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Closing The “Air Gun Loophole”

As other countries go, New Zealand is a relatively easy place to own guns, but they are getting more restrictive all the time. Now it looks like they are moving to close the dreaded Air Gun Loophole:

Police Minister Judith Collins announced this month that the Government planned to change the Arms Order to require anyone who bought or owned a pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air rifle to hold a firearms licence.

The moves comes after undercover policeman Don Wilkinson and an east Auckland man were killed in separate incidents after being repeatedly shot with a PCP FX Monsoon semi-automatic air rifles.

The United Kingdom regulates air guns according to muzzle energy. Even over here, you’ll often hear the term F.A.C. in regards to air guns. In the UK, any air rifle over 12 ft. lbs. of muzzle energy requires the owner to hold a Fire Arms Certificate, just as they would with an ordinary rifle. I’m not sure whether that’s based on manufacturer specifications, or whether you can go to jail if you modify your rifle and accidentally push it over. I would suspect the latter. You know if they did that here it would be the latter. In fact, if it were here, ATF would fire dozens of different types and weights of pellets through until they got the number they wanted to prosecute you, even if nothing you fired out of it ever exceeded 12 ft. lbs.

9 Responses to “Closing The “Air Gun Loophole””

  1. Carl in Chicago says:

    Regarding this issue, somewhere I read that airguns were stated as the “weapons of choice” for dangerous criminals.

    Good lord above. It’s a damned good thing that those drug cartels don’t have access to airguns. There is nothing some folks won’t do so shoehorn a ridiculous argument.

  2. Ash says:

    This is the $2500 air rifle used in the killings mentioned.

    http://www.fxairguns.com/product.asp?id=monsoon

    I guess I was expecting a Daisy BB but it’s a whole different animal. CO2 guns are about 900 PSI but this FX is 3200psi!

    “Spring-loaded airguns, those powered by CO2 cartridges, BB and paintball guns would not be affected by the changes.”

  3. Ash says:

    Muzzle energy on the FX is up to 30 ft/lbs

  4. Carl in Chicago says:

    I know it’s apples and oranges …

    But a Sci American article some time ago measured human punching forces … and the strongest researcher on the team was able to deliver punches that equaled 663 ft/lbs of energy.

    This is mostly people freaking about “guns” … if they would just think about it, they’d realize how very many things around us could be used to inflict harm on another person.

  5. Stan says:

    In Michigan any air gun that is larger than .177 caliber or rifled is considered a firearm, if the barrel is less than 30in in length it’s also a pistol, requiring a pistol permit to purchase and following all the same transport laws as a real pistol.

    The definition of a firearm is fairly broad here basically boiling down to anything that can launch a dangerous projectile.

  6. Carl from Chicago says:

    The definition of a firearm is fairly broad here basically boiling down to anything that can launch a dangerous projectile.

    Broad indeed. That would include a person’s upper appendages as “firearms.”

  7. Ian Argent says:

    NJ law defines airguns, spring guns, etc as firearms if they throw a projectile capable of causing injury. So far this has caused bb guns to be considered firearms but not airsoft. (there were bills introduced to “fix” both of those statements). OTOH, airguns throwing a projectile larger than 3/8″ are emepted. I have idly wondered if you could get an effective repeating pistol that drives a bullet larger that 3/8″ at a useful velocity using compressed gas, since that would appear to not be a firearm under NJ or federal law.

  8. Tim from NZ says:

    They are also looking at banning knives. Then it will be extra illegal to shoot or stab someone. I know I’ll feel safer.

  9. Gareth A says:

    On the subject of airguns… that’s a sore point here in Scotland.

    A few years ago, a lad called Andrew Morton was shot by some arsehole who was high on amphetamines and decided to shoot at a fire engine outside.

    The poor kid died. His mother, Sharon MacMillan, calling for a ban on airguns, was later caught in posession of a lot of weed and amphetamines.

    There is an opinion that she actually sold the arsehole drugs just before her son was shot.

    And she still wants the airguns banned.

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