Vail Daily letter: Kiwi gun control
Vail, CO, Colorado
The current gun-law debate has the attention of the world, especially in my native country, New Zealand.
I was an unarmed, truncheon-equipped police constable there in the 1970s, and not much has changed with respect to attitudes regarding possession and usage.
The reasons are quite clear: Handgun ownership is illegal other than for supervised range/hunting expeditions. Should you be stopped by police for an infraction warranting a car-search with reasonable cause, and a loaded firearm is discovered, you must be able to prove:
1. You are en route to, or from, a hunting trip.
2. The firearm exists for a legal purpose.
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Should you not be able to show proof of the above, then your car is impounded, your home searched without a warrant and you go straight to jail with no bail permissible.
Detectives can withdraw a handgun on night shifts if such a shift warrants (dangerous neighborhoods, manhunt orders operational.) Each bullet collected must be accounted for at the close of the shift.
Our version of SWAT (Armed Offenders Team) is called out at short notice should there be an armed-incident. Net result: an average of eight firearm-related deaths annually.
Our countries had a similar beginning with unruly whalers, violent natives (Maoris) drunken ne’er-do-wells, all speaking to pioneer settlers’ requirements for self defense.
The British Constabulary handled most nuisance and domestic disputes, while Her Majesty’s redcoats had at it with the armed offenders.
With respect to American history and its relationship with respect to guns and firepower, it’s difficult to imagine any other course of action … unless you’re a Kiwi (dual citizen).
Patrick M. Mitchell