. Anyone can get one and even make one. Yes, make one. They are just metal and plastic. Perhaps we should focus more on why we have the desire to kill.

  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:


  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.

        1. Remove the deaths related to drugs???? A death is still a death. That statistic is for a country as a whole don’t say that number is higher because of drugs and different areas have a different amount of guns.

          1. Read the Uniform Crime Report, F.B.I.
            Department of Justice,
            Caution against ranking related to crime.
            You will see that the U.S.A. has a far différent situation relating to population, drugs, and profit.
            If you merely consider gun availability, and exclude relevant factors, background checks and that illegal drugs are easily available on the black market, and that criminals circumvent all laws, you will understand that crime in relation to population us relatively low as gangs of all sorts are engaged in turf wars and compete with one another.

            Your everyday gun owner is not committing murder or crime sprees, it is a dedicated few the Court routinely release to reoffend.

            These people are prohibited from obtaining and possession of firearms so no matter how they got them, and not at a gun store, if a Police Officer catches them, they will be arrested.

            Making laws to harass law abiding people is wrong.

            Murder is illegal, yet people continue to murder and not always with guns.

            So there is ample proof that gun control does not equal crime control.

            Criminals have parole and Probation except when arrive at the morgue, then they move to permanent housing, the cemetery.

            When deaths are caused by criminals, put them in Prison, not law abiding People.

    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!

      1. When I have researched how accurate and reliable Wikipedia is the result was that it is usually more accurate than a college textbook. The method they use where facts can be challenged and corrected makes Wiki a very reliable source of information. Much more so than many other sources of politically or culturally biased information

  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?

    1. I know this is way after the fact….
      But just encase it is still of interest to you. I’m not hugely knowledgeable, but can clarify a few details. On a standard gun licence you are able to own a pistol grip semi-auto rifle, however the gun stock’s are modified to link the stock to the bottom of the pistol grip (I assume this is to limit freedom of movement/function). A .22 can have a 15 round clip and larger calibre .223 are limited to 5 rounds – I assume this is to limit the damage a person could do if they were to use the weapons against others.

  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.

      1. That is simply not true. No such thing is required in the US that’s why crazies, morons, and crims get guns.

        In NZ, gun dealers are required to check for a Gun Licence (only obtain through the Police) before selling them a gun. If that checks out, the sale goes through. That weeds out the crazies, morons, and crims.

  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.

    5. Ram:
      You ignore the truth with your fairy stories abd poor understanding of the English-language.
      One day, whilst walking a county road with many farms, a rural area, a dog staggered out of the bushes, foaming at the snout, caked with mud and obviously Rabid, he snapped at me, I drew my department issued Glock 17 and fired, putting the suffering creature out of his misery.

      That is why people need guns, and not just in rural areas, I have been attacked many times by criminals not just as a Police Officer, while I was shopping, or fueling and other usually safe activities, as I always stayed away from dangerous areas when off duty.

      And note: all firearms Dealers, gun stores, pawn shops, anywhere guns are sold, are licensed by B.A.T.F. and must inscribe all forms and perform a mandatory backround check with F.B.I. no exceptions.
      A Police Officer’s credentials or a valid concealed carry license is acceptable as proof.
      Criminals obtain guns on the black market, not at gun stores.

  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 :)

        1. nzmr2guy:
          As most people here do NOT criticize your leaders, Please
          Do not meddle with those of the U.S.A.
          The current President is not a concern of yours.

          Thank you.

    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.

      1. no…. no you’re not…. when you live in a country where schools have active shooter drills (as we have fire or earthquake drills)… you’re doing it so f***ing wrong it’s not funny

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

    1. That’s funny! Democrats are corrupt. I wouldn’t recommend a visit here our conservative party if more left then the Democrats.

  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.

    1. Are you talking about poor Republican voters who got tax cuts for the rich while they slave away at minimum wage jobs? Slavery was never a thing here but in America it still is.

      1. You really have no clue who gut the tax cuts do you? The economy is booming and the stock market is keeps breaking record highs. Companies here are begging for workers and wages are up.

        1. And just like that all 2018 earnings were wiped out. Government is shut down. Federal pay raises (just normal cost of living increase) has been canceled. Tariffs are causing entire companies to close or move off shores. Farmers have bumper crops that are rotting. People will quickly find out that they are now paying more in taxes as they can’t do line deductions and insurance went up. So much winning.

  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 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 &

    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.

    1. Sensible guns laws would work in the USA just like they have everywhere else.

      That’s a fact. Try it what you got to lose?

      1. Sorry Tim, they don’t. Where guns are banned in places like Chicago, gun violence is very high. Detroit, Michigan had some of the highest gun crime until a law allowing concealed carrying of a pistol was enacted. Crime has dropped significantly here. The process to get a gun in Michigan requires background checks through the FBI. The gun store can refuse to sell to anyone if there are suspicious of the buyers intent. The Concealed Pistol License (CPL) requires another background check and that you submit your fingerprints as part of the package. The license is renewed every five years.
        It sounds like the consensus in this comment section is that in the U.S., we walk in the gun store and walk out two minutes later with a gun. That’s not how it works. If someone would take the time to do the due diligence (FBI stats) you’d find that there are a lot of other things included in the U.S. gun crime including suicide. Just like the knife crime in the U.K., a majority of the violent crime is committed by gang or drug related issues.

      2. Tim wrote: “Sensible guns laws would work in the USA just like they have everywhere else.”

        Do you even realize that you are tacitly saying that the many thousands of local, county, special district, state and federal gun control laws are not “sensible” – that only a lot more new gun control laws can be “sensible”?

        “That’s a fact.”

        No, Tim: that’s an opinion.

        Please state a list – with specificity and not a generality – of any crimes prevented by a gun control law.

        [HINT: You cannot.]

        “Try it what you got to lose?”

        Rights lost are seldom – if ever – recovered.

    2. Nz has a reasonably diverse enthnicly given its origins as a British colony, but yes a roughly 70% white population, and the US has what, 60%? So we both have white majorities.
      Most of the mass shootings in both NZ and the US seem to be committed by White Males, so your point about Metal Health is pertinent as it seems to be the most common thread, a lot of the Recent mass shootings seem to be narcissistically motivated.
      Anyway I’m a white male in NZ and I own several hunting rifles, a 7.62 Semi Automatic and a shotgun. I’m happy with our license process as it helps weed out the crazies and the crims. One growing problem we have now through is more Crims in NZ can get their hands on illegal guns since Firearms are now no longer required to be individually registered. There is a direct correlation between relaxing gun laws in NZ and rising gun related violence.
      Since I can legally buy pretty much any kind of firearms I want as long as I have the right license category then I have no problem with our system, unfortunately removing the registration requirements allowed more guns to slip onto the black market.
      Crims in NZ mainly just use guns on each other but the Police are facing a rise in gun violence too

  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.

    1. Mate what are you talking about? The license fee is under $100 US. You can buy a firearm in NZ for under $100 US.
      Cheap as Chips

  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

  26. Great article. I’ll be travelling to NZ this winter and driving a van around the south island. I’d like to hunt some small game and am curious how complicated it is to A) bring in a Rem 700 bolt action rifle without a licence (because my state of WA doesn’t require one) and B) could I legally sell it there so I don’t have to bring it back? C) would it be safe to even carry around (hidden of course) in the van while cruising the south island for 6 weeks?

  27. you dont mention that new zealand has the worlds largest gun shop that opened its new store in dunedin last week….(feb 2018)….check out gun city…head office in auckland….check it out on the web…as a aussie farmer im cut down by red tape…in nz even silencers are legal…dont know too much about nz licenses but on visiting nz i called into gun city in auckland….unreal does not even try to explain this mega shop…..the nz police dont carry guns….do they know about gun city…..??????…

  28. Good gun policy or bad gun policy probably won’t make a difference in America, because the fact is, American’s are cooked… that’s why the world now laughs at them where once we often admired them….

  29. Just the fact that a comment you want to put on here for others to read has to be approved should tell you a lot about freedom of speech and who’s opinion matters and how it is selected. Not a place I want to live.

    1. Lots of sites moderate their comments. It’s not a public forum, it’s a private server that they own and thus they can restrict speech as they please. Note that the document says “Congress shall.” Enlightenment thinkers never meant for it to apply to the private sphere no matter how much trolls and armchair philosophers wish it were so. Either way, most sites moderate their comment sections for obscene content, personal attacks, spam, and the like. And it’s clear that the admin of this site doesn’t filter against conservative viewpoints, even if they are expressed in whole essays of nothing but hyperbole.

  30. I feel like NZ goes a bit overboard. For instance, the no-go for personal/home defense would definitely not fly in areas with high crime or in very remote areas. The same goes for the bans on old semi-autos. Lots of people here collect antique guns. And I can’t imagine someone having any success trying to gun people down with an old Enfield. On the other hand, shotguns are far more deadly and seem to be the guns of choice in American mass shootings. Still, most of these requirements are exactly the kind of sensible gun laws that need to be put into place in the US.

    1. You can shoot someone in NZ in self defence, but you have to goto court and prove your actions were justified, you’ll likely get off a manslaughter charge but end up with a firearm charge and a fine…. But hey at least you’d be alive.

  31. Why can’t you americans understand that when you leave the US your constitution no longer applies. You leave the US to move to a different country because its a different country with completely different laws. Get it? No, you don’t, because you’re arrogant with no intention of understanding and assimilating into the local culture.

    Don’t like it? Go home.

  32. “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”.

    If the number is correct, that is a death rate 4 times higher than in Spain – where I currently live. So much for the extreme Nanny State.

    The burrocratic hurdles are nowwhere near. I have a few AR15s and one, as it is, would violate US FED law (unless I did a huge amount of paperwork) and a few US states as well. In fact, not only in Spain, but in continental Europe you can buy pretty much any “military-style” rifle that is sold in a “free state” in the US. As in NZ, I must have an approved gun safe (rifles and handguns only) – but only if i buy a rifle/handgun. Rifle/shotgun license is very simple. Hunting license (20-50 euros a year) or belong to a shooting Federation 60-150€ yr. Range/club membership is not required (100-300 yr). Obtain license is criminal background check, once approved. Month laster a one day test written text and basic shotgun test (has not changed in 30 yrs). Cost 30€. Handgun is truly the only “major” hurdle. Must belong to a shooting federation and take a shooting club course and have a min. score (50/100). The course varies from 0€ (if a member of a club/range) to a high of $300. Time can be 3 weeks – 2-3 days a week on average. The test is simply to the min. score and NOT make ANY safety violations (DQ’d). Rifle-shotgun lic. is good for 5 yr. Handgun for 3.

    In view of a FAR lesser gun crime rate and the avail. and overall relative ease of weapons availability, it seems to me that the above statement in the article is more a far-fetched fantasy in order to justify the unjustifiable. I am confident if gun laws were relaxed – as in less burrocratic, it would NOT change the gun crime rate one bit. Gun crime is simply not done with legal weapons.

    I think one should Note that Germany has 3 times the gun ownership rate than in spain, but has a tiny gun homicide rate that is far lower than Spain’s already low rate. While obtaining licenses in Germany is a bit more cumbersome than in Spain, it is more lax in weapons purchase, munitions and the avail. of suppressors (the only part that illegal in Spain to possess)

    IT should also be noted that only random shooting nutcase in Spain was in a military base. In addition, it seems – baring terrorists – that random public shootings seem to be an “angry white man” epidemic that is simply not seen in other countries and cultures – despite those having a having homicide rates of 5 to 30 times that of the US or 50-100 times that of Europe, NZ or Australia.

    The problem seems to be fads (like the killing of German tourists in FL (90s) or “Road Rage” shooting in the LA in the 80s) and/or culture. After all there is only ONE legal gun store in MX and it is run by the army – needless to say getting a license is harder than any place in the EU – you need to even prove you are gainfully employed.

  33. BTW Brian – you appear to be more confused than my father. Fast cars, guns and liberal policies – it is akin to a Vegan who loves and eats porterhouse steaks and enjoys big game hunting.

  34. Well, this didn’t age well.

    March 14, 2019
    Unarmed, law abiding citizens massacred, because they couldn’t protect themselves, by someone who doesn’t give a crap about gun laws. Criminals are like that.

    1. Real life examples…..Huh. That’s what firearms are for. Emergencies. Emergencies happen whether or not the police have arrived yet.

  35. “Gun Control” really seemed to work well today in Chrischurch. Or NOT. Anyone ready to move to a complete ban yet? No? Of course, since y’all like to see kids die. Pathetic “Gun Control” Absolute trash piece here

  36. Looks like the gun laws didn’t help after all. Just goes to show you Evil is Evil, laws don’t stop evil they condemn it.

    1. The reason the laws didn’t work was due to them being too lax and far too easy access to muiliple shot weapons, the shooter no doubt moved to NZ from Australia because he had much easier path to semi automatics which are restricted in Australia. No mass shooting in oz since semis were outlawed . But of course the ultra right wing gun nuts will think differently as they lose access to their toys. BTW I don’t want all guns to be outlawed , but there has to be very strict access and the reasons why you need a weapon Have to REALLY stack up, not just because you like the look of them or they make you feel big.

  37. I think the point here is the result was the same, regardless of their stricter requirements people still died. If he didn’t have a gun he would have probably made a bomb. The death toll would have probably been higher.

  38. Like Geoff, I am also a Kiwi, a former soldier and in category three of his list. I have no concern that there are many firearm owners in New Zealand where firearms are tools for pest control, hunting or euthanising sick livestock. But, unlike Geoff, I have never personally owned a firearm and have never felt the need to acquire one. I believe most New Zealanders are fairly relaxed about ownership of firearms used as tools and would also be in his third category.
    The decision to ban center-fire semi-automatics has the overwhelming support of New Zealanders because they are the most lethal in the wrong hands and are not seen as essential tools for legitimate gun owners.
    The need to own a firearm for self defense seems to reflect American culture as is evidenced by the majority of the posts here. But most Europeans,Japanese, Koreans and Australasians feel perfectly safe without them.

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