Parliamentary rush to pass firearms legislation bad for democracy


The shortness of this article is not a reflection on a crude effort, so much as what I am intending to say simply does not need any more space than that allowed here. It regards the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines and Parts) Amendment Bill which is before Parliament now and open to public submissions from New Zealanders until 1800 hours today.

I have a major problem with the manner in which this Bill of Parliament (BoP) is proceeding. But let me be very clear now. This is legislation that ultimately DOES need to pass through Parliament and be made law.

However the manner in which the B.o.P. is proceeding is reckless and will possibly wind up having to be substantially overhauled or thrown out and done from scratch a second time. Yes we might need it quickly – but not so quickly that technical knowledge about their maintenance and capacity is ignored by Parliamentarians who might have – for all we know – never picked up a gun in their life.

I suggest Parliament start again. The B.o.P. should have its reading and then be put out to the public of New Zealand for a full four working weeks, before being considered by the Select Committee for another two working weeks. Only at that point should it go back to Parliament.

We can still have this law sent to the Governor General for Royal Assent by Queens Birthday it Parliament follows my suggestion. It just means that it will be far more robust and likely to survive any court challenge or other legal attempt to take it down.

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