New Zealand illustrates big problem with gun registration

AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File

When the topic of gun registration comes up, we note that registration leads to confiscation. It really is only a matter of time before someone looks at the registry as a way to round up all the firearms for whatever reason.


This is an argument that anti-gunners routinely reject out of hand. “No one wants to round up guns from you,” they’ll quip.

But there are other issues with gun registration.

Thanks to the government of New Zealand, we get to see a huge example happening in real-time, too. It seems the country just can’t seem to stop doxxing gun owners.

A data breach in New Zealand exposed the personal information of some of the country’s gun owners, and not for the first time. It’s another indication of how even well-intended government policies can become civil liberties nightmares.

Last week, a joint email went out from the Firearms Safety Authority and the Auckland Central Police District to 147 registered gun owners, advising them that their addresses might need to be updated. Unfortunately, the emails were all listed in the CC field instead of the BCC field, which would be hidden. As a result, each recipient of the email not only saw every single other recipient’s email address but, in many cases, first and last names as well.

As The New Zealand Herald noted, “The visible addresses included various prominent Auckland residents, including lawyers, company directors, police officers and government officials.”

This is not the only, or even the most severe, breach of New Zealand gun owners’ data in recent memory. During the 2019 gun buyback, the government set up a website for gun owners to register their weapons for relinquishment. Police later admitted that visitors to the site could easily access other registrants’ personal information, including names, addresses, dates of birth, and bank account information. And in 2022, thieves stole as many as 400 gun owners’ records from an abandoned police precinct after police officials neglected to destroy the files before moving operations to a new building.


See, when you put all that information in a central location, you have the opportunity for all kinds of things to happen with regard to that data.

New Zealand keeps releasing the personal information of gun owners, thus making their identity as gun owners known. The more often this happens, the more likely someone will decide to target them in some regard.

That could be theft, of course, or it could be someone deciding they just don’t like gun owners and trying to make their life difficult, or worse.

Either way, people shouldn’t have to question whether their privacy will be respected, because the very nature of gun registration ignores your desire for privacy and makes you submit all your personal information to the government about the nature of an item you own, even if you intend to do nothing but look at it.

Then there’s the risk of that information somehow being released.

And don’t think it could never happen here. It actually has. It will again.

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