Sunday, June 12, 2016

New Zealand CrimeThink on Guns for Self Defense

I have considered a trip to New Zealand, or to Australia.  Australia makes it very difficult to bring in hunting guns.  Not quite impossible, but you must apply for a permit to possess guns in Australia. It is fairly involved, including such things as sending them a letter from your local police chief months in advance of your trip.  New Zealand requires that you obtain a temporary firearms license, but it appears much easier to obtain, mostly done online. You are not required to pay any fees until you arrive in New Zealand, and the temporary license is good for a year or until you leave, whichever occurs first.  Both Australia and New Zealand have tremendous hunting opportunities.

When I was looking at the requirements for a temporary license, I noticed the requirements for a standard license.  While severe by American standards, it is less burdensome than many countries.  From
Someone will arrange to visit you. They will interview you and check your firearms security arrangements. They will arrange to interview your referees.
You will have difficulty being deemed 'fit and proper' to possess or use firearms if you have:
  • a history of violence
  • repeated involvement with drugs
  • been irresponsible with alcohol
  • a personal or social relationship with people deemed to be unsuitable to be given access to firearms
  • indicated an intent to use a firearm for self-defence.

The last bullet point caught my attention.  You have to be very careful what you say or write in New Zealand.  If you have ever indicated an intent to use a firearm for self-defense, you are likely to be disqualified from owning one. 

In the United States, self defense is the primary purpose most people give for owning firearms. Self Defense used to be a pillar of English law, but as the British Empire tightened control over its overseas possessions, self defense was removed as a reason for owning weapons.  An attempt to disarm the American colonies was the spark that set off the American revolution.  The 1837 revolt/mutiny in India brought about severe changes in the weapons law by the British rulers.  Before the revolt/mutiny, Indians could own whatever weapons they could afford. After the Mutiny/Revolt was defeated, the new law required residents to apply for a permit to own weapons.

Self defense was not considered a proper reason for a permit.  A variation of that law was imported to England and Wales after the First World War.  Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm has documented how police regulation, rather than legislation,  eliminated the right to keep and carry weapons for self defense from English law.

The reasoning is obvious.  If self defense is a legitimate reason to own weapons, then every member of the polity can claim the right.  Removing the right to own weapons for self defense was a clear and calculated move by the British governing elite.

That concept transferred to the rest of the British commonwealth.  Restrictions on weapons for self defense were exported to Canada, Australia, and New Zealand in the 1920s.  India kept its British Empire weapons restrictions after independence, with slight revisions. As in England and Wales, it is police regulation that has been used to de-legitimize the use possession of weapons for self-defense in New Zealand.  From
The Arms Act and associated regulations are silent regarding the ownership or possession of firearms for the purposes of self-defense.  However, the Arms Code (a firearms safety manual and guidance document produced by the Police and the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council (NZMSC) and provided to license applicants) states the following:
Self-defence is not a valid reason to possess firearms. The law does not permit the possession of firearms ‘in anticipation’ that a firearm may need to be used in self-defence.

Citizens are justified in using force in self-defence in certain situations. The force that is justified will depend on the circumstances of the particular case. Every person is criminally responsible for any excessive use of force against another person.

A firearm is a lethal weapon. To justify the discharge of a firearm at another person the user must hold a honest belief that they or someone else is at imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm.[41]

All of these weapons laws are based on fear of armed revolt to overthrow the existing power structure.  The actual revolt succeeded in the United States, failed in India, and never was attempted in England and Wales, Canada, New Zealand, or Australia.

England and Wales, Canada, and Australia, and New Zealand had low crime rates before and after they de-legitimized the ownership of weapons for self defense.  The weapons law had no effect on crime.

To an American, it is a strange notion that merely talking about using weapons to defend yourself, could bar one from owning weapons.  It makes the appreciation of the Second Amendment acute.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
Link to Gun Watch

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Be very careful traveling to new Zealand or Australia. when your visa ends they will help you get on the plane and if you miss your plane you may spend months in jail. the people I have communicated with there are chomping at the bit to get their gun rights back. their immigration has no sense of humor, they are very strict. I was going to go there once to work until I checked it out. I would not go there just for a visit.