The 1997 Review of Firearms Control: An Appraisal
The Review of Firearms Control in New Zealand was completed after extensive consultation and research, and is by far the most comprehensive report on firearms ever conducted in this country. The review proposes significant changes.
The purpose of this paper is to analyse the findings of the review and discuss the viability of some of its major recommendations. The review was conducted in response to serious shooting incidents in New Zealand, and in Australia and the US.
The most significant recommendations propose significant changes to existing law with the aim of increasing the security of New Zealanders against the risk of being hurt or killed by firearms. Yet all but one of the people involved in the New Zealand incidents did not have a licence, would have been ineligible to obtain one, and misused guns illegally obtained. It follows that none of the incidents that led to the review could have been prevented by the recommendations the review produced.
I conclude that only a few of the report’s major recommendations could be justified on the basis of cost-effectiveness, fairness or practicability.