NZ Introduces bill for Mandatory Gun Registry, Claims No Right to Arms

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's gun control momentum may be weakening. (Screen snip, YouTube, The Guardian)

New Zealand-(Ammoland.com)- In New Zealand, the far-left government has decided a national gun registry is necessary. They have been unsuccessful in confiscating (with payment) most of the previously legally owned semi-automatic rifles in the country.  There has been massive civil disobedience among New Zealand gun owners.

The party line of the leftist government is there is no right to own guns in New Zealand. They cannot be entirely sure of that, because part of the new gun control scheme is to place into law the premise that there is no legal right to arms for New Zealanders. From npr.org:

New Zealand's government is planning to create a registry of all guns in the country and stiffen penalties on illegal gun sales and modifications. The move comes six months after a gunman killed 51 people at mosques in Christchurch.

“Owning a firearm is a privilege not a right,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Friday. “That means we need to do all we can to ensure that only honest, law-abiding citizens are able to obtain firearms licenses and use firearms.”

The majority of crimes that involve guns, she added, were committed by people who didn't have a license and who used guns that were either sold illegally or stolen

A New Zealand Academic, Alexander Gillespie, made the claim there is no right to gun ownership in New Zealand  From pri.org:

Are there any privacy concerns about this gun registry?

There was near-universal agreement for the buyback scheme but once we have the registry that two main political parties are splitting right down the middle, the concern is partly about privacy, and partly around it not being necessary. You must remember we don't have a right to own firearms. We have a privilege to own firearms.

In July, the far left PM asserted that she believed New Zealanders did not think they had a right to arms:

Ardern said that growing up in a rural farming area, she always understood New Zealanders had a practical need for owning guns.

“But at the same time I don’t think that extends to this view that every New Zealand citizen has the need and right to generally arm itself,” she said. “We’re a society that I think has always drawn that very clear distinction.”

Notice the Marxist conflation between “needs” and rights. Marxist theology holds “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”  Needs and rights are not the same thing at all.

New Zealanders had a right to arms derived from the British Empire. They followed the English lead in firearms law.

In the British Empire, until the 1920's, it was well understood that every Englishman had a right to arms. The right was not as strongly protected as the American Second Amendment.   Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm documents the development of the right in her seminal work, To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo-American Right.

After WWI, the elites in England decided to ignore that part of English heritage. The scholarship on the subject is clear.

The first real study of armed crime and firearms control was done by Colin  Greenwood, Chief Inspector, West Yorkshire Constabulary, in 1972, at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge.   Greenwood was somewhat puzzled by the English firearms laws, because they did not appear to have any effect on crime, and very little study had gone into their creation.   Firearms restrictions had been vigorously opposed before the First World War, on the grounds that they infringed on the rights of Englishmen to be armed for their own defense.  The first significant English firearms law was passed in 1920. It wasn't until the year 2000 that Greenwood wrote about the reason for English suppression of the right to arms.  From Colin Greenwood, May 15, 2000.  The term “Constitutionalists” below means British Constitutionalists:

Constitutionalists might argue about whether in Britain, Statute law can over-ride the basic principles of the Common Law, but in 1920 the Government of Britain was in fear of revolution and documents such as the. Cabinet Diaries reveal debates about the number of aircraft available for use against insurgents within the British Isles. In that climate, the registration of firearms (other than shotguns) was imposed for the purpose of “ensuring that all arms are available for redistribution to friends of the government”.

Extensive research by Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm buttresses what Colin Greenwood found.    From Guns and Violence, the English Experience, page 162:

Second, the Firearms Act of 1920, which took away the traditional right of individuals to be armed, was not passed to reduce or prevent armed crime or gun accidents.  It was passed because the government was afraid of rebellion and keen to control access to guns.

It wasn't until 1920 that any serious firearms law existed in New Zealand.

It does not appear there was any legal challenge to the New Zealand or English laws based on the rights of Englishmen.  The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, was written to create a more secure right to arms than existed in England. That foresight seems prescient.

In the proposed legislation, according to the nzherald.co.nz:

  • There will be a  national registry of all guns.
  • All gun ownership and all gun sales will be tracked.
  • There will be a 5 year limit to a gun license, which will have to be renewed to continue ownership.
  • A gun license will be required to purchase gun parts and accessories
  • A separate license will be required for shooting clubs
  • Rules for gun dealers to obtain a license will be tightened.
  • A dealers license will be required for more activities than currently.
  • The law accedes to the United Nations protocols on firearms and ammunition controls
  • There will be more offences and higher penalties than at present
  • There will be changes to allow fees to be changed, as part of regulations, to cover the cost of these new laws

One of the new crimes will be to give false information on applications to register firearms.

The max penalty is two years in jail, with up to a $20,000 fine.

This appears to come from the Canadian experience. When Canada instituted their last firearms registry, gun owners fought back by registering numerous items, such as grease guns, staple guns, and nail guns. The far left New Zealand government seems intent on making that civil disobedience a serious crime.

The Canadian law, after 16 years and a billion dollars wasted, repealed their registry.

New Zealand gun owners are fighting back against the emotional onslaught of the far left party. The National Party is refusing to support the new level of restrictions on legal gun owners.

The first reading of the new law is scheduled for September 24th. The passage is in doubt.


About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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