What about the actual military weapons?

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After the Christchurch massacre, there’s a rightful focus on the prevalence and public access to ‘semi-automatic military-style’ guns. It takes a crisis to create change but with the loopholes in our gun laws, and in light of previous governments’ missed opportunities and the current government’s previous plans to centralise gun registration inspections, in fact, reform is overdue. Shame it took a massacre to force this change.

The country’s biggest militaria show, in Kumeu, was cancelled after the Christchurch massacre when organisers recognised that it would be inappropriate to proceed with a show highlighting weapons of violence. Even the pop-culture convention Armageddon, has brought in new rules which ban military-style clothing and replica guns for its upcoming event in Wellington. We’re forced to reconsider everyday guns and violence in our community. The social ‘licence to kill’ has been revoked.
But we should look beyond pop culture, to state culture, and beyond replica and military-style weaponry, to real military weapons too, as we seek to inspect our relationships with gun violence.

At the New Zealand Defence Industry Association Forums held in Wellington, Auckland and Palmerston North over the past three years, protestors from the peace movement have been pushed and shoved and manhandled by the police; Protestors who opposed the ‘obscene showcasing of weapons in our community’ were arrested; Conference delegates vying for defence contracts by showing off their wares – ‘profiteers on militarism, war and human suffering’, were sheltered by police barriers and barricades at an estimated cost of $250,000 per event. The Palmerston North Mayor said about last year’s conference, that ‘there was nothing unethical going on’, but the protestors were right.

Guns are designed to kill. And none more so than actual military weapons. The New Zealand army military budget incurred a 9% increase from 2017 to 2018, to over $72million a week, or almost $4billion for the financial year. The army have been practicing with their 9,050 new MARS – L NATO standard battle rifles, bought for $6500 each. These can shoot to a distance of 600m, contain laser day and night optical sights, have a detachable grenade launcher and sound suppressors. They are additional to the army arsenal which also contains Glocks, marksman rifles, tactical shotguns, machine guns capable of shooting 750-1000 rounds per minute, heavy machine guns, mortars, anti-armour weapons, short range grenade machine guns and light mortar “designed for firing high explosive, smoke, incendiary and illuminating bombs”. That’s a lot of firepower, designed to kill people.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

Thanks to Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson, we know that the New Zealand army does kill people too.

They certainly have huge capacity to kill more.

While we focus on guns in the hands of the public, let’s not stop there. Now’s the time we should also look at the guns in the hands of the state. The Government would do well to consider the story of the upcoming film ‘Soldiers without Guns’. According to movie trailers and interviews, after ten years of civil war, which killed twenty thousand people and destroyed communities and livelihoods, and after fourteen failed attempts, the New Zealand Defence Force finally brokered peace with guitars and kapa haka. By entering the conflict zone, unarmed, attempting to understand causes of the dispute and to find common cultural ground, guitars, song and performance, brokered understanding and peace, where guns could not.

Waging peace, not war. Cultural diplomacy. Using guitars not guns. Imagine that as a broader foreign policy strategy, and military tactic. It would be more cost effective, show a genuine commitment to peace at home and abroad, take a lot of guns out of society, demonstrate consistent public and state practice, and even save lives. More money for community building and less for killing people has to be a more sustainable future. It should certainly lead to fewer refugees.

A deep commitment to a more peaceful society would see an end to arms conferences, and for any protestors at any future events, given a respected voice, a medal for heroism, not a prison cell.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Imagine then if the police don’t interfere in any sort of violence what so ever, and even worse how would protest organisers justify there own lack of direction. How would protest organisers deal with the party like atmosphere. In any event police oppression fills in the gaps and failures of protestors own movements.

  2. Nice so see you again Christine rose,

    What happened to our once innocent peaceful land I grew up and left for my OE during the 1970′ through 1990’s taking my pride of being a kiwi with me everywhere I went be it Greece, Egypt or US/Canada or europe. .

    Now fairly embedded here in HB/Gisboorne all I see is the poor, homeless, and dispossessed all around me and I feel saddened that we have slipped so far down the the mantle of life today.

    It will take a strong leader with a deep conviction of nation building again to inspire us to make us one of the best places in the world to live as we were in the 1960’s.

  3. And yet somehow it’s perfectly acceptable for the NZ police to carry AR -15 semi automatic weapons?
    Why ? They are not well trained .And they keep killing unarmed people.
    Why is this acceptable?
    Why is Prime Minister Ardern taking advice from the Police only, on the much need Firearms Law changes.?

    https://interactives.stuff.co.nz/2017/11/under-fire/

    Why are the Police so keen to disarm the law abiding firearms owners of NZ?
    Why isn’t the role of the Police vetting system under closer scrutiny that allowed Tarrant to get a NZ license?
    This appalling massacre was not committed by a New Zealander.
    Why are Australians still allowed such easy access to become NZ residents after more than 20 years of increasingly unfair and indiscriminate racist Australian Government policies preventing New Zealanders from gaining Australian residency?
    Why are gun owners being demonised?

    It is a distraction from the NZ police’s true agenda and no one has clue what is really going on.

    • “Why are the Police so keen to disarm the law abiding firearms owners of NZ?”

      Because it was a ” law abiding firearms owner” slaughtered fifty people on Christchurch.

      Are you back again with your pro-gun hysteria?

    • “Why are gun owners being demonised?”

      Shona – they’re not. I’ve followed this debate very carefully and legitimate gun owners are not being demonised. But maybe I have missed something so please, please provide a basis for your comment.

        • Shona, your comments here and elsewhere on TDB are living proof why some people should not be allowed access to firearms. Or even a blunt butter knife. You are 1 disturbed individual.

    • @SHONA Confiscation of guns in NZ is now big news as is NZ government banning of Mosque video with serious jail time penalties. Yes there is something going on, but too few know or are willing to investigate. Stay safe.
      (Have posted vid from HighImpactFlix…interesting)

    • “And yet somehow it’s perfectly acceptable for the NZ police to carry AR -15 semi automatic weapons?”

      Of course, for the same reason Defence personnel are. Those weapons can be essential to their jobs. They are not essential to farming or hunting.


      “Why are the Police so keen to disarm the law abiding firearms owners of NZ?”

      They aren’t. Nothing either the Police of the government have proposed actually disarms anyone. It is only a specific type of firearm that is being banned. People are still free to buy other kinds of firearms allowed by law.

      “Why isn’t the role of the Police vetting system under closer scrutiny that allowed Tarrant to get a NZ license?”

      It is under scrutiny and will be part of the Royal Commissions inquiry.

      “This appalling massacre was not committed by a New Zealander.”

      It was committed by someone who bought his firearms in New Zealand, so it is New Zealand’s gun laws that are the issue.

      “Why are gun owners being demonised?”

      I have seen no evidence of that occurring.

      It needs to be repeated: Guns in general are not being banned. Firearms essential to hunting and farming are not being banned. I myself would never support such a move if it was proposed. All that has been proposed is a small tightening of the current laws, and the banning military style semi-automatics whose sole purpose is to kill large numbers of people as quickly as possible. None of this amounts to disarming people, nor is it a war against guns in general or responsible gun owners.

  4. “It is a distraction from the NZ police’s true agenda and no one has clue what is really going on.”

    (I regret asking this but…….) ok, shona, tell us what’s really going on

    But if it involves Illuminati, Roschilds, UN, Soros, I swear I’m going to get those Lizardmen to take you away

  5. Legal gun owners should have nothing to fear ?

    Why are they feeling demonised, the NZ Police need to collect all the illegal weapons floating around the country and the semi-automatics which are only useful for killing people, who really needs an AR 15 with 70 rounds of ammunition to shoot a possum, they have usually disappeared after a couple of shots ?

  6. Time for a big tidy of illicit weapons in NZ, each weapon needs to be registered to a particular owner and property with regular audits conducted ?

    Also gun owners mental health needs to be regularly assessed ?

    1.5 million guns with 250,000 registered gun owners = 6 weapons per registered gun owner ?

    Who needs 6 guns, these figures are mind blowing ?

  7. So let’s play the guitar instead,when one day Indonesia, China or another nation may take too much of a liking to the territory called NZ Aotearoa, shall we?

    Indeed, some people live in some kind of fantasy land and world, where there is no perceived risk or threat.

    Hug the aggressor and invader, I guess.

    • Do you really think the NZ army’s capabilities will save us from some Indonesian or Chinese invasion? That’s a fantasy land and world.

      • On our own no, hence the need for allies with strong military capabilities, and we cannot expect to totally freeload off them, thus we need our own military. There are also other reasons to support military funding other than war, and the Defence Industry Forum cannot reasonably be categorised in the simplistic way you and the activists protesting it have done.

        I’m also not remotely convinced about the claims of police brutality, as the activist group in question has a history of deliberately provoking police to get a reaction for media attention, and making false claims in that regard.

        Diplomacy is of course the primary means by which we should negotiate conflict, but as the example of Neville Chamberlain shows, sometimes diplomacy fails, and a country has no choice but to fight.

  8. No sorry, this article makes no sense. Nations must have the ability to defend themselves, and to take reasonable and necessary actions to protect and defend their citizens. It is naive to believe that bad actors on the global stage, whether states or global terrorist groups, are going to disappear anytime soon. China and Russia are certainly not going to do so. Nor is whatever is left of, or replaces, al-Qaeda and ISIS.

    “Waging peace, not war. Cultural diplomacy. Using guitars not guns. Imagine that as a broader foreign policy strategy, and military tactic.”

    I would, but it may take some time to stop laughing first.

  9. This world is ruled by violence or the threat of it.

    State governments have killed and continue to kill more people than any organisation or entity.

    • Yeah, so why add to it with white supremacist cowards who use an arsenal of semi-automatic weapons to mow down unarmed civilians?

      Removing these weapons lessens the violence you pointed toAngryl.

      • Two different things Samwise.

        Removing semi autos from civilian hands make no change to state violence and as the white supremacist coward stated, he chose firearms for a reason and he has achieved what he wanted to in that respect.

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