I am a gun owner, a member of the NRA and a gun rights advocate.
You made a personal decision about a gun that you owned. It doesn’t really matter why you decided you no longer wanted it; it’s absolutely your right to turn it in for destruction. Or sell it; give it to a friend (in accordance with NZ laws) or bronze it and hang it over your fireplace.
While I disagree with Prime Minister Ardern’s call for a ban on some rifles, my disagreement is based on it being a knee-jerk reaction to an horrific act.
PM Ardern has announced a royal commission to investigate Brenton Tarrant’s savage attack. She should wait for it to complete the investigation to determine what, if any, changes in New Zealand’s laws, including gun laws, might be both appropriate and, more importantly, beneficial.
Perhaps it might have made more sense to call for a suspension of sales of this type of rifle while the investigation is ongoing. After all, it wasn’t a Kiwi who committed this act, it was an Australian terrorist. There is really no reason to penalize New Zealanders who already own these guns. Given the country’s very low homicide rate in a normal year, they don’t seem to be a problem.
Semi-automatic rifles offer a number of advantages over bolt-action, pump or lever-action rifles. They allow the shooter to retain the target, should a follow-up shot be needed, and the recoil is somewhat reduced because part of the energy developed is used to operate the action, eject the spent case and load a fresh cartridge into the chamber.
Having said all of this, my personal viewpoint is that New Zealand is a sovereign nation fully entitled to enact such laws as the government deems necessary. New Zealand’s current gun laws are reasonable and the people of New Zealand seem to be comfortable with them.
For a number of reasons, the same laws would not work in the U.S.
Now comes the part where I start getting flamed.
Your plight is of your own creation.
As best I can tell, you turned in a 30-caliber (7.62mm) semi-automatic rifle. Perhaps it was some variant of a Kalashnikov rifle, perhaps not. They are abundant, inexpensive and the ammunition is relatively cheap.
You could have simply given your rifle to the police and gone on your merry way with none the wiser.
Instead, Mr. Hart, you boasted about your act on Twitter, sharing it with the world. You staked a position and linked to an anti-gun page. You became an advocate.
Did you honestly expect universal approbation? Over an issue that is even divisive to some extent in your own country — and is hugely divisive in others?
As it says in the Book of Hosea, “They that sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind.”
You have no cause to complain about your harvest.
Incidentally, I can tell you this with some authority. I have been exposing my views to anyone who cared to read them for years. The hostility of the gun-control crowd is no less vicious than that of the gun-rights partisans.