The Government's bill for gun law reform will bypass normal Parliamentary and public scrutiny and be in force less than a month after the terrorist attacks.

The swift response has been pushed from the beginning by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who told the world that our gun laws would change the day after the terrorist attack, and announced a ban on military-style weapons just days later.

It's clear that most MPs across the political spectrum believe the haste is justified and that they're on the right side of public opinion.


Many said so explicitly during the first reading of the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill yesterday. There is also agreement on the need for Parliament to send a strong message to New Zealanders and the rest of the world.

Even Act leader David Seymour conceded he may become a public villain by opposing the bill. Despite his lonely stand in Parliament, he has a valid point on the streamlined process.

Why speed through when there is a moratorium in place to stop stockpiling?

It's not surprising that gun lobbyists have also cried foul, though this has been called a standard tactic to resist change.

But they received a boost from constitutional lawyer Graeme Edgeler who tweeted: "I know I'm not smart enough to be able to determine whether this law really does what the Government says it intends to do by it in a week and a bit. I know that there has already been an order-in-council dealing with the guns themselves, so the urgent urgency which says eg three days for the select committee doesn't really apply."

Edgeler still called for a expedited process, given the level of public concern.

A normal process would mean the bill would take a year or so to become law, and if an amnesty then applied for weapons to be handed in, Parliament could be seen as ignoring the public cry for these guns to be taken out of society.

The truncated process for the gun law reform bill is almost as swift as when the Government uses urgency, when the select committee process is bypassed altogether.


Certain circumstances are generally accepted for urgency: New Governments passing laws it campaigned on, or in the wake of disasters, such as after the Canterbury and Kaikoura earthquakes to support the recovery.

Others invite criticism. The previous National Government used urgency on a number of bills on issues including bail, national standards, and 90-day trial periods. Similar criticisms were levelled at the current Government when it used urgency to pass its Regional Fuel Tax into law.

Given Seymour's blunder, when he was too late to the House to block the Government's motion for a streamlined process, the Government did not have to resort to urgency. It can now say the process has the unanimous support of Parliament.

The select committee will receive public submissions on the bill for just over 48 hours, though it will also consider the thousands of views received before the bill's first reading.

It will hear about 20 oral submissions tomorrow, and then report the bill back to the House on Monday, six days after receiving it.

The bill will progress through the remaining legislative stages next Tuesday and Wednesday, receive the Royal Assent on Thursday, and come into force on Friday.

It's not best practice. It's arguable whether it's necessary. But it's doubtful any party will be worried about losing votes over it.