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Some Sporting and Hunting Groups Are Bending Knee to Gun Confiscation in NZ

Gabriella Hoffman
by Gabriella Hoffman Read Profile arrow_right_alt

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said earlier today her government would ban most semi-automatic firearms, including those commonly used in hunting, in the island nation.

“Today I am announcing that New Zealand will ban all military-style semi-automatic weapons,” Ardern said Thursday local time. “We will also ban all assault rifles. We will also ban all high capacity magazines.”

“We will ban all parts with the ability to convert semi-automatic or any other type of firearm into a military style semi-automatic weapon.”

These sweeping gun control measures, she added, are expected to be passed by April 11th, 2019. Her full announcement can be found below.

New Zealand Police announced as of 3pm on March 21st local time, if anyone is in possession of a Military Style Semi-Automatic (MSSA), which now includes semi-automatic firearms that allow for detachable magazines holding more than 5 cartridges and semi-automatic firearms that are shotguns that allow for detachable magazines capable of holding more than five cartridges, it is now unlawful to possess and must be surrendered before penalties kick in.

This would never fly here in the U.S. How are some sporting companies and hunting associations responding to these sweeping changes? By going along, of course.

Immediately following the horrific terrorist attack, some sportsmen’s groups and companies in NZ said they’ll go along with any proposed governmental changes to existing gun laws.

On March 18th, Darren Jacobs, Chief Executive Officer of Hunting and Fishing New Zealand, issued a statement on Facebook supporting PM Ardern’s calls to ban guns—but claims semi-automatic rifles won’t be affected. Really? That statement reads in part as the following:

We support any government measure to permanently ban such weapons. While we have sold them in the past to a small number of customers, last week’s events have forced a reconsideration that has led us to believe such weapons of war have no place in our business — or our country. Irrespective of gun law changes now or in the future, Hunting & Fishing New Zealand stores will no longer stock military-style assault firearms of any classification or category – whether rimfire, shot shell and centrefire configuration. 

We invite all retailers and wholesalers in the sector to follow suit. 

We also support the idea of a full government buyback of such weapons. 

This should not and cannot affect the legitimate use of sporting semi-automatic shotguns and rimfires for hunting and pest control in New Zealand, which still have their place. 

The statement continued as follows:

Hunting & Fishing New Zealand is passionate about supporting and encouraging outdoor recreation pursuits in New Zealand. This includes camping, tramping, fishing and hunting. We believe such pursuits are part of our inheritance as Kiwis, regardless of background. We do not believe common sense gun laws represent any form of threat to this way of life. 

We look forward to participating in future Government led consultations to establish legislative improvements that will protect this country we are proud to be a part of.

New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association, which claims it has been protecting hunters’ rights since 1937, echoed similar sentiments in a Facebook statement that gun laws need to change on March 16th:

The NZDA recognises that gun law needs to change to make our country safer.

As members on the Firearms Community Advisory Forum, we have consistently promoted improvement to our gun laws to the NZ Police and Government.

To date our communities have been kept safe by some of the best gun laws in the world. Effectively, loopholes in the law have contributed to this tragedy. Now is the time to close them in a smart considered manner.

Well thought out and cost effective improvement to our laws will protect all New Zealanders, whilst maintaining the recreational & sporting uses that so many law abiding Kiwis enjoy. 

The NZDA will continue to be the voice of reason for gun laws in our country, our people and our members.

Following backlash to the post, the group added this comment to their Facebook thread to save face:

Don’t jump to conclusions people. Read very carefully what we have said before you comment. We haven’t proposed any changes or massive re-writes of the arms act. But if you think things are going to remain the same then you are sadly mistaken.

Imagine if groups like Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Sportsmen’s Alliance, National Wild Turkey Federation, Mule Deer Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, or Safari Club International stateside announced after a horrific mass shooting, they would surrender and support gun control measures that would eat at their lifestyle? That would be counterintuitive to their missions statements and go against their very existence. Thankfully, these sporting and hunting organizations are strong supporters of the Second Amendment. We should be thankful we have that constitutional amendment safeguarding the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

Are there any sporting groups in New Zealand who have a spine? They’ve already gone after free speech. Next, they will come for hunting.

Some gun blogs down there are speaking out though. We can expect more dissent from other law-abiding Kiwis who’ll be criminalized under these new gun laws.

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