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COLFO: Fair and Reasonable Update

By Michael Dowling, COLFO

Most firearms owners will have been emailed yesterday by Police announcing new regulations which are coming into effect today.

 

Police say they just provide safeguards for people waiting for decisions on exemptions when the amnesty ends on 20 December. So far, so good - it seems likely that thousands of people will be in that predicament.

 

They include people seeking pest control exemptions, people asking for license endorsements to continue as antique collectors and other exemptions provided for in the law. Clearly the process has overwhelmed Police resources. So an effective extension of the 20 December deadline for such people was becoming unavoidable.  

 

But the regulations fail to deal with a range of similar problems.

 

More ominously they go further.

 

New regulation 28LA lets the Commissioner unilaterally decide not to compensate fully for more than the quantity of parts and magazines that ‘the Commissioner considers appropriate for the reasonable personal use of the person’.

 

This new regulation reneges on the key reassurance from the government, reiterated this month by the Prime Minister in talking to Stephen Colbert, that people would get fair compensation.

 

This new regulation effectively says - “If you’ve had more than we think you needed, you don’t deserve normal rights. We’ll just seize your excess and for that only pay you less, unrelated to what it is worth now, possibly only what you paid, if you can tell us what that was.”

 

This regulation should seriously worry all New Zealanders, and particularly lawyers who defend the rule of law. We inherited with the Treaty the right to compensation for property confiscated by the government. The Arms Act before the changes earlier this year had provisions showing proper respect for that principle.

 

This new regulation effectively says - “If you’ve had more than we think you needed, you don’t deserve normal rights. We’ll just seize your excess and for that only pay you less, unrelated to what it is worth now, possibly only what you paid, if you can tell us what that was.

 

Many collectors will have far more parts than they will ever need for personal use. Some people just love having everything anyone might possibly break, or look for. Others will be the amateur go-to fixer of broken firearms. They’ll have sheds of parts they’ve painstakingly built up, boxes of rare parts were made unlawful overnight.  

 

New regulation 28LC now means to get compensation that you may have to prove what price you bought things for. How many people can do that with much-loved items, or parts accumulated over the years, for anything they have?

 

Less than a month from the end of the amnesty, they’re trying to clarify key provisions on compensation. They are still not consulting enough to get things right.

 

We’ll report further on some of the further changes they should make, like:

  • Confirming that people still with prohibited ammunition post 30 September (when the amnesty on ammunition ended) will not be prosecuted when they try to surrender it.
  • Clarifying the concessions for people caught up in delayed gun modification The Police list of gunsmiths approved for modifications did not come out till 23 September, and they are overwhelmed.

 

In the meantime, you can read Nicole's statement to the media here.

 

Thank you for your continued support.

 

Michael Dowling

Chairman

Council of Licenced Firearms Owners

(on behalf of the Fair and Reasonable Campaign)

 

PS. This new regulation which Police only announced yesterday demonstrates why the Police having a law making pen instead of properly separating the roles of lawmaker, law enforcer, judge and jury was such a bad decision. Last night our lawyers described this file as turning into a 'whack a mole' - with more and more regulation coming.  

 

That's why we continue to need your support to make our work to push back against the Police possible.

 

Keep up with Fair and Reasonable on Facebook.

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