Licensed firearms owners are throwing their support behind ACT to get transparency over gun laws.

ACT is calling on the Government to release the report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch terrorist attacks next week.

Sporting Shooters Assn New Zealand [SSANZ] President, Neville Dodd, says “We understand that the report has been finished, so why are the Government looking to delay presenting it?”

It is understood that The Inquiries Act says the report must be presented to Parliament by the Internal Affairs Minister as soon as possible, so SSANZ are asking for an explanation for any delays.

“We are aware that recent shooting incidents involving non-licensed people have highlighted a desire for reform, but it is the lawful shooters who are being used as a scapegoat”

New Act MP Nicole McKee, says “After being targeted by the Government in the wake of 15 March, lawful firearms owners in particular deserve to see the report.”

She adds “Firearms reform must now start again based on the findings of the Royal Commission.”

SSANZ totally agrees with her, reiterating that the authorities and the Government should be targeting the people who are not law abiding, not the law-abiding ones.

“We are pleased to see that the Police are making progress within the ranks of groups who own illegal weapons, and hopefully stopping the black market sales of guns and ammunition, but that will take time” says Dodd.

Both SSANZ and ACT agree, the solution to the problem begins with the most open and transparent government telling us how 15 March happened.

2020 Election

Parliamentary Election – 2020 

Despite what you may think about the election result two good things for the firearm community has come about from the way you cast your votes.  SSANZ member and firearm advocate Nicole McKee now has a seat in parliament, and she is supported by ACT leader David Seymour and a caucus of 8  additional ACT MPs.

While ACT may not have a place on the government benches as we had hoped, a party of 10 MPs has a much stronger voice for asking hard questions and the ability to participate in Select Committees and other cross-party activities. As well as proposing sensible solutions to the many issues that face parliament in these post-Covid times.

What Does the Election Result Mean for Firearm Owners?

With Labour able to govern alone, with or without the Greens, there will be no reversal of the anti-firearm laws passed in June. And without NZ First in government, there will be no pressure to keep to the proposed Independent Authority to manage firearm administration. So what is on the statutes now will go-ahead for the next 3 years, bringing more pain and frustration to the firearm community as NZ Police come to grips with the monster they have created and implement the new rules and regulations.

We know there will be a second confiscation (buyback) of firearms declared prohibited in the most recent Arms Legislation Act. These include short semi-automatics, (those that were technically classed as pistols), Centrefire pump-action rifles with detachable magazines or magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, and any firearm that contains a centre fire lower receiver.

However speculation about further types of firearms being banned is as far as we know simply speculation, we have seen no evidence to suggest that is on the cards. One might also argue that the government has more things to worry about now with the Covid recovery than contemplate more tinkering with the Arms Act. In the present financial climate, it might even be prudent to shelve the expense of a firearm registry, which we all know will, at great taxpayer cost, serve no practical purpose other than making the government feel good.

Where to from here?

All firearm owners need to put aside their political and personal differences and unite in preparation for election 2023. We need to get behind and support those MPs who have supported us and sign up for those organisations that advocate for us. COLFO is the largest of these organisations, representing all 12 major shooting associations and SSANZ is part of that Council.  While COLFO represents the vast majority of club shooters, SSANZ, while having many club members, seeks to represent all those shooters, some 200,000, who belong to no club and give them a voice. 

We need firearm dealers to actively support these organisations

We need firearm dealers to actively support these organisations and we in turn need to support our local dealers. We are all dependant upon each other for our long-term survival.

SSANZ Is working hard to engage with local firearm dealers around the country and recruit new members from the many hunters and firearm owners who enjoy their sport outside of a club environment. 

SHOOTING IS A DYING SPORT – HELP US TURN THAT AROUND

CALL TO ACTION

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)

FIREARMS ARE NOT A PROBLEM IN NEW ZEALAND

While advocates of Gun Control NZ may not be interested in facts, as recently stated by their founder Hera Cook, we are.

NZ Police have recently released a report on Homicide Victim Statistics for the period 2007 to 20017  

What this report shows is that over the 10 year period there has been little change in the incidence of homicide by firearm as illustrated in the graph here. Firearms account for about 11% of homicides in New Zealand.  Taking population growth into account over the period the figures equate to an average of 1.5 murders by firearm for every 100,000 population.

So we question why are the government and police so intent on removing firearms from society and passing ever more restrictive laws and regulations that make firearm ownership so onerous?

 

CHANGES TO NEW ZEALAND FIREARM LAWS (Part 1)

CHANGES TO NEW ZEALAND FIREARM LAWS. (Source NZ Police)

As a result of the Arms Legislation Act 2020, passed in June this year, there have been significant changes to the law relating to firearms in New Zealand. These changes are far-reaching and will be implemented in stages over the next three years as Police develop policies for the administration. 

The immediate changes are:

A small group of firearms has been added to the definition of a prohibited firearm, (it is anticipated that there will be a buy-back scheme for these) including:

i. Short semi-automatic firearms (for example, because they have a short barrel or have a folding stock). This prohibition does not apply to collectors, curators of museums or employees of film companies. “Small semi-automatic pistols” are     excluded so that pistols commonly used for target pistol shooting disciplines are not prohibited; and

II. Centrefire pump-action rifles which are capable of being used with a detachable magazine or that have 1 or more non-detachable magazines capable of holding more than 10 cartridges.

iii. Any firearm containing a centrefire lower receiver that is capable of functioning.

  • The duration of a firearms licence for first-time firearms licence applicants will be for five years, rather than 10 years. This will also be the case if you are applying after your previously held licence expires, or is revoked or surrendered. Otherwise, the duration of a firearms licence remains at 10 years.
  • Endorsements granted for controlling wild animal or animal pests will have a changed duration and will need to be renewed before the firearms licence does.
  • Requiring an endorsed firearms or dealer’s licence enabling the person to possess a pistol in order to lawfully possess a pistol carbine conversion kit (which converts a pistol into a shoulder-fired firearm).
  • Additional regulation-making powers have been included to enable the Governor-General to make regulations specifying the security requirements for pistol carbine conversion kits, and for ammunition sellers.
  • Import permits will now be required to import ammunition, pistol carbine conversion kits, air pistol carbine conversion kits and all blank-firing firearms.
  • Changes to the penalties for many offences, eg the penalty for possessing a  non-prohibited firearm without a firearms licence is now up to 1 year imprisonment or a fine up to $15,000.
  • A Minister’s arms advisory group to be established with members from the firearm-owning and non-firearm-owning community.
  • Those who come to New Zealand who are issued a licence for up to a year (a ‘Visitors’ licence) will no longer be able to purchase firearms for possession or use in New Zealand. Those with a ‘Visitors’ licence can import their own firearm, lease, hire or borrow a firearm, or purchase a firearm for immediate export.

More information will be added as it becomes available, the new law and regulations are extremely complex.

RESEARCHERS NEED TO RESEARCH, NOT JUST BLAME

Researchers need to research, not just blame.

Law-abiding licensed firearms owners are again taking a hiding from authorities because of a lack of accurate research on what is really happening in New Zealand’s underbelly. 

University Otago Wellington firearms researcher, Hera Cook, is saying that firearms are being smuggled into the country and that licensed firearms owners are either selling weapons on the black market or allowing them to be obtained through burglaries due to slack security.

Controversy continues to rage over the March 15th terrorist attacker being granted a firearms license when, in hindsight, he certainly should not have one, plus “leaks” from the Police department suggesting that some legal firearm owners are suppling weapons to unlicensed people.

The question needs to be asked; If the Police know about these people, why have they not been apprehended.  

Enthusiasts are applauding the general Policing of illegal firearms and are noting that on average, one gang member a day is being charged with firearms offences, however, there is a strong feeling amongst legal owners that they are being used as the whipping horse. 

With firearms laws being changed, with many saying in a knee jerks reaction, there is a spotlight on banning the use of as many firearms as possible by politicians wanting to make career gain from being seen to “be doing the right thing to protect New Zealanders” 

As the debate swings from one side to the other, the reality is that the innocent law-abiding folk are being restricted more and more when it is not them who are breaking the law and killing innocent Police and citizens. 

Please authorities identify those who are the problem and act accordingly. 

TAHR CULL – money maker or high costs to Tax Payers. 

Tahr, as you will know, live in the most inaccessible areas of our mountain ranges and are recognized as an introduced pest along with other game animals, but while the damage they do is real,  keeping numbers at a manageable level has become a political issue.

The Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage, wants the Government to fund an organized cull at the expense of the taxpayer, National spokesperson for conservation, Jacqui Deans, wants the reduction to be in the hands of licensed and professional hunting guides. 

The former costing an undisclosed figure, the later a chance for New Zealand to cash in on the very profitable trophy industry.

Looking at the numbers controlled by professional guides, about 18,000 have fallen to hunters during the past 3 years bringing many thousands of overseas funds onto our shores.

The economic damage done by rabbits throughout the country and their control would, perhaps, be a better target than reducing livelihoods of guides and recreation for local hunters.

OUR FRIEND IN PARLIAMENT

An understanding hand and another voice for licensed Firearms Owners. 

At last another advocate for licensed firearms owners putting their hand up on our behalf. 

Previous COLFO Spokeswoman Nicole McKee has announced she has been asked by the ACT party to stand for Parliament in Wellington, and has been given number three on the party list. 

She has accepted because she says she wants to bring “commonsense and practicalities” back into Government.

Since the Christchurch shooting last year, she has frequently appeared in the media to criticise the Government’s gun reforms and the speed at which they were passed.

“I’ve been watching the erosion of a democratic process with our legislation over the last three years, and it’s become incredibly frustrating to be one of those persons on the outside,” 

Realising that there are around 250,000 licensed firearms owners, all with families and friends, the political power has been overlooked by other parties, so it is little wonder that ACT have stepped up and are now asking the Government and others the hard questions. 

Sadly some members of the media have already attacked Nicole and the ACT party for their stand, that being seen as an easy target to highlight as the general public have little understanding of firearms and their usage, however members of shooting clubs and organisations are already throwing their support behind the move by ACT and the work Nicole is setting out to achieve. 

For example, the Sporting Shooters Association of New Zealand are welcoming the move and are urging their members, all of whom are licensed owners, to make Nicole’s move a positive and, as she says, to bring common sense and practicalities back to Government. 

The election date is 19th September Our

BLACK THURSDAY

Thursday the 18th June 2020 will go down as the blackest day in New Zealand Firearm history with the passing of the Arms Legislation Bill 2019.

This Bill introduced by the Labour lead coalition government in response to the 15 March 2019 Christchurch Terror attack, includes a Register of ALL firearms, Registration of all shooting clubs and ranges, removes Doctor-patient confidentiality for Mental Health issues and the right to silence for licensed firearm owners.  In addition, it introduces more offenses and harsher penalties. And many complex regulations.

While its aim as stated by the government is to keep guns out of the hands of bad guys and make New Zealanders safer, it does the opposite.

Hear what Act leader David Seymour had to say about it in the final speech