COLFO Newsletter Nov 2019By Michael Dowling & Nicole McKee, COLFO
- 3rd Nov, 2019 Nov 3, 2019, 12:00 AM
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Fair & Reasonable Campaign – Progress Report
COLFO launched its website: www.fairandreasonable.co.nz to raise funds in support of its campaign to seek fair and reasonable treatment as a result of the governments rushed new arms legislation.
Those who have contributed to the fund have been receiving regular updates by e-mail.
COLFO was established as an association of Associations, we have eight primary groups which made funding and communication relatively easy, we could send a dozen emails and process a dozen payments per year. This started moving in recent years however with individuals wanting to join and over the last 10 years we have expanded to around 120 direct memberships.
Communication and subscription billing was handled through my work but after 15th March we quickly had issues with limits and I was soon handling 100 subscriptions a fortnight rather than per year. Now I am receiving 50 emails most work days for COLFO, on top of the 60-80 per day for work.
“Within two weeks we had the Fair & Reasonable site built, which can operate within excess of 100,000 members and the fees are scaled on the users. We moved from my Outlook address book of 100, which grew to over a 1000. We now have a database of over 3,300 supporters and 1802 donors.”
It became evident we needed to build a new website with a far greater capability, as well as deal with the issues of the rushed legislation. We searched for the right legal team and settled on the Wellington firm Franks Ogilvie as our Strategy Advisers, taking their advice on systems that could help us manage a large fundraising campaign, communication and subscriptions. We have the ability to scale up or down as events evolve.
Within two weeks we had the Fair & Reasonable site built, which can operate within excess of 100,000 members and the fees are scaled on the users. We moved from my Outlook address book of 100, which grew to over a 1000. We now have a database of over 3,300 supporters and 1802 donors.
The lawyers have been working hard through more than 200 hours of research which is being fed into the work steams we are managing. We also appointed a public advocacy consultant. That company has quickly built up to 75 hours per month on strategy development and press releases.
We are past the minimum amount we needed for running a successful campaign. However we are still short of the ideal number so please log on to the Fair and Reasonable site (if you have not donated). If you have please impress on your friends to donate as well.
Nicole and I meet weekly with the legal and public relations advisers to build the output. We are also co-ordinating information from members, so please send us updates on what you have learnt or any Official Information Act requests you have made. We have met with the QC Jack Hodder and have another meeting planned for an update.
With planning in place, the most important item I can highlight now is our submission to the Commission of Inquiry. I commend you all to submit to the Commission your experiences when you were first vetted and voice any concerns you have about the deterioration of the “fit and proper person” assessment.
There is much more to come and it is important we maintain operational discipline to ensure our actions are not countered easily.
Nicole McKee Reports
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I would like to thank the licensed firearms owners out there for their support, confidence and advice over the last few months. The communications coming in are the most I have ever received, literally thousands. On that note it is important for me to acknowledge that I am behind in replying but am attempting replies to those who have asked me questions. I receive hundreds of emails a day and on top of that am attempting to work at my day job as well. Your patience with my responses is appreciated.
The team at COLFO has been tirelessly working on behalf of licensed owners. Many of us putting in seven days a week for quite some time. It’s important to acknowledge our member organisations’ Executives and their COLFO Board representatives who are also doing their best to keep everyone updated as we progress through these firearm law reforms – all of them ares volunteers to our communities.
“I would like to thank the licensed firearms owners out there for their support, confidence and advice over the last few months. The communications coming in are the most I have ever received, literally thousands.”
Apart from the “normal” weekly media responses and interviews via radio, television and print, I have travelled around the country, recently speaking in Ashburton and to politicians both home and away. COLFO’s Chair Michael and I also attended a NZ Post meeting with NZ Police, NZ Customs and industry representatives to assist in getting NZ Post’s confiscated mail moving again now and in the future. I have also attended local AGMs of various shooting disciplines and presented updates at these meetings.
Given enough notice, if we have a Board Member near your area there is a possibility that we can also speak at your upcoming meetings. Michael and I are attending as many as we can.
Now that our team of professionals are on board to assist the Fair & Reasonable campaign we are in daily contact with each other regarding the volume of work. This help to spread some of the load off the volunteers andh makes us more effective. The standard and content of our deliverables has increased. That’s due to those who have financially supported the campaign allowing us to focus on the bigger issues at hand instead of being only able to work through administration. Encourage your friends, family and colleagues to join our campaign.
There is a long road ahead of us all. This Government told us there is more coming after the second tranche. There is also an election next year. As a community it is important that we stand as one. We will not always agree on the detail but we are likely to agree on the argument. Regardless, it is too easy to be picked off discipline by discipline unless we unite. Look after each other out there. Keep positive, keep informed.
CONFISCATION AND COMPENSATION – AKA “BUYBACK “– NOT GOING SO WELL
As of 23 September 15,187 owners had handed in 24,073 firearms. Apparently only 3,126 of these are E cat MSSAs so considering that there were reported in excess of 17,000 MSSAs held on E cat licences, it would appear the majority of owners are holding back.
Now, half way through the six month amnesty period police have finally provided a list of approved gunsmiths who may carry out work to modify tube magazines in order to make them compliant with the new law. They have also set up a chain of dealers who are willing to receive surrendered firearms for compensation.
The price list for surrendered firearms has been updated several times and now includes a total of 415 firearms and some revision of prices.
If you have handed in and received payment it will be worth checking to see if the price of your particular gun has increased in which case claim the difference. Also take photographs of your firearms before you hand them in, in case you wish to dispute the valuation.
FAIR AND REASONABLE CAMPAIGN – SUBMISSION TO THE ROYAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY
Police procedures allowed Tarrant a gun licence. The Christchurch mosque attack might not have occurred had police had the resources to enforce the firearms restrictions they control.
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In a submission to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the shootings, COLFO claimed the perpetrator was less likely to have been licensed under the process in place before 2015, and would not have had large capacity magazines if police had followed advice to restrict their sale.
COLFO Chair Michael Dowling said it was clear that the alleged perpetrator should never have been deemed a ‘fit and proper’ person to own the guns or the large capacity magazines used in the attack. “He was able to slip through gaps created by a system chronically stretched by poor resourcing and funding, as well as a lack of expertise and knowledge.”
“We don’t know the background checks into Tarrant but we do know he had travelled to unusual locations internationally, was not a New Zealand resident for long and was not involved with firearms as a hobby.” Despite this, Tarrant applied for, and received, his licence in 2017. “This raises serious concerns about vetting procedures and whether the 2010 police guide was adhered to during Tarrant’s licensing process. We understand that his referees had never met him in person, nor did they include a family member.”
Michael Dowling said that while details of the licensing of Tarrant were murky, his ability to commit the alleged crimes would have been reduced had police made the changes COLFO had earlier recommended to the existing E category endorsement. “It was a change of interpretation in 2009 that encouraged more imports of ‘non-military’ AR15 rifles for A category licence owners, and allowed those same owners to buy large capacity magazines that turned them into much more powerful firearms.”
“This raises serious concerns about vetting procedures and whether the 2010 police guide was adhered to during Tarrant’s licensing process. We understand that his referees had never met him in person, nor did they include a family member.”
COLFO had urged previously that large magazines be restricted consistent with E category firearms. Our submissions on that and many other issues were dismissed by police.
Mr Dowling said the tragedy might have been avoided had police worked with the firearms community rather than against it. “In recent years police have not effectively administered the Arms Act. They have not listened to external advice from experts.” This, combined with reductions in budget for background vetting and firearms safety, had a part in this tragedy.
SECOND ARMS AMENDMENT
The new Bill was announced on 13 September. Following the first reading it has now been sent to the Finance & Expenditure Select Committee. Submissions closed on 23 October. The Bill contains many things that will adversely affect all firearm owners. As previously stated, the Bill will have a devastating effect on our sport and pastime.
We must stand strong and united if we are to save our sport.
The Council of Licenced Firearm Owners works to protect your rights & priviliges.
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