Fair Firearm Laws: What Happens Next?By David Seymour, ACT
- 28th Jan, 2020 Jan 28, 2020, 11:39 AM
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DIEUWE DE BOER
A Police raid on the home of a young family having dinner is a deeply disturbing development. Nearly a dozen armed officers carried out a search warrant last Thursday looking for a replica of an 1893 gun. Was Dieuwe de Boer identified by his select committee submission? Were his political views a factor? If Police are politically targeting New Zealanders because they submitted to a select committee, the Police Minister’s position is untenable. ACT opposed the rushed Arms Amendment Act because we knew it would have unintended consequences.
SO MUCH FOR 2019
If you are reading this, you are one of over five thousand who have signed up to ACT’s Fair Firearm Laws campaign. Chances are you were responding to the Government’s outrageous actions. 2019 was the worst year for firearms legislation, private property rights and civil liberties. Jacinda Ardern, Winston Peters and Stuart Nash took away freedom and private property rights, wasted millions of dollars, reduced public safety, divided the community and eroded respect for Police and Parliament. Everyone except ACT went along for the ride.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
There is more to come with the second tranche, then we will have the opportunity to put things right. The rest of this email outlines what to expect, and our plan for fix it. Please read and share this email. It is possible to reverse last year’s changes, but it is going to require serious political organisation. Here’s how we see the year playing out.
THE SECOND TRANCHE
Public submissions have finished and the select committee is now deliberating. Expect the Arms Amendment Legislation to pass in late February or early March. The select committee will report back on 10 February, the day before Parliament resumes for the year. It will then be rushed through over the following weeks to be ready for the March 15 anniversary.
Passing laws for political theatre while claiming they’re for public safety is a disgrace in itself, but here we are. The Government intends to use the first anniversary of Christchurch as an election year springboard, demonising law-abiding, responsible gun owners.
“The Government intends to use the first anniversary of Christchurch as an election year springboard, demonising law-abiding, responsible gun owners.”
Some of the worst features of the law - unannounced search and seizure, no minimum period before someone is required to provide information to a gun registry, the requirement to register all parts – have been cut back by the select committee. The rest is still there. The register, requirements on doctors, and financially onerous regulations for volunteer-run clubs will all be counterproductive for public safety while burdening people’s basic rights. Needless to say, ACT will continue to oppose the law and propose amendments that would improve it, to the extent that’s possible.
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE
It is possible that New Zealand First will pull the plug on the second tranche at the last minute. They will try to take the credit but thanking them is like being grateful for a tax refund. If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t need ‘rescuing.’
The Government is in an impossible position. It knows the ‘buyback’ has failed, but the more prohibited firearms it finds, the more obvious its failure will be. Their best strategy is probably to let sleeping dogs lie, but the gangs won’t cooperate. One way or another, and probably in sad circumstances, we will see that the ‘buyback’ has failed this year.
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As we know, the Government is hopeless with databases, and takes no responsibility when things go wrong. Stuart Nash’s blaming of the Police, who then blamed the software provider, is the political equivalent of ‘the dog ate my homework.’ The good news is we don’t believe they can get the contract and get the register in place before the election, not even close. That means it can be cancelled. ACT will be pushing National to pre-commit to this before the election.
THE ROYAL COMMISSION
On 30 April, the Royal Commission will report back. Most interesting will be the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand. They told the select committee they have private investigators on the case of how the Christchurch terrorist got his licence. One way or another, it will become clear that the Government’s law changes have not solved the real problem.
“As we know, the Government is hopeless with databases, and takes no responsibility when things go wrong. Stuart Nash’s blaming of the Police, who then blamed the software provider, is the political equivalent of ‘the dog ate my homework.’ The good news is we don’t believe they can get the contract and get the register in place before the election, not even close. That means it can be cancelled. ACT will be pushing National to pre-commit to this before the election.”
SKATE TO WHERE THE PUCK IS
By election time it will be clear to enough New Zealanders that (1) the ‘buyback’ failed (2) the Government shouldn’t be trusted to run a register and (3) the problems that led to Christchurch haven’t been solved. We believe this will create the political space for an incoming government to carry out reform. ACT wants to be part of that government, with leverage to implement our policy.
You can read the full policy here, but in essence it is to reverse the second tranche changes, reintroduce the E-Cat, get the police out of arms administration and replace them with a specialist agency, cancel the register, and upgrade the licensing process, including restored face-to-face training, so nutbars fresh off the plane cannot get hold of an AR-15 and 3,000 rounds of ammo.
…is a German word that means what it sounds like. Here is the rub. Some people think that if 250,000 LFOs convince three friends to vote their way, there are a million votes for fair firearm laws. If that was true, LFOs would be the most powerful political bloc in New Zealand and we wouldn’t be in this situation. For many of the 250,000, having a license is just one part of their life. As an educated guess, we think there might be 50,000 people out there who will actually vote on firearms.
HOW MUCH IS 50,000?
50,000 is two per cent of the vote. Enough to elect three MPs on a good day. We need a result like National 56 (what they currently have) and ACT 5 (what the best private poll last year gave us) to make a majority of 61. It is going to be close. The only way we will get change is if there is an ACT-National coalition, and enough ACT that our support cannot be taken for granted.
“Some people think that if 250,000 LFOs convince three friends to vote their way, there are a million votes for fair firearm laws. If that was true, LFOs would be the most powerful political bloc in New Zealand and we wouldn’t be in this situation.”
BEWARE IMITATIONS I
LFOs will face two types of imitations in the election campaign. The first is the battered spouse syndrome imitation. National and probably New Zealand First, will promise to be different this time. ‘We’re sorry, we’ve changed now, we promise we won’t do it again’ they’ll tell you. We can’t stop you believing them, but you will not only be risking the political beating you deserve, you will put every other LFO at risk of one, too.
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BEWARE IMITATIONS II
The second kind of imitation is the enthusiastic political amateur making big promises. They sound convincing because they’ve fooled themselves, with minimum effort. “We will get into power and change everything back,” they’ll promise. If Gareth Morgan, Colin Craig, and Kim Dotcom – big names with even bigger chequebooks – couldn’t get into Parliament, then none of this year’s batch of hopefuls stand a chance.
THE NIGHTMARE SCENARIO
If the LFO vote splits four ways, as some are campaigning to do, there will be no detectable firearm vote in Parliament. Let’s say half a percent are taken in by the Nats, half a per cent by Winston, half a per cent go to a Johnny-come-lately party and half a per cent go with ACT. Our principles won’t change but we’ll have no mandate. People will say ‘David Seymour and ACT went balls-out for LFO rights and got nowhere politically, obviously there is no issue to be addressed.’ Three more years of Labour will bed-in last year’s policies for the foreseeable future.
WHAT SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE
At the end of this year: NZ First is out of Parliament, and ACT and National have more votes than Labour/Greens. A coalition agreement commits the new government to properly consulting and making the best and fairest firearm laws in the world. This includes the features of ACT’s policy listed above. New Zealand becomes a beacon for the world when it comes to making rights and freedoms work with public safety rather than against. That’s what I’m committed to achieving this year. I hope you’re up for it.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
We have 5,000 supporters on this list. We need to at least triple that before the election. Please share this email with your club or your likeminded friends. Of course, politics costs money. Voters don’t just receive our message for free, and we cannot rely on the mainstream media to report us accurately on this issue. We do not receive taxpayer funding for our campaign. We are grateful for any contributions you may be willing to make. Finally, you can lend your moral weight to ACT by becoming a financial member, if you have not already.
“If the LFO vote splits four ways, as some are campaigning to do, there will be no detectable firearm vote in Parliament ... Three more years of Labour will bed-in last year’s policies for the foreseeable future.”
Why Not Make it a Bottom Line?
You need 61 votes to pass a law and no party has ever won 61 votes in our Parliament. Passing laws requires negotiation. The problem is that, until election night, nobody even knows who they’re negotiating with. When a politician promises a ‘bottom line’ the one thing you know for sure is they’re a liar. ACT’s commitment is based on principles and integrity. We stand up for our beliefs and get the best deal no matter what the circumstances. That is the only honest promise anyone can make.
Why Not Merge with Another Party?
Without meaning to be rude, there is nothing in it for ACT. We have a seat, a membership, a funding base, a brand, a politically experienced leader and deputy as well as quality candidates. The right answer is for supporters of wannabe parties to see the writing on the wall: Any other party is a wasted vote. Everybody’s vote is theirs to waste, but the smart vote for fair firearm laws is a party vote for ACT.
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