Shooting and firearm ownership are in decline in New Zealand but we can turn that around if we all play our part. As an example of what can be done,  Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) has achieved a membership of 200,000 despite the draconian firearm laws in place since 1996.

Here is a troubling statistic:

247,000 Licensed Firearm Owners (LFOs) represent just 4.9% of the population of NZ but only about 50,000 LFOs belong to one or more of the 12 major shooting associations that sponsor about 670 clubs and ranges. 

What is driving this decline:

Stricter firearm laws introduced in 2019 and 2020 will see some clubs and ranges close and many LFOs give up the sport as the red tape around gun ownership becomes more complex and invasive.  This is further exacerbated by the inability of the NZ Police to cope in a timely and efficient manner with the administrative issues surrounding the law changes.

Prior to the changes in Firearm Licence Testing 11,000 applicants annually passed the test with a 99% pass rate. Now the number of successful passes is 6,000 annually and a pass rate of 75%.

It has been demonstrated that mainstream media is biassed against shooting with some Newspapers refusing to display images of guns, dead animals, or children unless it can be used to sensationalise a story.

New rules around guns in schools has made it harder for many schools to participate in shooting sports despite this being popular with students. 

Young people are turned away from shooting by more easily accessible and exciting activities to engage in, in their free time.

What can we do to reverse the decline?

Vote for a party in the next election that promotes sensible and workable firearm laws.

ALL major shooting Associations should actively promote national shooting events and provide invitations to friendly media to report on these.

Shooting Associations need representation and promotion at all A & P shows and similar events, gun shows, and firearm auctions, to encourage LFOs and members of the public to get involved.  Co-operating and combining resources if necessary.

All shooting clubs could promote local events and invite coverage by local media sources and report on social media. And hold public open days.

We need to show the public that shooting is safe, fun, and can be enjoyed by all the family. Physical disability is no obstacle.

We need to invite friends along to our local club and show them what fun safe shooting is, while we still can.

We need the gun trade to get involved, join, support, and promote their local clubs.

We need grassroots members to get involved and volunteer their time and effort, you can’t expect a hand-full of volunteer committee members to do all the work that is necessary here.

Much of this can be achieved through a personal approach and contact.

If you are passionate about the future of shooting in New Zealand join SSANZ today and help make a difference.  

Changes to New Zealand Firearms Law (Part 2)

6 month / December 2020 changes (Source NZ Police)

Overview of the changes

The changes which come into force 6 months after commencement (December 2020) are:

  • Individual licensing system:
    • Persons who are disqualified from holding a firearms licence (section 22G)
    • Application for firearms licence (section 23)
    • Health practitioner details (section 23(2A))
    • Issue of licence (section 24)
    • Fit and Proper clarification; (section 24A)
    • Inspection of premises (section 24B);
    • Decision review system, sections 62, 62A, 62B, 62C, 63, 64
  • Graduated Response to individual licence holders for breach of the Act or licence conditions:
    • Improvement Notices (section 60);
    • Temporary suspension of licence when Police are considering revoking the licence (section 60A);
    • Powers to seize firearms during surrender/suspension process (Section 60B).
    • Revocation and surrender of licence if holder becomes disqualified (se27B)
    • Revocation of suspended firearms licence (s27C)
    • Right of review of official decisions (s62, s62A)
    • Decision review system, sections 62, 62A, 62B, 62C, , 64,
  • Ammunition importing, buying and sales regime (sections 22C, 22D,  24C)
  • Health Practitioner reporting (sections 23(2A), 24(3) & 91)
  • Dealer Graduated Response to breach of the Act or licence conditions
    • Improvement notices (section 60)
    • Temporary suspension of dealer’s licence pending possible revocation (section 60A);
    • Effect of temporary suspension of dealer’s licence (s60C)
    • Revocation of suspended dealer’s licence (section 9A)
    • Right of review of official decisions (s62, s62A)
    • Decision review system, sections 62B, 62C, , 64,
  • Fines and penalties: There are new offences (and/or new penalties) that commence:
    • Restrictions on possession of
      • non-prohibited magazines and non-prohibited parts (s22A) (new offence)
      • ammunition (s22B) (new offence)
    • Restrictions on selling/supplying ammunition (s22C) (new penalty)
    • Failure of ammunition seller to keep records (s22D) (new offence)