137 page “discussion document ” !

New Zealand Police claim that in developing Regulations for shooting clubs and ranges they are simply following the law as prescribed by the Arms Legislation Act 2020.
Laws passed by the government following advice from Police, that shooting clubs posed a threat to public safety, and that police had done nothing to facilitate the Christchurch mosque terrorist attack. The latter now known to be totally false following the report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry which said ““We find that New Zealand Police failed to meet required standards in the administration of the firearms licensing system.”.

In preparing their 137 page discussion document on regulations for shooting clubs and ranges NZ police have shown disdain for the national bodies that govern and oversee the activities of all shooting disciplines. At no time were these bodies, or stake holder representatives of the police lead Firearms Community Advisory Forum consulted, but rather they employed a firm of public service consultants. One has to ask how much did this cost tax payers?

As Sporting Shooters Association Media Director Rob Cope Williams says “From a mind numbing read of the document it is easy to see that the authors did not appreciate that most shooting clubs are Incorporated Societies, governed by the fiscal requirements of the Incorporated Societies Act 1908, making their details a matter of public record. Nor do they understand how many clubs administered by unpaid volunteer committee members are actually managed and run.”

Shooting clubs and range operators will have just 12 months from June this year in which to apply for the Commissioners approval and get their ranges inspected and certified.

This in itself is impractical as most will require rule changes to meet the new regulation, something that can only be done at an Annual General Meeting. Range Standing orders will also need to be updated to satisfy the requirements of the yet to be published Police Range Manual.

Is it any wonder that members of the country’s shooting clubs and associations are up in arms, when they were only given 6 weeks to comment on these new regulations, that threaten the very existence of their sport, at a time when many are way hunting for the Roar.

Yet another example of how little the Police care for or understand the community they seek to regulate.

Licensed Firearms Owners are NOT to Blame

Confusing the misuse of firearms held by licensed firearm owners, with misuse by those holding firearms unlawfully, is a common error. An error routinely made around the world by agencies when they attempt to reduce firearm crime.

Simplistic solutions for controlling firearms can’t work when it is human misusers holding them, when they misuse or commit crimes; a far harder problem to address. Identifying solutions to these problems seems to be beyond the vision (and Parliamentary careers) of most politicians.

Just as we do not say that the 350 annual fatalities on our roads are a problem with cars, so we should not say that the violence perpetrated with firearms is a problem with guns. It is recognised that the road toll is largely down to driver behaviour, and so it is with guns. It is the criminal who pulls the trigger who is the problem not the gun.

As revealed almost daily in our news stories it is criminals who unlawfully possess guns that are behind the violence perpetrated in our communities. In NZ this is largely represented by Gangs. Licensed firearm owners are not the problem, they are law abiding, because that is their nature and to be otherwise risks the loss of their licence and their guns.

As Chaz Forsyth President of the Sporting Shooters Association of NZ says “Many academic studies have pointed to the unlawful holders of firearms being the real problem. It is shameful that the government allows such attacks on a law abiding minority group such as licensed firearm owners.”

Thus to attempt to solve problems perceived to be connected with firearms the obvious solution is to target criminal gangs and their members. This the present government has failed to do. Instead they have simply targeted their arms legislation at the law abiding licensed firearm owning community since March 2019, and in doing so have maligned and marginalised a section of New Zealand society who have been vetted to a higher standard than most police officers.