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How many deaths would gun registration prevent?

If you’re in New Zealand and you haven’t heard about the recent shooting in Whangarei, you’re living under a rock (where did you get internet access to read this?). This short article has nothing to do with the specifics of that horrible event and the ongoing investigation – the families of all concerned have been through enough, and there’s plenty of coverage out there if you want more “details” (read: speculation).

Because human beings tend to be macabre and sensationalist, we often focus on the details of how a person committed a crime, or killed other people, before we focus on the “why”. Thankfully, media discourse around the above case has slowly rounded the corner and is now raising questions around mental health treatment availability and suitability. How we as a society treat our most vulnerable is a stark reflection of the state of our country. So far, it’s not a good look.

Should there be a gun register in New Zealand?

When we start talking about murder weapons, satisfying that macabre and sensationalist tendency, people ask the questions – Where did they come from? Should we be able to get these? Could Police have done more? What can we do to prevent this happening again?

I’m going to answer that last question very quickly before diving into the rest; Better equip our mental health services and police force to do their distinct and relative jobs.

So, here is a breakdown of why the registration question comes up:

Media and non-shooters are unaware of what the current gun laws in the country are. Unfortunately, so are many politicians, and even Police who enforce the rules can have a serious shortage of operational knowledge.

The Greens firearm policy has not changed since 2014. All items are as expected from this party. Except number 4. This doesn't exist in New Zealand - this is from some other country's laws. Canada, maybe?
The Greens firearm policy has not changed since 2014. All items are as expected from this party. Except number 4. This doesn’t exist in New Zealand – this is from some other country’s laws. Canada, maybe?

Non-shooters are often only exposed to guns in violent media and political discourse from countries such as the USA and the UK – and this forms their perception of guns and how they are used. The reality in NZ is quite different, but unfortunately this is not communicated to them in an accessible manner.

Mr Cahill in his natural habitat. Image credit: NZPA
Mr Cahill in his natural habitat. Image credit: NZPA

The Police Association (not Police, but the union-type body that represents them) likes the idea of a gun register and strong restrictions on civilian arms ownership – so when they get asked questions by those who don’t understand the law as it stands, the response is often “yes we should register, yes we should ban X type of weapon.” Chris Cahill is the President of the Association, and often its spokeperson. He is also often proven to be generating or referencing false statements, or largely inaccurate numbers, which distort the public view on firearms and legal ownership in NZ.

So, the media asks “Should we register all guns”, the Police Association says “Absolutely”, and Joe Public thinks that that sounds logical, and some very authoritative people have backed up this logical conclusion. So, the purpose of this article, before I get too far off topic, is to introduce the non-shooting, non-hunting public to facts that most shooters are aware of, but which don’t get equal voice in a discussion that would affect the rights and responsibilities of a large swathe of society with, potentially, very little or no upside at all.

Why don’t we register guns in New Zealand?

In the Land of the Long White Cloud, we do things a bit differently. And that’s generally accepted to be a good thing. Kiwis change the world by doing things differently. One thing that we do, which is very different from many countries, is that we “register” or licence the person, not necessarily the firearm.

I personally think this is a great system. In order to legally purchase, own or use a firearm, you must have been vetted by the police and found to be a “fit and proper person” to use an item which is practical, fun and cool, but has serious potential to do harm if in the wrong hands. Your spouse and other referees are consulted by a police vetting officer, and your home and its level of security is signed off as well.

When we make laws that restrict what firearms owners can do, we generally affect those law-abiding people mentioned above. Criminals are not affected by laws targeting firearm licence holders. They’re affected by laws around criminal misuse of guns, and the sentences they get for falling afoul of these rules. Most firearm owners would agree that we need to be much stricter on criminals who offend with firearms, to disincentivise illegally holding weapons, stealing them from people’s homes in the first place, or committing crimes with them. The shooting community would also love to see Police have more resource to solve crimes in which firearms are involved, especially thefts.

But we actually do register guns in New Zealand

New Zealand did have a firearms register a long time ago. Implemented in 1920, after periods of civil unrest and an influx of small arms brought home by soldiers returning from The Great War, a compulsory gun registry, including permits to procure for any firearm sale, was promoted by police and enacted as law. In the early 1980’s, after over six decades of having a gun register, the idea was abandoned, with Police citing an incredible waste of resource in maintaining a database that was increasingly inaccurate. They felt the money and time was better spent promoting other Police activities, and vetting firearms licence holders instead.

“There is no evidence to suggest there is any relationship between the registration of firearms and their control” – NZ Police Support Service Directorate, September 1982.

But, in New Zealand we have maintained registers of a few types of firearm specifically. Pistols, which are held by B-Category endorsed Licence holders, and can only be used at pistol shooting ranges for sporting purposes (i.e. you can’t shoot them on your property, or take them anywhere else, other than a gun shop, gunsmith, or the Police). A pistol licence is incredibly hard to get, and takes around a year – you can read more about the process here.

We also register any C-Category, or “restricted” firearms. These are collectors items, old WWII machine guns, heirlooms, or other fully automatic weapons. These are never, ever, allowed to fired. We also register Military Style Semi Automatic firearms (MSSAs).

We are the only country in the world to follow this last definition, and you need an E-Category endorsement to hold and use one of these. No one else is allowed to even touch the rifle once it is registered to you – even another E-Category endorsed shooter. If you don’t know what an MSSA is, it is basically any semi-automatic rifle that can hold more than 7 rounds in its magazine, or has some other external features, such as a bayonet lug, flash suppressor or pistol grip. An AR-15 (yes, I know you know that one), as standard from the factory in the USA or wherever, would be considered an MSSA. However, New Zealanders can legitimately own one of these rifles for various sporting disciplines (Service Rifle, 3 Gun, IPSC Rifle), pest control (think mobs of goats or wallabies destroying vegetation) or hunting.

If you only hold a basic A-Category licence, you can have a rifle like this, but it must be limited to 7 rounds or less, and cannot have any of the external features that make it look or function like a military weapon.

MSSAs and pistols are what most people think of when they think of gun crime or violent outbursts/mass shootings. These are the most restricted types of firearm in the country, and you have to have increased security measures at your property, go through another vetting process, and you’re subject to police checks annually for pistols, or once every three years for MSSAs. We do register these guns. And there aren’t very many of them actually.

1) Approximately 19,000 pistols held for the purpose of target pistol shooting.
2) Leaving approximately 17,000 pistols possessed for the purpose of collecting, as an heirloom or by museums and theatrical armourers.
3) About 9,700 restricted weapons possessed for the purpose of collecting, as an heirloom or by museums and theatrical armourers.

The total number of MSSAs recorded on police systems has risen from the 6,919 reported by Thorp in 1997 to 7,800 – about 80% of this increase of 900 MSSAs recorded is due entirely to the changed understanding (of what constituted a ‘military pattern free standing pistol grip) held by police 9 June 2009 to 1 March 2010. The balance (180 MSSAs) are either ‘walk ins’ (previously unlawfully possessed, ‘off ticket’ but brought within the legal system) or, in the case of about 20, imported on the basis of a special reason not requiring the 1:1 surrender of a worn MSSA.

[E-mail from Inspector Joe Green, NZ Police Licensing and Vetting Manager, 24 May 2010]

Anecdotally, even this tiny database is not consistently maintained. I’m personally a member of many shooters’ forums, and can attest that many shooters of endorsed firearms report that their check-up/review from Police Vetting Officers, included questions about firearms the license holder had never owned, or had sold (and Police administer the sales process of these guns, closely).

Should we register “Sporting Firearms”?

Sporting firearms are the ones you can own on an A-Category licence. They are the most prevalent by far, and include your granddad’s double-barrel shotgun that he used to hunt ducks and rabbits with, the .45 calibre lever action rifle your colleague goes pig hunting with, or the semi-automatic Winchester rifle your neighbour uses to hunt deer once or twice per annum, and paper targets the rest of the year.

By most estimations, there are over a million of these in the country. That’s a big number – should we keep track of these?

Let’s look past the fact that <10,000 MSSAs is a challenging database to maintain, and the fact that a $100 million gun register was rejected soundly in 1999. There are several reasons a register would either not work, or be impossible to maintain.

Police don’t have the resource or capability to enforce

I have four firearms in my safe that belong to another shooter who has an expired licence. Because we are both responsible people, I took possession of these firearms while that person sorts out their licence. I have had these guns for around two years. Police have never asked that shooter what he did with his firearms when his licence expired. When his licence expired, nothing happened.

There is either a lack of capability or resource to enforce on our database of ~250,000 shooters, so how could we manage a register of over a million guns?

Could we register everything out there?

The Thorpe report, which came out in 1997 and is often referred to by the media, points out that less than 90% registration of existing firearm stock would make a register largely useless. If we don’t know how many guns there are, or where they are, or who owns them, how can we ever be sure that we will have registered enough of them to make any sort of difference? How would we even communicate to all of those people who own firearms? Police recently acknowledged that they don’t even know if a firearm owner dies for up to 10 years after the fact (licence renewal period) – so I doubt we’d be able to reach all licence holders within 10 years of any implementation.

And as shown in the example above with my shooter buddy – they still may not find them all and talk to them (and my shooter friend mentioned above lives in Auckland’s Eastern Suburbs – not the side of a mountain on the West Coast).

Can a can register solve crimes?

Proponents for a gun register will posit that once we know where they all are, we can track them and make sure they don’t get into the wrong hands. Assume a 100% uptake of a registry. How are firearms then tracked? It will rely on a purchaser and seller both being honest, law-abiding people who want to follow the rules. Criminals generally don’t fall into this category.

Our current system does have a large component of trust and goodwill between the shooting community (who want to retain their rights – so they tend to behave), and the Police (who have a vested interest in ensuring guns are used appropriately by responsible people). If the new system relies on the same underlying principles of everyone doing what they’re supposed to do, because it’s the right thing to do, I fail to see how we will achieve anything different from the status quo, aside from spending a lot of money.

According to The Star, then Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the abolition of their long gun registry, which initially started as recently as 1995, was a major step forward for Canada, in terms of its use of law enforcement resources.

“We simply don’t need another very expensive and not-effective registry,” Harper told reporters Friday near Quebec City. “What we have needed are severe and strong and more effective penalties for people who commit criminal acts using guns.”

Proponents will point out the large reduction of gun crime involving long guns (rifles and shotguns) in Canada since the introduction of the law, but if you look at the trend over time, as shown in the below graph from Statistics Canada, this is part of a larger downward trend, and probably has nothing (or little) to do with the registry, which cost the Canadian government $1.23 billion after deducting licence fees paid by shooters.

Graph credit: Statistics Canada
Graph credit: Statistics Canada

Of course, a lot closer to home is the Australian ban/registry/buyback which was implemented by the Howard government after the Port Arthur Massacre. Yesterday I listened to Police Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Paula Bennett, defend the government’s recent rejection of a $30 million licence system overhaul, a registry and a ban on online gun sales, in an interview with Lisa Owen, on The Nation. When confronted with the inefficiency of a database that would miss “[an estimated] 1.2 million guns that are in the system”, Ms Owen quoted a significant drop in gun-related crime in Australia when our friends across the ditch brought in their gun reforms, including registration. Ms Bennett replied with the fact that in New Zealand, as a percentage of all violent crime, only 1.4% is associated with a firearm – meaning there are much bigger fish to fry, for much more immediate results in saving lives and preventing harm.

But what about those gun crime stats from Australia? Again, they are part of a longer trend (similar to Canada’s figures for long gun crimes), and affected by much more than a change in laws at a single point in time. The below graph from Australia’s National Homicide Monitoring Program (NHMP) data shows murders and manslaughters on a downward trend since the reforms, but also, despite some spikes, the trend was already heading down.

The below graph, also from the Australian Institute of Criminology’s NHMP, shows guns used in homicides over a longer period of time (since records began), and for context compares to knives and sharp instruments. The trend flattens out a bit as we look at a longer span of time, but the trend is still clearly downward over time, at a similar rate over the series, with the natural exception of some spikes, or “noise” as a statistician would call it.

Image credit: AIC
Image credit: AIC

Of course we can’t just cherry pick data that reflects what we would like to show, and that’s not the point of this article, or this site. If it was proved that a gun register saved lives, this article would have a very different tone – I assure you. So, in the interest of wider context, below are some graphs from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, showing, again, a decline over time in gun-related death in Australia, regardless of the reforms implemented.

Answering the question

So, how many deaths would a gun register prevent? I can’t say that I think it would have a tangible effect in New Zealand at all. Given our low incidence of gun-involved crime, proof of non-performance from overseas gun registers, and unfortunate gaps in Police resource and support, I really don’t believe there would be a difference at all.

My personal opinion is that we could spend the amount a gun register would cost on:

  • Educating the public around what the law currently is
  • Supporting the police with additional resource to respond to gun crimes with appropriate knowledge and manpower
  • Actually solving firearms thefts (they’re already reported – we know when guns are lost, which is the one benefit a register should provide), and;
  • Most importantly, giving our country the mental health system it deserves.

Those four areas of concern would do a lot more to reduce gun crimes and deaths in NZ than a database with a bunch of serial numbers in it.

How to: Apply for a Pistol Licence (B Endorsement)

I often talk to friends or people at the range and shooting events about pistol shooting, it seems many people who are already interested in shooting activities are keen to try pistol, but don’t know how or where to start. I know that information can be hard to come by at times, and often it seems like people are deliberately making it difficult. For this reason I thought I would give a bit of a shakedown of the current process here in New Zealand.

I will start by pointing out what I would hope is already generally understood information; Firstly It is illegal to shoot a pistol anywhere in New Zealand other than a pistol range which has been approved by the police for this purpose. You must have a specific endorsement on your firearms licence in order to possess a pistol (B Endorsement), and you may only transport it from your pre-approved security (safe) to the pistol range and back again (with the exception of to a gunsmith / store).

It is possible to attend a training course at a pistol range in New Zealand without first having a firearms licence (under strict supervision), but many clubs require that you have at least begun the process towards getting your licence. It is also a police requirement that, after 3 visits as a visitor, you must become a financial member of the club in order to progress your training.

Basic firearms licence

If you don’t have a basic sporting (A Category) licence, you will need to follow the following steps to get one:

  • Attend a firearms safety course (generally one or two evenings)
  • Sit a test on the information you have learned at the course (And pass of course)
  • Pay an application fee (paid at an NZ post shop)
  • Complete an application form from your local arms office (This application will require you to provide details of at least two character references)
  • Install security measures such as a safe / strong room
  • A police vetting officer will then visit you and your chosen character referees to discuss the reasons you would like to own firearms, ensure you are a person of good character, and check your security measures are appropriate
  • If all goes well, you should receive your licence in the mail.

Once you have your licence, endorsements such as the “B” endorsement for pistol shooting can be added to your licence. Or you can apply for endorsements at the same time as you apply for your licence.

The author engages some steel downrange.
The author engages some steel downrange.

Applying for your B Endorsement

In order to apply for your “B” Endorsement you will need to follow the steps listed below:

  • Join a pistol club, attend and complete their training programme (which should comprise of  at least 12 days supervised training and lessons)
  • Join Pistol New Zealand
  • Complete a club range officer examination
  • Complete a 6 month probation period with the club
  • Apply to the club to get permission to apply for your endorsement (the club must deem you as a safe and competent shooter)
  • Visit your Arms officer and get a form (POL67F), or download from the police website (you will need to get it witnessed by a police officer though)
  • Provide your POL67F to your club who will complete their section and send it to Pistol NZ
  • Pistol NZ will then complete their section and forward it onto the arms office [Editor’s Note: I am in the process of applying for my pistol licence, and the AO suggested that PNZ might mail the form back to me, and I could electronically submit back to the AO (i.e. via scan/email)]
  • You will also need to pay an application fee, again via NZ Post
  • You should then expect a visit from a police vetting officer to discuss the reasons why you would like to shoot pistols, inspect your security (you must have a “B” endorsed safe, not your basic “A cat” safe as there are much more stringent measures set on safes for endorsed firearms which can be found on the police website)
  • The vetting officer will also contact at least two referees again. Generally these referees will be people who have a reasonable knowledge and understanding of your shooting activities, rather than just character references
  • All going well you should then receive your new licence with relevant endorsements in the mail

Once you have your endorsed licence you may begin looking to purchase a pistol. Hopefully during your training period you will have had the opportunity to shoot a variety of pistols and types of events, and you may have established an understanding of what you want.

Acquiring a pistol

Once you have decided on a pistol and a place you are purchasing it from, you need to talk with your club and get an Application for a Permit to Procure “Pinky” form which will be signed off by a member of the club executive, authorising you to apply for a Permit to Procure. You take this form with you to your Arms Office and you will be issued two copies of a POL67C Permit to Procure form.

Once you have this Permit to Procure you take it with you to the person or store you are procuring the pistol from, and they will complete their section on the forms. You then take the completed forms and the pistol to your Arms Office who will inspect the pistol to ensure it is the same as the one originally applied for. They will keep a copy of the form so it can be entered in their records and you will be allowed to take the pistol, and your copy of the permit for your records.

Why is it so much effort?

I know that in reading this, it sounds like a long-winded process. To be honest, it is. I would estimate it taking about a year (or longer depending on circumstances) to fully complete the process. There is a reasonable amount of start-up and ongoing costs associated with owning pistols to be aware of (Application fees, Pistol Club joining fees, annual Pistol Club fees, Pistol NZ Fees, not to mention cost of firearms, ammo and equipment). However, after completing the process, I can understand why it is set up this way.

Pistol shooting is great fun, and you will meet some great people, but safety is key (things have the potential to go pear-shaped very quickly with pistols and their very short barrels). By completing the whole process, it ensures that only those people who are very motivated and keen, as well as competent and safe have access to these endorsed firearms. You don’t want to be competing in a match at your range with guys you don’t feel safe around. The knowledge that everyone you are shooting with has completed the above process does provide that assurance of competence and safety.

If you’re interested in shooting pistols, I would highly recommend contacting your local pistol club and enrolling in their next training programme. Visit the Pistol NZ website for a directory of pistol clubs throughout NZ.

The Rack is Back

It’s been a quiet couple of months at The Gun Rack, but not by choice. Unfortunately our website editing application has been on the fritz, only allowing me to publish one article in the last two months. However, we’re now back in the swing of things and raring to go.

Thankfully, in tinkering with the website, we have been able to fix other issues that have been bugging us for a while. We’ve found some of our missing photos, and also increased the speed of the site significantly – hopefully this makes for a much better reading experience for you all!

News of the day

We do have a backlog of articles coming up. Unfortunately I have drafts still sitting here regarding the Select Committee furore, but they seem less relevant as the conversation has progressed and shooters have become more aware of what is going on. Thankfully Nash and Bennett have regressed to more reasonable standpoints, ostensibly distancing themselves from Chris Cahill’s vitriol and flat-out dishonesty.

It’s hard to say what sticks in an election year, but if you need any convincing of what the landscape currently looks like, or if you want some facts on actual gun crime in NZ, check out Kiwi Gun Blog. This blog has recently jumped into the limelight, at a time when many shooters need a voice. Please make sure this doesn’t end up being something that’s only vocally discussed in shooting circles – make your friends and family aware. Also, we’ll all have differing opinions on the extent of the recommendations and whether or not they addressed the goal of the Committee. Don’t let this be a cause of in-fighting in the shooting and hunting community.

In other news

We do also have some exciting developments in the wings on some potential products we could be bringing in for NZ shooters. It’s early days yet, and we are waiting on the OK from the US government, so expect some delays. BUT, suffice it to say, we have not been sitting on our hands while the website has been quiet!

That’s all for now – please check in in the upcoming weeks for the latest hot off the press. Also, make sure to follow TGR on Facebook and Instagram to get your shooting fix.

Shooting at Taupo NZDA range.

Security tips for gun owners

If you own a firearm, you’re considered a fit and proper person by your local Arms Officer. You’ve also got safety measures in place, such as a safe bolted into the ground and/or a wall. But there are some simple steps you can take to increase your security at no extra cost.

Thieves have their eyes on you

A big concern around firearm safety is ensuring that children or stupid adults can’t access your bang sticks. Not only do you keep these under lock and key, but your bolts, mags and ammo are all locked up separately.

So that’s that problem solved.

Which means when we’re talking security, we’re talking about keeping your firearms out of the hands of those who would do evil with them (and no, we’re not talking about your partner selling them so you can get rid of the second mortgage you took out to buy them in the first place).

Maybe it’s my South African upbringing, or maybe I’m just super-cautious with my guns, but I feel the eyes of potential thieves on me all the time. No, I’m not being paranoid, but at any given time I’m aware that someone nearby could be keeping an eye out for someone to target for a robbery.

Online security

Thieves are not all opportunistic, desperate nogoodniks. Some of them are savvy operators who will find you online. So, what can you do to avoid the gaze of these degenerates?

Don’t give identifying details online

We all like to hop onto forums, Facebook groups or Instagram accounts that discuss the particular types of firearms or shooting that we do. If it’s a Facebook group, make sure you only join ones that are private, so people can’t see what your posting unless they’re members too. On social media or in forums, make sure you don’t leave personally identifying information, such as an address, a licence plate in a photo, your workplace, etc.

Sure, you’ll meet some people you trust online – chat to them privately if you want to set up a hunt or something and need to meet at someone’s house.

Also, if you’re going to post pictures of hunts, ‘like’ Facebook or Instagram pages to do with guns, etc, make sure your settings are set to ‘private’ or ‘friends only’.

Don’t give your home address to Trademe traders

If you bought or sold a gun or related items on Trademe, don’t invite people around to your house to pick it up or drop it off. If you can, get things posted to your work, or collect from the courier depot. I also prefer these options, because then I know my stuff won’t be sitting in the driveway all day.

Physical security

Again, we’re still not talking about anything you have to spend money on – just practical ways you can keep eyes off your gear and feel safer in the knowledge that you’re not making your home a target.

Sight lines

I’ve recently moved house and when I was installing my safes, the first thing I noticed was that I could see straight out the garage window and across the road from where my safes and reloading bench would be. That means anyone on the street could see in. You might have same consideration when you open your garage door – what’s visible to the street?

These are not the kind of sight lines we're talking about. But here's a picture of a gun to keep you interested.
These are not the kind of sight lines we’re talking about. But here’s a picture of a gun to keep you interested.

While most people wouldn’t see this, someone scouting the property would certainly be paying more attention to detail. So, as a stop gap, I hung a sheet over the garage windows, until I can arrange to get the windows tinted. And there’s another point, cover up your gear when service people come around.

That’s not passing judgement on anyone in a trade that involves home installs, but seriously, it’s a person you don’t know that you are inviting into your home. You don’t know them from a bar of soap. I don’t even get house movers, I pack my own stuff.

If I had a flash TV and expensive booze, I wouldn’t really care, but these are firearms, and they require extra attention.

Number plates

Did you know anyone can trace your number plate to where you live? It costs them $15 and a few clicks of their mouse.

Now, the NZTA won’t hand your details over to any old Joe Bloggs, but if that person was determined enough to get your address, I’m sure they could create a fraudulent and convincing reason for the NZTA to release it.

If you’d like to opt out of having your info available without NZTA’s specific approval of the information request, you can follow this link.

This may mean it takes a couple days extra next time you apply for vehicle insurance, but at least you don’t have to worry about someone staking out your gun club and walking away with your licence plate number, and essentially the location of your home.

When you pack up after a day at the range, make sure you're conscious of what anyone else might see.
When you pack up after a day at the range, make sure you’re conscious of what anyone else might see.

Keep it under wraps

It’s in the law – we all know we need to cover our firearms up when we travel. But just think about it a little bit more. Also, remember you can’t park up somewhere with firearms in your car. The only exception I know of is stopping at a petrol station.

When you’re transporting firearms or leaving the gun store, be aware of your surroundings and don’t give criminals the opportunity to spot a potential prize.

When you do get your new rifle or whatever safely home, make sure you take note of the serial number and take a photo of the gun so that in the event of an insurance claim for fire, or a police investigation for theft, you can supply useful information that may result in getting your firearm (or its value) back.

Now, I hope this hasn’t made you feel unsafe or get the impression that you have to be a paranoid recluse to keep firearms. However, a little extra thought and care will mean you, your family and your community are safer.

Plus, I’d be bloody gutted if someone emptied out my safe!

10 reasons hunting should be banned in NZ

I can feel the vitriol on your side of the screen already. Hang on a sec – read the article. And by the time you get to the end, if you feel you agree, make sure to share this message on social media.

  1. We need to leave all of the free-range, organic meat in the forests and mountains

    We can’t all be vegans. If we were, who would the vegans judge? Joking aside, there will always be meat-eaters among us, and as much as we praise the benefits of free-range, organic meat, we apparently don’t like it when people go and get it for themselves.

  2. Our families should be further disconnected from their food supply

    We already use words like veal, venison, beef, lamb, mutton, pork and more to distance ourselves from the fact that we eat pigs, cows, sheep, deer, etc. Chicken gets a pass.

    We also allow big corporations to taint our protein sources with genetic manipulation, modified starches, cereal, preservatives and Bic Mac sauce. If we can keep our families completed disconnected from the supply food they eat, they can continue to have little respect for the environment, and feed into the profits of factory farms and global chain “restaurants”.

  3. Our biodiversity should include destructive pests with no natural predators

    I can’t say it enough. I’m sick and tired of tripping over Kiwi and Kakapos and shags. Bloody everywhere. If only someone introduced some voracious pests.

    Oh wait. That happened.

    New Zealand has a great deal of introduced species, from trout to pigs. Most of these animals were introduced by European settlers to bolster food, leather, fur and wool supplies and to provide sport (when they weren’t shooting each other or inhabitants of the land they conquered). With no natural predators in our country, these creatures can thankfully destroy our native flora to their hearts’ content, and compete with (or kill) the fauna that has existed here for thousands of years before humans graced these shores. Ah – balance!

  4. 1080 is great for our water supply

    No, I don’t want to get into a 1080 debate. Save that for Facebook and drunken dinner table talk. Or raise it with your political representatives. Whichever you find more effective.

    So, hunters won’t entirely negate the need for some sort of widely implemented pest control plan. So why have hunters at all? Bloody nuisances. Trying to get rid of pests, enjoy some sport and feed their families, as their predecessors have done for generations.

    But seriously, no matter what your thoughts are on 1080, it’s awesome having it dropped around water catchments and supply and furthering our H2O polution epidemic. Tasty!

  5. We need to raise a generation dependent on devices

    The next generation will clearly experience the most life has to offer them by sitting behind screens varying in size from about 5″ to 50″. Heaven forbid they see what’s out there and learn to enjoy the splendour of nature. Or become concerned about what the previous generation has done with it! Let’s hide our shame behind iPads and TVs till we die, and leave them to figure it out later.

    Why show your children the majesty of nature? They've probably got better graphics on their tablets and TVs.
    Why show your children the majesty of nature? They’ve probably got better graphics on their tablets and TVs.
  6. Our kids already have all the bushcraft they need

    Lets face it. Aside from being able to Google everything they could ever learn in school, kids are also naturally hardy and well-adapted to survival in the bush. When last have you heard of people becoming lost in the bush? Never happens!

    Not only that, but between their smart phones with dead-batteries and no signal, and the skills we never taught them, they know what’s safe to eat, how to find water, light a fire, navigate and cook. Some of them can even tie knots.

    Put a random child here and they'll find their way home, no problem. Or maybe start a new civilisation.
    Put a random child here and they’ll find their way home, no problem. Or maybe start a new civilisation.
  7. Families should defer inter-generational bonding until the kids are old enough to drink

    Look, if there’s one thing New Zealanders are great at, it’s bottling up our thoughts and feelings so we can blurt them out when we’re hideously drunk and it’s only vaguely remembered. Rather than spending time outdoors with your children, leave them with their electronic devices until their around 18 and get plastered together.

    Now you can have that father-daughter, mother-son, whatever-whatever time you’ve always been wanting, and you’ll have almost two decades of emotional regression and mental stunting to add to the mix.

  8. Children should not be exposed to safe firearms handling or sporting use of guns

    It really is best for children to see people shooting other people with guns. That’s why they should only see firearms in movies and video games.

    Look, if children get the idea that they could one day own and operate a firearm in a responsible manner, they may decide to give shooting a go. They may even like it and become proficient at supplying food for their family or become a prodigious sportsperson. Don’t let this happen in your home!

  9. We need to keep New Zealand’s reputation as an outdoors destination down to a low murmur

    These bloody tourists, coming over here, pumping up our self esteem as a nation and giving us some of their hard-earned cash. Infuriating!

    Simply take hunting out of the equation, and at least some of these existentialist, money-spending crazies will stay in their home countries or go to Ireland or something.

  10. If we stop hunters and shooters from having guns, firearm-related crime will disappear

    Should we open this can of worms right at the end of this article? Why not!

    Remember recently 28 firearms were stolen from a pistol club armourer? A bright-spark professor from Otago Uni rightly points out that a firearms register would solve this problem, and we should crack down on law-abiding gun owners to reduce criminal activity. Bravo sir!

    Wait. Wait a second… Aren’t military style semi-automatics and pistols already registered? Why yes, yes they are. And these are the same types of weapons that were taken in this burglary? Affirmative.

    Then what are you talking about kind sir – surely we are safe, as these are registered firearms? Perhaps what the knowledgeable prof is referring to is the wholesale registration of all firearms, which would make old grandad on the West Coast a criminal if he didn’t get the memo. The type of programme that was abysmally implemented and eventually scrapped in Canada, possibly the friendliest nation on the planet…

    This sounds like a fantastic plan, and one surely aimed at the criminal element who would love access to guns so they could get themselves a trophy stag. Or hold up a liquor store. Whatever.

    Clearly a strategy like this would be far more effective than providing police with the additional resources and training they would need to actually solve burglaries and clamp down on other illegal methods of acquiring firearms. It certainly sounds more wise than creating tougher sentences for gun-related crimes, which might create a greater deterrent for those bound for the slammer with their nefarious deeds.

Well, this has been our top 10 list of reasons why hunting should be banned. If you’re upset by it, you need to click on either this link or this link.


Auckland Pistol Club no longer closed

[Editor’s note: Auckland Pistol Club has reopened after their three month voluntary closure. Members are welcome to enjoy their old range with added improvements, and new members are being taken on. You can contact APC at this link]

Members of Auckland Pistol Club (APC) will face the unfortunate situation of having to find somewhere else to shoot as their local club has been shut down for allegedly breaching its resource consent.

A noise complaint from a nearby property led to an environmental health officer measuring noise at the property boundary, which revealed noise in excess of the constraints of the resource consent under which the club operates.

Without any prior warning of an action against them, the club has been shut down until further notice – which is to say, shut down until appropriate measures have been taken by the club to bring it back within its resource consent’s parameters.

This not only means other clubs will have a tough time accommodating an influx of pistol shooters, but also that new pistol shooters will have their training interrupted. Those members of the club that need to shoot elsewhere to complete their mandatory 12 shoots for the year should use a ‘shooter’s diary page’ to log their activity. You can get these from the PNZ website.

APC is currently doing all they can to have access to the range restored, and are working with members, acoustic engineers and the council to remedy the situation.

It’s an unfortunate situation, but a strong reminder to all shooters to obey their club rules, stick within resource consents and operate their firearms in a safe and controlled manner. Sticking to ‘the rules’ not only ensures the safety and well-being of yourself and those around you, but also ensures that you and your club can continue to enjoy shooting sports without interruption.

[Editor’s note: Auckland Pistol Club has reopened after their three month voluntary closure. Members are welcome to enjoy their old range with added improvements, and new members are being taken on. You can contact APC at this link]