You don’t need a gun to be a dangerous psycopath

Following the shooting of 4 people in Napier by an man with 18 guns and no firearms licence, 60 minutes has managed to buy a gun without a licence, very easily.

This doesn’t surprise me at all. No-one knows how many guns are actually in NZ, but estimates are generally over a million. With only around 230,000 people holding gun licences, the reality is that many of these guns are owned by unlicenced people already. When you are talking those sorts of numbers, there are bound to be a few people willing to sell to an unlicenced buyer.

In the country at least, people don’t generally get a licence to buy a gun. They get a licence to buy ammunition for the guns they already have.

But is this really as bad as some sectors of the media might imply?

New Zealand’s violent crime rate is over double that of America, with Auckland having a comparable violent crime rate to Washington. But gun crime is only a small fraction of this. Because guns aren’t the problem.

Anything is a weapon. I have been working on the farm today, and as I write this am wearing a sheath knife on my belt. That is highly lethal (I kill sheep with it), but I can buy that wherever I like with no licence at all. And if I couldn’t buy it, I could easily make one with a chunk of steel and an angle grinder.

You can kill a lot more people with a car than a gun, and you don’t even need a driver’s licence to buy a car. Or you could use an axe, a machete, a kitchen knife, a chainsaw – the average home is a formidable arsenal of lethal weapons.

But despite being well armed we don’t all go around killing people – because we aren’t all violent nutcases.

Violent crime is not about the availability of weapons. It’s about what makes people violent nutcases.

We can only solve violent crime by addressing the causes of violence: family situations, drug addictions, mental health, violence in the media, and so on. We must empower parents to actually discipline children when they are young so the police don’t have to do it later.

There is a lot we can do. But restricting a few tools won’t do a thing.

7 Responses to “You don’t need a gun to be a dangerous psycopath”

  1. MikeE Says:

    Exactly, and its a clear example that tightening gun laws won’t make a shred of difference to this anyway. He was already in breach of the arms act when he purchased/possed firearms, not to mention MSSAs.

    All tightening up the arms act will do is make it harder to defend ones self if something liket his happened down your street.

    Apparently he was a paid police informer, I wonder if theres a little more to that particular background story …

  2. Mr Dennis Says:

    Interesting, I’m sure there is a lot in the background we don’t know. Most people don’t rig their homes with explosives and shoot cops, there may well be a more sinister reason than cannabis.

  3. The Napier siege could have been prevented « Samuel Dennis Says:

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  4. shivers Says:

    In Australia, homicide by use of guns as weapons is down dramatically, somewhere around 26 or more percent over the past 10 – 12 years, since stricter gun laws were introduced. It’s difficult to say that the overall homicides is lower because of this, who’s to say that homicides would have been higher if the availability of guns was easier (there has been a slight decline in overall homicides in the past few years). Knifing remains the biggest use of weapon.

  5. Mr Dennis Says:

    The real issue is the overall homicide rate. You point out that homicides using guns have declined in Australia with tighter gun laws, and that isn’t surprising, but I’d be surprised if the overall rate had declined.

    If it has, you’d then have to work out whether that was caused by the gun laws or something else (correlation is not causation).

    If knives are the biggest killers, maybe we should toughen up the laws around knife ownership…

  6. Reba McEntire Says:

    I love my Henckels. I find the handle weighting and range of blade options is just perfect for the way I cook. I am hard on knives, I don’t take care of them as well as I should, but mine have held up for 20 years and will probably last a lifetime.

  7. Around the Blogs | Star Studded Super Step Says:

    […] Dennis also comments on the death of Constable Len Snee, Anything is a weapon. I have been working on the farm today, […]

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