Uncomfortable lessons from Auckland knife attack
The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) says uncomfortable lessons can be drawn from a knife attack on multiple people in an Auckland mall last week.
COLFO Spokesperson Hugh Devereux-Mack says the organisation was dismayed at news of the attacks last week, and felt deeply for all those affected.
As the nation begins to consider the events of last week, COLFO recognises an uncomfortable lack of consistency shown by our leaders in times of crisis.
“New Zealand is a place that felt safe from extremist ideologies, yet we have now experienced two terrorist attacks within 3 years, and seen dramatically different Government responses in each case,” Devereux-Mack says.
“We have been urged by Jacinda Ardern to think of the latest Auckland attack as being nothing other than the actions of a lone wolf. Ardern has said he alone carries responsibility for his acts so let that be where the judgement falls.”
“Yet when the Christchurch terror attack occurred in 2019, New Zealanders were urged to think that the problem was firearms. Judgement fell upon 250,000 licensed firearms owners who were ordered to give up their legally held property, because of the actions of a lone-wolf terrorist”
“This shows how our Government responds to crises with prejudice, and the danger of following those prejudices rather than well considered and evidence-based investigations.”
Devereux-Mack said two immediate lessons were:
1. Political responses driven by emotion and preconceived agendas are bad for law-making
It must be asked, why are incidents by two lone operators, both labelled as terrorists, treated differently? If the Government was acting consistently with its Christchurch response, Ardern would have now announced a review of availability of knives and a new “Auckland Call”. The reality is that licensed, law-abiding firearm owners were an easy scapegoat for systemic failures in 2019, but this time there isn’t one.
2. Determined individuals will harm and kill
The knife attacker was a known terrorist threat, under heavy and constant surveillance. Yet he was still able to carry out an attack. If a determined criminal can do this, with Police watching, what hope is there for protection through legislation? For example, registering every legal firearm will, like registering every legal knife, not prevent criminal use of these tools or others.
"New Zealanders deserve better from lawmakers that are entrusted with maintaining our safety."