Monday, 16 December 2019

Parliament's knee-jerk gun ban has led mass civil disobedience


“Parliament’s knee-jerk ban on firearms has led to mass civil disobedience and made us less safe as a country”, according to ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The rushed Arms Amendment Act – supported by every party except ACT – has been the biggest political failure of the year.

“Politicians bullied and scapegoated law-abiding firearms owners, made complex law in nine days, undertook almost no consultation, offered inadequate compensation, and made a raft of last-minute changes just days before the ‘buy-back’ was due to finish.

“The end result has been expensive, ineffective, and insulting. Now, in an act of mass disobedience, tens of thousands of firearms will go underground.

“We’ve also seen a privacy breach in which the personal details of 37,000 firearms owners were left exposed on the Police website. Police has all but admitted that Parliament’s rushed legislation put it under massive pressure and prevented it from doing due diligence.

“ACT warned in April:

‘…good intentions and abrupt action do not guarantee good and lasting outcomes. There is very real danger that we will make bad law in the process. What happens when half of these firearms aren’t turned in or bought back and disappear from the radar? How will it make New Zealanders safer when these firearms are no longer subject to any sort of regulatory oversight?’

“Parliament should have listened to the voices telling it to slow down, consult, and make law properly. There are now serious risks to public safety. The number of black market firearms has the potential to increase exponentially.

“Whether the Prime Minister made her decision to ban firearms for ideological reasons or for good PR, the way she has gone about it has been a disaster. Jacinda Ardern was willing to appear on CNN in the immediate aftermath of her firearms ban, but now that the ‘buy-back’ has unravelled she doesn’t want to be held to account.

“The next government will need to fix up this Parliament’s mistakes, by properly consulting the firearms community, making sensible law changes, and giving firearms owners a fair go.

“ACT believes we should again amend the Arms Act in a way that promotes safety, rescinds some of the recent restrictions, and saves taxpayers potentially hundreds of millions of dollars. We would also insist on a proper policy process, inviting the firearms community and experts to a genuine consultative effort to design better gun laws. ACT has already carried out this process itself, coming up with its own policy. If gun laws are worth changing, it is worth doing right.”