Maori Fear They'll Be Targeted By NZ's New Gun Laws

(AP Photo/Nick Perry)

The Maori people are the indigenous culture of New Zealand. They’ve got a rich culture that they try to preserve, though I admittedly know little enough about it except their hakas are kind of badass.

However, since they’re a minority population in New Zealand, they have concerns. Among them, they’re worried about new gun control laws in the country hitting them the hardest.

There are fears that proposed new gun laws aiming to curb gang violence will affect Māori with only loose connections to gangs.

Offences that could lead to a firearms prohibition order included participating in an organised crime group or gang, and serious firearms or violence offences.

The Green Party welcomed the legislation in general but warns police may seek bans for people that they simply consider gang associates.

Police Minister Poto Williams says she hadn’t received advice on what a firearms prohibition order would specifically mean for Māori.

“We haven’t had specific information with that regard. But what we’re dealing with are the most serious offenders … who would do us harm,” Williams says.

But a public consultation document says Māori would likely be over-represented in those subjected to firearms prohibition orders.

“This is particularly the case for Māori men as the majority of serious violence and/or firearms offences are committed by men.

“It is also likely to impact on Māori, particularly rural Māori, given the importance of whānau and the interconnectedness of people within te ao Māori,” the document says.

Green Party MP Golriz Ghahraman says there was potential for innocent people with loose gang connections to be criminalised.

Honestly, that’s a valid concern, and not just in New Zealand.

See, gun control laws almost always fall disproportionately on minorities and the poor. Require a $200 permit before you can buy a gun? The poor bear the brunt of it. Bar “gang associates” from legally purchasing a gun and you’ll disproportionately hit minorities who may know people in gangs, but have no gang association per se. It’s kind of ridiculous.

Then again, it’s ridiculous that here in the United States the party that continually pushes gun control also accuses everyone who disagrees with them of being racist.

Yet I’m not going to accuse New Zealand of being racist. I really do think that the impact on Maori people is a case of unintended consequences and not an outright racist attack on a minority population.

That doesn’t change the impact, though, and that needs to be considered when debating new gun control laws. Not just in New Zealand, but here in the United States. Then again, here in the US, I’m pretty sure that anti-gunners don’t really care what populations get hammered because of the rules they push. More black men being arrested and thrown in jail? Eh, who cares if they’re gun owners, right?

It’s not that they’re racists here in this country, it’s that they simply don’t give a damn about who gets hurt on their rampage toward an anti-gun Utopia, same as I think it is in New Zealand.