If you adhere to the idea of individual liberty, then you have to acknowledge that people are free to believe whatever they want to believe, no matter how abhorrent those beliefs may be. I mean, some people put pineapple on pizza, for crying out loud, but we still have to accept that it’s their right to do so.
Of course, there are other beliefs that are far more repugnant than pineapple in places it doesn’t belong.
In New Zealand, which used to have fairly liberal gun laws before the Christchurch Massacre, it seems lawmakers want to punish people for holding the wrong opinions and the media is taking issue with those not quite ready to go that far.
The National Party wants to water down a proposal to restrict extremists from obtaining a firearms licence.
In a Supplementary Order Paper submitted on the Government’s Arms Legislation Bill, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson proposes that a test for violent and extremist tendencies should only be applied to people who have been “convicted of an offence under the Human Rights Act 1993 or the Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015 relating to violent, hateful, or extremist speech or behaviour”.
However, Gun Control NZ’s Nik Green says this would allow many extremists to obtain a firearms licence, pointing to the fact that no one in New Zealand has been convicted of such an offense under the Human Rights Act.
Police Minister Stuart Nash said Hudson’s SOP was “very concerning. I do not know why the Nats are not supporting this because it takes guns off gangs and it’s much tougher penalties for gun crime.”
So despite no one being convicted of anything, holding the wrong beliefs is somehow grounds to deny them a permit?
Look, this is New Zealand. Their laws have little direct impact on you and me and we all know it. What their gun laws can do, however, is spur on our local gun grabbers to try and implement similar such restrictions.
At the end of the day, though, this measure seeks to control what opinions people hold. It’s ThoughtCrime legislation pretending to just be gun control.
There are two problems with this. The first is that extremist views will always be with us, but if you make it feel impossible to express them, you simply drive them underground. There they can fester and infect others, always beneath the surface where it can’t be seen or addressed. You don’t kill these ideas by driving them into the shadows. That’s how you make them grow.
No, you kill them by debating them and revealing them to be the morally bankrupt prattlings of an immature mind that they always have been.
The second, though, is just how many times are people labeled extremists because they hold a particular belief that’s not even all that extreme? I’ve been called such a thing more than once. Most gun rights supporters have, as has anyone on the right of any given political issue. It’s not hard to see such a ban existing just to target us.
Sorry, but that’s a no-go.