In response to…

In response to John Howart’s submission to The LAW and ORDER SELECT COMMITTEE regarding an inquiry into issues relating to the illegal possession of firearms in New Zealand –  May – June 2016.

Just managed to catch me with the right combination of sleep, water and energy to bother responding.

I saw this submission not long after it first went through and while most of the thoughts I am about to put down are exactly the same, it didn’t seem to worth my personal energy to bother putting up a response. To be fair, I didn’t put in a submission either, as I simply didn’t feel I have the time, or knowledge to actually put in an educated letter.

However, every time this submission pops up in my facebook newsfeed again, I am reminded that most of the points that John makes that really ‘grate’ with me, have very little to do with firearms anyhow. They are more to do with race, social class and a very warped Golden Age Fallacy. In fact, his submission seems to be full of logical fallacies.

I started writing out an article in the comments section on facebook, then realised here would likely be a better spot for it.

So, let us have a look into a few points raised by Mr Howat.

Unfortunately it will be very difficult to deal with one subsection of crime when society fails to discourage irresponsible behaviour across the board. The basic road laws being a good example. When the 1983 Arms Act became law drivers actually stopped at stop signs, did not park on dotted yellow lines, wore their seatbelts and generally obeyed the speed limits.

In those days there were more jobs than workers, Saturday trading was just under way, and it would be another 6 years before most shops opened on Sundays.

Golden Age Fallacy.

Let us see, what else was likely different in 1983?

Drivers may have been following speed limits ((citation required)), they were also more likely to be drinking – after all, New Zealand’s society was still dealing with the repercussions that the ‘Six O’Clock Swill’ ((1915-1967)), in which men would head to the pub to drink as much as possible before the doors were closed at six and the entire pub hit the road, heading home.

As is commented on at the New Zealand History Website –

“Six o’clock closing has been seen by many commentators as teaching generations of Kiwi men to drink as fast as possible, reinforcing a culture of binge-drinking. While early closing was promoted as a way to ensure that men got home to their families at a respectable hour, critics questioned the state they were in when they arrived.”

Yup. That culture was still in full effect. When they got home, well, the also likely bashed their wives, because that culture was also still in full affect. But we didn’t talk about then. Nor did we talk about teen pregnancies either. But you know, things were better then.

Of course, I don’t have any statistics to back anything I have just said up. But that’s the wonderful thing about the Golden Age Fallacy (and apeall to emotion for that matter) – I don’t need to. I can just make a statement, that seem vaguely correct, and people will nod their head and agree.

Society and technology are in constant change and laws must be adapted to keep up with these changes.

Agree. Though, you also need to temper that with the reality that these changes are often a lot more expensive in both cost and time than is ever expected. There is a reason that many large corporates are still running Windows XP computers and very old versions of Excel provide the backbone for some of NZ’s largest distribution networks.

During the past 200 years firearms technology has moved from costly and bulky single shot firearms that were essentially tools, to today’s lightweight fast firing firearms that have evolved from military uses and become relatively inexpensive toys.

Modern manufacturing techniques and reinterpretations of existing law have resulted in the easy availability of lightweight fast firing long guns and created a system which allows basic Firearms Licence holders to obtain and use firearms that were intended to be restricted to people who could demonstrate a requirement for such possession – similar to that which applies to pistols.

Yes. Cars also go faster, we have electricity in our homes, safety processes and procedures have vastly improved, reporting of incidents have also improved, life on the planet right now, despite what mainstream media might have you believe, is the best, safest and of highest quality that it has ever been in the history of the planet.

Technologies have also made these firearms safer to use. Less misfires, less catastrophic failures.

I guess what John seems to be alluding to, is the fact that ‘the big black assuault weapons’ ((he doesn’t say it, but might as well)) have made the potential for a mass shooting higher. Except, it hasn’t happened. What has happened, as a large community of responsible, safe, sporting shooters has developed. With clubs hosting shoots ever weekend around the country. Its a great time to be learning the safe, responsible handling of firearms, in a supportive, inclusive community.

Today’s citizens are less constrained than their parents and grandparents – whose attitudes were moulded by the disciplines of military service, war, austerity, and the traditional nuclear family.

And here is starts. A white, anglo-saxon male’s limited perspective on the modern world. The notion of the ‘traditional nuclear family’ and the guilt, social pressure and unrealistic expectations has still left it’s mark on the world.

Jeffery A. Jones put’s it very well in his article – “The Fallacy of the Nuclear Family and the Hijacking of Marriage” ((

“If this were a world made up of only heterosexual white males, each monogamously married to a female with their children, then the family ideal would be…ideal. What the ideal doesn’t account for is the marginalized. The marginalized are the widowed, the unmarried, the orphaned, the disabled, homosexuals. The list goes on and on.
If our societal support goes to the nuclear family at the exclusion of everyone else, then everyone else falls behind. Orphans stay orphaned and (statistically speaking) fall into a life of crime. The Elderly and disabled are institutionalized. Homosexuals being denied the opportunity to form legitimate families stay on a course of destructive behaviors that can ultimately lead to their physical demise (namely, HIV infection or crystal meth addiction). What mainstream society doesn’t seem to understand is that by disempowering the marginalized, it is ultimately shooting itself in the foot because it is that same mainstream society that ends up footing the bill for the prisons, the state nursing homes, the foster care system and the Medicare system to support this collective group.”

Incidentally, I wonder what’s views are on ‘the gays’ owning guns? It probably keeps him awake at night.

Compulsory Military Training continued into the early 1970s, as did school cadet training; however only a few voluntary Cadet Units still exist and there is no longer any ‘national’ training scheme to teach gun handling, safety and discipline to young adults.

Actually, it kinda depends what you are talking about. If you are talking pistol, or those nasty ‘high-capacity, fast firing semi-autos’ – there are, really. Try rocking up to a pistol club with unsafe shooting habits and see how you get on. I mean, unless you are talking about hunters, which, he kinda misses the point on anyhow.

Try rocking up to a pistol club with unsafe shooting habits and see how you get on. I mean, unless you are talking about hunters, which, he kinda misses the point on anyhow.

Membership of clubs and associations that promoted ‘traditional’ deliberate target shooting has been replaced by growth in organisations that promote competitions in which precision shooting is enhanced with movement, engaging multiple targets, and employing high rates of fire. This is not a reflection on committed and responsible users.

Why is that, John? Your first sentence in no way supports the statement in the second. It’s Non-Sequitur.

We are deemed committed and responsible when we first get our firearms licenses, again with we get a B or E endorsement.

‘Fit and Proper Person’ I believe is the term. What I actually shoot has nothing to do with that.

However, international evidence indicates that firearms with a high rate of fire can attract disturbed people and inflict more carnage when misused. Hence many States impose more stringent controls on semiautomatic firearms than on the repeaters of earlier years.

Again, citation required.

Look – you can do it like this –

“”Assault rifles” and “assault weapons” became important objects of gun control efforts in the 1980s. Contrary to widespread claims, these semi-automatic “military-style” weapons are rarely used by criminals in general or by drug dealers or juvenile gang members in particular, are almost never used to kill police officers, are generally less lethal than ordinary hunting rifles, and are not easily converted to fully automatic fire. They do offer a rate of fire somewhat higher than other gun types and can be used with magazines holding large numbers of cartridges, but there is at present little reason to believe either attribute is relevant to the outcome of any significant number of gun crimes. While the involvement of commonplace semiautomatic pistols has been common in U.S. violence since the 1920’s, probably fewer than 2% of gun homicides involve the military-style semiautomatic weapons which are commonly labelled “assault weapons.”” – from Guns and Violence: A Summary of the Field – author, criminologist Gary Kleck ((

Today’s young people are more concentrated in cities and appear more interested in digital devices than tramping the hills. Many have no suitably experienced family to help with safe gun handling techniques, and no uncles or grandparents living in rural areas to provide hunting opportunities.

Grumble grumble… kids these days. Not sure on the relevance on the first sentance, second statement is true. One of the reasons we started putting our Deer Processing Course and a reason I always suggest the HUNTS course. What kids these days DO often realise, is that they have this lack of knowledge – and activly seek it out. At lease, some do, because, I wouldn’t want to do something as ignorance as catergorise all modern kids, from all social backgrounds, in all parts of the country, as the same, glued to their devices kids. Me-thinks someone needs to stop listening the talkback radio so much.

New citizens have migrated here from countries where virtually no firearms are permitted, others are from places where firearms are used for enforcing opinions. These groups include people with poor language skills and little concept of our different laws and responsibilities.

Holy shit John! Why not just blame it on ‘dem Asians’ and be done with it!

Side note – project I have been wanting to put on for a time now, and need a bit of help with it – anyone want to help put on an introduction to shooting day where we have some fluent Mandarin speakers (and other applicable dialects) there to help with the communication barrier that I will admit is sometimes there.

I can’t speak any other language other than English – not conversationally anyhow. I can speak enough Japanese to count to ten and tell you I am going to hit you ((Shodan, Kendo, about twenty years ago)) – but not enough to make a new shooter feel comfortable on a range, but have long wanted to host a day where we can get people along who want to learn and met other shooters.

Incidentally, as a RO, all the issues I have had have come from older, white, men. Just saying.

There should be no doubt that the depiction of firearms violence in films, games, TV, and videos holds the attention of many – and provides examples for imitations.

Except, again, John, you would be wrong.

The easy availability and abuse of ‘recreational’ drugs has resulted in a large number of young people with a very different view of their responsibilities and acceptable behaviour than those of 30years ago.

This is getting painful.

Yup. Young people with a very different view of their responsibilities and acceptable behaviour than those of 30 years ago.

Many a night, having worked at clubs doing sound or DJing, I have walked up the main streets of Auckland – observing behaviour that is downright unacceptable, violent and abusive. Though, it was often coming out of ‘Sports Bars’ where the recreation drug of choice was, you guessed it, Alcohol.

If you mean P. Well, I would like to know how a true P addict (I have met, lived with and distanced myself with several over the years) gets a firearms license – well, that would be a failure of the vetting system. But, that’s another subject altogether.


Oh dear. That’s just the preamble. Well… nah… enough of my energy.

One comment on “In response to…

  1. When talking about guns and gun control everybody completely ignores the only truly democratic country on the planet – Switzerland. They have referendums on everything so politicians can’t do dodgy things and try to disarm the population in fear what happens when the people find out… NOBODY (as far as I could find) even mentions this country, the gun laws and the statistics. Gun laws in Switzerland are as liberal as in US and everybody can purchase their military issued weapon after service and there is 0.5 guns per person (averaged – not literally). … however – way less gun related criminal behavior than in NZ and completely different numbers than in US with nearly the same legislation. Criminals will have always weapons (the most important character flaw required to be a criminal is the complete disregard for a law and rules) so legislating weapons in order to reduce crime just takes weapons out of the hands of good citizens and leaves it only in the hands of criminals and the rullers (politicians). We had the era once here before – in medieval times and it was called the dark ages for a reason ;).

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