Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind



In the United States of America you can own and operate firearms without a licence, but not a whiskey still

In Aotearoa New Zealand you can own and operate a whiskey still without a licence, but not firearms.

Odd isn’t it?

In practice, it makes it virtually impossible to distill your own alcoholic beverages at home in the USA while you can own, operate and trade as many lethal weapons as you desire. Even if you purchase a still for the purpose of distilling water the seller is required to keep a record of the the purchaser’s name and address, and to supply those details to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms upon request. So you may receive a visit from them just to check the still is being used for its “intended purpose”.

On the other hand, in NZ you can own, operate and trade as many stills and their components as you desire, and make as much whiskey or other spirits as you desire, provided you do not trade by way of private sale any of the liquor produced. You can also own, operate and trade as many guns as you desire with the proviso that said guns are of the class allowed for on your firearms owner licence, are stored securely, and you sell them only to a person with an appropriate firearms owner licence.

Note that in NZ, personal protection and self-defence are not lawful reasons to be in possession of a gun, even if you hold an appropriate firearms owner licence for the weapon. Currently there is no firearms registration, but that will be phased in over the next few years, thanks to the Christchurch mosque shootings in March 2019.

Author: Barry

A post war baby boomer from Aotearoa New Zealand who has lived with migraines for as long as I can remember and discovered I am autistic at the age of sixty. I blog because in real life I'm somewhat backwards about coming forward with my opinions.

12 thoughts on “Odd…

  1. Maybe the ”logic” behind it originates from the days of prohibition in the US of eh?:
    ”Dang, Y’all, but cant y’see I need m’gun to defend m’still from them godamm G-men. A man needs his suppin’ whiskey, y’know.”

    Just a thought.

    • “Logic” would suggest that the sensible thing to do would be to decriminalise home distillation. So why almost 100 years later is home distillation still illegal?

  2. Is home distilled alcohol any good? In my younger years I brewed beer with success but tried to avoid the hard stuff because of problems with moderation. I think if Americans were permitted to distill alcohol, they would be poisoning themselves left and right.

    • And maybe shoot themselves less often

      • When you compare the combined gun related deaths and deaths from home distillation of the US and NZ it’s very evident that guns are way more dangerous than home distilling.

        Put it this way: I’d rather have a neighbour with a still than a neighbour with a gun.

        • Maybe they have no ammendment dealing with liquor.

          • There are specific federal laws making home distilling impractical:

            The 21st amendment repealed the ban on alcohol brought in by the 18th amendment. The current restrictions are subsequent to the 21st which permitted home wine making but not home brewing or distillation. Brewing has since been made legal.

            Some states ban home distillation and some ban possession of distilling equipment. Those states where home distillation is permitted still require that federal regulations be complied with, making home distillation impractical.

            It seems that Aotearoa New Zealand is an outlier in being only one of less than a handful of nations where home distilling is legal.

    • I think whether or not the resulting product was any good would depend on the skills of the craftsman and the ingredients used. I know one some authorities claim the reason for distillation of liquor is prohibited is the risk of poisonong from methanol but but as I understand it it’s the fermentation process that produces ethanol and/or methanol. Perhaps they have different condensation temperatures which might result in dangerous levels of methanol if the still is operated incorrectly. But as 109 people die from gun related deaths in the US every week in the USA I suspect any harm from home distilling would be insignificant in comparison.

  3. There are also strange moral judgments about what can be depicted in drama. Man walks into BigBad’s lair, and BigBad’s guards come out, only to get shot within seconds of their appearance, some falling from high buildings- absolutely fine. An exposed nipple is far more worrying.

    Where did you get the deaths stats? The BBC gave the figure of 38,355 gun deaths in the US in 2019.

    The UK had 247 gun deaths in 1996, but on a reducing trend there were 107 in 2016.

    Wikipedia says New Zealand/ Aotearoa’s gun death rate was just over a tenth that of the US, per head of population.

    • I was partially inspired by the article 765 Small Flags on Friends Journal, which quotes the average weekly gun deaths in the US in 2117 at 765.

      Interesting statistic:
      Annual gun deaths per 100,000/Gun ownership per 100,000 (guns per death)
      USA: 12.21/120,500 (9,869)
      NZ: 1.24/30,000 (24,194)
      UK: 0.20/2,800 (14,000)

      Whichever way you look at it, more guns means more deaths.

      National morals seem to be quite arbitrary:
      Death penalty: yes: US; no UK, NZ
      Home distillation: yes: NZ; no US, UK
      Prostitution: yes: NZ; partial: UK; no US
      Abortion on request: Yes: US (judicial decision), NZ (legislation); no: UK (except northern Ireland)
      non-binary gender recognised: yes: NZ; no US (at federal level, but recognised in a few states), UK
      Recreational marijuana: no: UK, NZ (defeated at referendum 2020 50.7% to 48.4%), US (at federal level, allowed in 17 states)
      Medical Marijuana; yes: NZ, UK (specialist consultant only); no: US (at federal level but permitted in 36 states)

      And that’s just a few of many differences

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