In announcing an additional $562 Million funding for police, outgoing Police Minister Poto Williams tries to give the impression that she is finally getting tough on criminals. However as Chaz Forsyth, President of the Sporting Shooters Association of New Zealand points out “that is all smoke and mirrors”
$94 Million of this extra funding is to be spent on tackling organised criminals and gangs. But at the same time another $208 Million is to be spent on a huge bureaucracy within police to regulate law abiding firearm owners, shooting club ranges and set up a registry of privately owned firearms. In other words the government considers by a ratio of 2:1, law abiding firearm owners in your neighbourhood a bigger threat to your safety than the gangs who perpetrate violence.
The truth is, says Forsyth, that shooting clubs and club ranges have an impeccable safety record and pose no threat to public safety, yet the regulations to control them will see many of them close, thereby removing safe places for gun owners to shoot. Registering Firearms to prevent their theft is a false premise, as shown by Canada who abandoned their register in 2012 after costing $ 2.1 billion for no measurable gain.
Forsyth says “we believe the long term goal of the government and police agenda is to significantly reduce the population of lawful firearm owners in New Zealand, ignoring their outstanding safety record and the adverse impact this will have on the management of game and pest animals and our future biodiversity.”