Here in the United States, we’re used to seeing gun control laws challenged in court. In fact, it’s just what we do when anti-gun lawmakers seek to infringe on our constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms. After all, what else can we do other than either challenge the law, or accept the step closer toward outright tyranny?
Most other countries don’t have the constitutional protections of gun rights that we do. As a result, we don’t often hear about gun control laws being challenged legally.
Yet a New Zealand gun owners group is taking the government’s “gun reform” laws to court.
The Government “extinguished all property rights of any kind” for gun owners when it brought in gun law reform last year, a court has heard.
The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (Colfo) is in the High Court at Wellington this morning seeking a judicial review of aspects of the Government’s gun law reform, made after the Christchurch terror attack.
The hearing is focusing on the ban of several types of ammunition and the assumptions behind it which the Minister of Police relied upon to when making his decision, a Colfo spokesperson earlier said.
“Colfo believes that the banning of these types of ammunition will not make New Zealand safer.”
“If central government powers are used to deprive lawful owners of property rights, such owners are entitled to proper compensation for the deprivation of such rights,” said the Colfo application for judicial review.
Colfo spokeswoman Nicole McKee said that Police Minister Stuart Nash applied the wrong tests when he decided what ammunition to recommend banning.
“All New Zealanders should be concerned by bans without compensation of legally purchased products. This sets a truly dangerous precedent,” McKee said.
Of course, this is quite different than how an American gun rights group would challenge such a law. Even if there was compensation, we’d still challenge the measure as an infringement of our constitutionally-protected gun rights.
To be sure, New Zealand gun owners do have the same right to keep and bear arms that we have. The problem is that without constitutional protections that limit the government’s ability to infringe upon that right, they have less of a legal leg to stand on in a situation like this.
However, they can argue that they’re being deprived of their property without compensation.
Then again, gun owners in other nations are rarely as rabidly protective of their gun rights as American activists tend to be. They’re generally conditioned to believe that some degree of gun control is not only acceptable, but imperative. As such, they’re more likely to quibble over things like compensation rather than the outright infringement of their rights.
After all, they’ve been conditioned to see bearing arms as a privilege, not a right, and that’s a damn shame.
Regardless, though, the New Zealand government grossly overstepped when it passed its bans following the Christchurch massacre. The only question is whether the court will slap them down over it. Again, this isn’t the United States, so I wouldn’t hold my breath that they will.