Confusing the misuse of firearms held by licensed firearm owners, with misuse by those holding firearms unlawfully, is a common error. An error routinely made around the world by agencies when they attempt to reduce firearm crime.
Simplistic solutions for controlling firearms can’t work when it is human misusers holding them, when they misuse or commit crimes; a far harder problem to address. Identifying solutions to these problems seems to be beyond the vision (and Parliamentary careers) of most politicians.
Just as we do not say that the 350 annual fatalities on our roads are a problem with cars, so we should not say that the violence perpetrated with firearms is a problem with guns. It is recognised that the road toll is largely down to driver behaviour, and so it is with guns. It is the criminal who pulls the trigger who is the problem not the gun.
As revealed almost daily in our news stories it is criminals who unlawfully possess guns that are behind the violence perpetrated in our communities. In NZ this is largely represented by Gangs. Licensed firearm owners are not the problem, they are law abiding, because that is their nature and to be otherwise risks the loss of their licence and their guns.
As Chaz Forsyth President of the Sporting Shooters Association of NZ says “Many academic studies have pointed to the unlawful holders of firearms being the real problem. It is shameful that the government allows such attacks on a law abiding minority group such as licensed firearm owners.”
Thus to attempt to solve problems perceived to be connected with firearms the obvious solution is to target criminal gangs and their members. This the present government has failed to do. Instead they have simply targeted their arms legislation at the law abiding licensed firearm owning community since March 2019, and in doing so have maligned and marginalised a section of New Zealand society who have been vetted to a higher standard than most police officers.