The story was in response to a deluge of increasingly objectionable, ill-informed and often threatening posts, following a Facebook post we published from a Police media event enactment of how the firearms amnesty and buyback would be conducted.
“As soon as that post went up on July 4, the comments began to flood in. They showed limited understanding of the firearms reforms and what can only be described as deliberate distortions of the Association’s stance,” Association President Chris Cahill said.
“At no time in the years of debating firearms reforms in New Zealand has the association attacked lawful, licensed firearms owners. In fact we have been at pains to point out that we have no issue with firearms owners who abide by the law both in ownership and storage of their guns.”
The cover story in this month’s Police News tells of the way the United States gun owners inserted themselves into the New Zealand firearms debate once local gun blogs had shared our post from the buyback event.
“Their posts were full of Independence Day rhetoric (as it was Independence Day in the US that day), and many were blocked because of the vulgar comments – a position we have come to expect from such internet trolls,” Mr Cahill said.
The association eventually removed the post because these trolls had taken over the page, preventing any meaningful engagement from association members.
“Today’s Facebook comments are further examples of these insidious tactics – offensive, unreasonable and ill-informed, particularly given not one single one of them has actually read the story they are targeting,” Mr Cahill said.
“There is absolutely no reasonable debate, and participants have shown themselves for what they are. Previously we have not responded to them, but today we have published the story early to show just how ill-informed the rants have become.”
“I also note that the Act Party – the party that markets itself as the party for freedom – has, without reading the story, called on us to pull our magazine and apologise to the gun community”, Mr Cahill said.
“Perhaps Act might like to take this opportunity to apologise to the Association for so quickly, and without even knowing what the story is about, calling on us to dispense with our freedoms while allowing those who are attacking us to feel free to silence us.”
“We will not be doing that.”