I see that the Government's firearm buy-back scheme has not netted the number of high capacity semi-automatic weapons desired but, at about 56,000, is a great number.
This is understandable in a country where there are suspected to be more than 1.5 million legally-owned firearms and 300,000 firearm licence holders.
Most of those 300,000 people are normally honest law-abiding New Zealanders who would never cause the authorities concern for any reason.
The knee-jerk reaction to the terrible tragedy of March 15th, 2019 in Christchurch, while understandable in context, has now succeeded in making a significant number of these citizens law-breakers, something which, if weapons are not handed in, could result in these good people facing revocation of their firearms licence, confiscation of all their weapons and up to five years' imprisonment.
Police estimate that around one-third of the weapons subject to the buy-back have been handed in.
This leaves approximately 120,000 now illegal weapons in the hands of firearm licence owners.
This number, of course, does not include the unknown number of illegal weapons in the hands of the underworld, probably a further few thousand.
These weapons should continue to trickle in over the coming months but police need to use discretion and common sense in their decisions concerning these late arrivals.
By nature New Zealanders are a law-abiding lot but have a strong aversion to being instantly told what to do by any Government without what they consider proper consultation.
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Whilst the amnesty may have ended officially I would hope that, in the minds of police receiving these weapons from owners, some understanding is still allowed to be applied.
I love firearms, never personally owned one despite having a firearms licence at some stage.
I may still be licensed but cannot find it anywhere. I used firearms a lot in the years gone by both recreationally and for work and consider them engineering works of wonder. The simple skill that goes into designing weapons and harnessing the power needed to expel high powered ammunition is technically brilliant.
I consider I know me guns but I am certainly no expert. I do know that the only reason for a firearm is to kill, nothing else. It is designed to fire a projectile at a target with such explosive force that it kills or disables that target.
There is no other reason in New Zealand to own a firearm other than to kill living beings or to fire at paper targets. Ownership for self-defence is not permissible in New Zealand and open or concealed carry of small weapons is highly illegal.
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Using my logic, humble as it may be, and looking at the feral wild life existing in the New Zealand bush I really question the need for high capacity magazine semi-automatic rifles or carbines in this country, other than for defence or police use.
Last time I looked the most dangerous critter in our bush was a wild pig, easily disposed of by either dogs and a knife or a medium to heavy calibre hunting rifle.
If a hunter needs 15 to 30 shots to bring down a beastie in the New Zealand bush he or she needs to reconsider their leisure-time activities.
Don't get me wrong, the AR-15 and similar weapons are beautiful works of technical art and machinery and are wonderful items to have in any gun collection.
They are really fun to fire and show impressive results when used against paper targets. But they are not needed by the civilian population of this country.
I once had the pleasure and heavy responsibility of training with and carrying operationally a Heckler & Koch MP5 30 shot .9 mm parabellum submachine gun, a beautiful weapon designed in Germany, some say, based on the famous Schmeisser machine pistol of World War II fame.
It was my first experience with a fully automatic weapon. The firepower and ease of use of this little gun was frightening.
It brought home to me the real reason for these high-capacity weapons, full or semi-automatic, to only kill or, at least, lay a field of fire to keep a similarly heavily armed offender's head down while colleagues moved into position.
AR-15s and similar weapons are based on war guns which are totally inappropriate in a country such as New Zealand, with rare exceptions for one or two civilian occupations.
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I understand the wish to own these as part of a collection and the occasional range use as they are, in the right supervised environment, great fun, but, really.
Some say that a semi-automatic weapon is good for a second or third shot at a wounded animal.
All hunters I know have the skill with a bolt-action hunting rifle to do the same thing.
They go to great lengths to ensure their quarry does not suffer needlessly.
•Rob Rattenbury is a Whanganui-based contributor and former police officer.