Under the nation’s new gun laws Police will be able to decline an applicant from receiving a firearm license based on the political views of the individual.
I have asked the Police Minister, Stuart Nash, just what would constitute an opinion ‘extreme’ enough to raise concerns.
Both the Minister and his Police have ignored both myself and the Official Information Act. They either won’t or can’t say. Judging by the comments on social media that had Police door knocking New Zealanders after the Christchurch tragedy – the bar will be set pretty low.
One frightening development of this new Police power is the cooling effect that it will have on the national discourse.
There are 250,000 licensed shooters in the country. That is one in every thirteen enrolled voters. That is one in ten actual voters. All of these citizens are now on notice to be quiet and comply. With everything that a given government may be selling to the public.
If they are deemed guilty of ‘Wrongthink’ then they will fail to get a gun license. Or fail to have one renewed. Or lose an existing one.
With only insufficient, non-existent or financially academic options of appeal. Resulting in a lost sport or a lost job. Certainly in a lost freedom.
In May of 2019 a Police ‘watch list’ was leaked to the media who reported that those persons were “…understood to be “disaffected” people with firearm licences, and others with racist and radical views”.
I have reason to believe that I am one of these people. I have asked Police, the Police Minister, the SIS, the Privacy Commissioner and the GCSB for confirmation. None have given me an answer.
If I am under surveillance it will be solely for campaigning for harsher penalties for recidivist firearm offenders. That and opposing agenda driven proposals that distract from such a vital revision of penalties.
I have had Police confirm that literally 99% of gun crime is perpetrated by those without a gun license. The new gun laws ignore this group completely. Thus Parliament are trying to solve a problem while ignoring 99% of its cause.
This observation has seen me labelled an extremist in the media and in the political left. Is this enough to see me banned from my sport under the new laws?
Will others denied a firearm license even be told why? After so many months of waiting, I have yet to be told if I am even a target. Or how I came to be one.
In early January of 2020 the Police raided the home of Dieuwe DeBoer. The young man was sitting down to dinner with his family when twelve armed Police arrived and demanded to search his house.
They were there looking for a lever action .22 rifle. Basically the ‘cowboy gun’ most would recognize from the movies. The design dates from the 1800’s only the caliber is so modest as to only be suitable for harvesting the smallest of game. Such as rabbits.
The only reason that Police suspected that the licensed owner had the firearm in question was that he mentioned it in a submission to Parliament during consideration of the new gun laws.
De Boer made the point that such innocuous arms would be swept up in the legislation because of its poorly considered wording. How right he was.
So this man watched his home searched as his wife cried. Holding their new born as the other children watched on in confusion. The Police left with nothing. Because this was a lawful citizen.
Oh… The one thing that he was guilty of was being a prominent conservative. The media labelled him ‘Extreme Alt Right’ because he has been vocal on free speech issues.
One imagines that would also be enough for him to lose a gun license under the new laws. Not the only precedent being set. As apparently the previous lawful possession of a now prohibited arm is reason to be searched at any moment today.
On the assumption of guilt.
Immediately after the Christchurch attack the Prime Minister banned semi-automatic firearms from import. So some shooters chose to purchase some of those left in shops. Most were simply bringing forward previously planned purchases in case there were drastic price rises.
That was enough for Police to launch bungled raids on their homes. With rifles pointed at their children. To be crystal clear, the only ‘Crime’ these victims were guilty of was ‘Shopping’.
In the case of every raid discussed here, Police knew that they would leave their victims with both other firearms and their firearm licenses. In case they wanted to buy more.
In other words, they knew that they were not a threat. So why were Police there? To send a message. In plain English – to create fear.
With our Police force so politicized we can expect them to continue to seek to change society rather than just protect it.
We don’t need to wait for the new laws proposed by the Labour government to jail us for expressing thoughts they don’t like. Our Police will simply make us too scared to express those thoughts in the first place.
Also too scared to make a submission to our lawmakers. Too scared to contact our representatives. That was my own crime remember. Citizens will be too scared to participate in democracy.
I understand that some New Zealanders have already lost a gun license for their political views. I have asked Police how many such cases there have been since Christchurch. Also how many people have been denied an application to be granted a gun license for the same reason.
Police have yet to answer.
But the most frightening thing of all is that this coming suppression of public discourse is the single factor most likely to create another terror attack. It is also the single factor most likely to ensure that we don’t see it coming.