Thursday, March 21, 2019

NZ gun ban

I, of course, assume that the Prime Minister of NZ doesn't have her own security detail. Surely she doesn't have armed guards to protect her at the same time she disarms Kiwi citizens. Banish the thought! 


  1. As a New Zealander, I will tell you that I have been actually pretty ignorant about gun laws in New Zealand. I thought that basically hardly anyone had them or could get them, and that you could only get them for hunting, pest control, etc. I am not the only one either. Many people that I've talked to thought the same thing. When the news broke out about the shooting in Christchurch, I was surprised that there was a big push for a ban.

    My understanding now is that the ban is on military style weapons. I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand I feel that some guns are overkill (excuse the pun), but on the other hand, I really agree with the 2nd ammendment and a citizen's right to bear arms. Even on this matter of military weapons, it cuts both ways. It has been argued that an ordinary citizen does not need a military style weapon to defend themselves. But is that really the case? What if the country gets invaded, and the citizens need to defend their country? Would not a military style weapon be needed, since they become involuntary soldiers in a sense anyway?

    There is now a call for everyone in the country who owns these military grade guns to hand them in. Somehow, I think the number is going to fall somewhat short.


  3. I really admire Steve as an intellect, generally astutely drawing relevant, necessary or category distinctions.

    When it comes to anything to do with guns or gun control, I am reminded of the extreme influence of cultural and family conditioning. The pro-gun position seems, among most Western nations, to be pretty parochial.

    Restrictions on gun acquisition are intended to operate on a population level. A tighter constraint on guns coming into a nation and/or being available for acquisition has the effect over time of reducing gun availability (on average). There is a good proportion of guns that are not re-sold or re-circulated so that a squeeze on initial acquisition filters down to lower and lower availability of guns for second-hand acquisition.

    That seems like a good idea to me.

    When it comes to country leaders, it seems to me pretty obvious that they are in a fairly unique position of risk (from assassination of other politically-motivated violence) compared with the general population. It seems to me to be pretty reasonable for country leader's bodyguards to be armed with guns because of the leader's unique risk profile.

    I live in Australia. My dad grew up in an era where guns were common place. Dad used to love weekends away shooting kangaroos. I had a rifle in my house growing up (with ammo). I have no serious in principle objection to hunting, say. But it seems pretty obvious to me that gun control in Australia has been an enormous good. Although not everyone willingly wants to disarm, constraints operating at a population level over time obviously have a positive impact on the level of gun violence.

    One might say that criminals do not willingly disarm so that any disarming would disproportionately affect law-abiding citizens. However, that only really works in the short-term. Not all guns are re-sold so that less guns initially sold puts constraints on the availability of guns on the second-hand market for nefarious purposes. And even if you have acquired a gun, that won't help you if you cannot acquire ammo

    1. Politicians routinely shield themselves from the onerous consequences of policies they impose on the masses. I'm not qualified to address the specifics in NZ or Down Under, but in many parts of the world there are high crime areas where private citizens are regularly subject to violence. So I don't think a head of state has a unique risk profile.

    2. i) In the nature of the case, gun bans/gun confiscation may lower gun-related violence. But the relevant comparison would be whether that lowers homicide rates or other violence crimes. Take the spiraling knife-attacks in Britain.

      ii) To my knowledge, it's even illegal to have pepper spray Down Under.

      iii) Finally, there's the issue of principle. Do individuals have an inalienable right of self-defense? Even if gun bans/confiscation lower some crime categories, that doesn't justify denying individuals the right to protect themselves (or their dependents).