Opinion: Gun owners should stop whining about the new laws

OPINION: In the aftermath of the Christchurch terror attack, one thing that surprised many New Zealanders was how easy it was for the alleged gunman to alter a legally bought gun into a weapon capable of such mass destruction.

Military style weapons were restricted in New Zealand and required a special licence. But a semi-automatic weapon could be bought on a regular firearms licence, which the alleged gunman had.  

He was able to legally buy the parts needed to convert his guns into military-style, semi-automatic weapons. While the conversion was illegal, it was not hard to do.

Although there were restrictions on the type of ammunition the alleged gunman could use, buying the 30- and 100-round cartridges he is thought to have used was legal.

Armed with an effective arsenal of guns, he then massacred 51 people at two mosques in a very short time.

It was reported at the time the alleged gunman chose to move to New Zealand partly because of our lax gun laws.

There were many questions after the terror attack, but one was did, New Zealand need such loose gun laws?

The answer is no.

You should not be able to buy the guns and gun parts that can so easily make a weapon a military-style, semi-automatic one capable of killing on mass.  

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was right to tighten up the law and try and take these weapons out of circulation.

It wasn't a knee-jerk reaction, it was a response to a situation most of us found shocking.

Getting rid of semi-automatic weapons, the parts that can turn them to military-style weapons and large capacity magazines will make a difference.

It was just a shame it took an event of the magnitude of the Christchurch attack to make this happen.

 

Opinion: Gun owners should stop whining about the new laws

The power of the gun lobby and the opinion of a few vocal gun owners had meant successive governments had shied away from tightening up the laws.

On Thursday details of the gun buy-back scheme were released.

Owners of now-illegal guns will get up to 95 per cent of the value of their guns depending on its age and condition. The compensation will be lower for older guns and those in a poor state.

It didn't take long for gun owners to start complaining, with many of the complaints focussed on the amount of money they will be out of pocket.

Competitive shooter Kyle Scott told Newshub he's "very, very annoyed".

Scott's Colt AR-22 - a semi-automatic - retails for about $1800. But the Government's market value for it is only $600.

And because the gun is used, Scott will only get $420 for it - not even a quarter of what he paid.

"I don't understand why the Government is taking something away from you, and then turning around and saying, 'Oh but we're only going to give you a couple of dollars for it'."

When asked how much he thought he'd lose overall for his gun collection, he said: "Around $15,000."

Scott's point is valid and I feel for him, no one likes to be out of pocket, but there is a bigger picture here.

The new gun laws benefit society as a whole, and while it is rough for certain individuals, they will help stop this type of attack from happening again.

Opinion: Gun owners should stop whining about the new laws

The problem is New Zealand is a society where the needs of the individuals are often placed higher than the needs of society overall.

Too much voice is given to the few who will suffer, and not enough to the majority who will benefit.

The old gun laws are a prime example, these laws benefitted a few and were highly dangerous for the rest of us.

There should be no dispute over the tightening up of these laws.

We don't need those guns, they have been used in New Zealand's worst terror attack, and getting rid of them will make New Zealand a safer place. It is a no brainer.  

If a few people are inconvenienced or out of pocket, then that is a shame, but there is a greater good here.

The 51 people who died trump any concerns someone might have they won't be able to shoot as many possums.

These weapons should never have been available in New Zealand or any country, and getting rid of them is the right thing to do for all of us.

Mark Longley is the managing editor of Newshub Digital

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