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COLFO Update: Have you heard about the second buyback?

By Michael Dowling, COLFO

This will be the last update you will receive from COLFO this year. Let me say first, thank you to all of our supporters who make our work possible, and I wish you a relaxing summer break.

 

I am flagging a number of issues coming down the pipeline - including the next round of firearms buybacks.

 

BUYBACKS ROUND 2

We are still awaiting the specific details, but early in the New Year the next buyback will begin for the latest round of firearms banned by the Government.

 

These are the those banned in the Arms Legislation Act, and include:

  • 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;
  • 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; and
  • any firearm containing a centrefire lower receiver that is capable of functioning.

 

WILL THE POLICE USE THE ROYAL COMMISSION REPORT TO RAMP UP FEES?

The Royal Commission said that arms administration by the Police was underfunded which we think the Government will use to increase the financial burden on licensed firearm owners.

 

The former Minister of Police Stuart Nash always said that he would be looking at putting up fees but did promise to consult.

 

“...if the Police had simply not diverted resources into other areas, and followed their own procedures, the terrorist would not have been approved for a firearms licence.”

 

Concerningly, in the Police’s “Briefing to Incoming Minister” (also called a “BIM” – a document prepared by every Government agency immediately after each election) the Police argue that increasing fees are needed to manage public safety risks. 

 

We disagree - if the Police had simply not diverted resources into other areas, and followed their own procedures, the terrorist would not have been approved for a firearms licence.

 

NEW PARTS OF THE LAW COMING INTO FORCE ON CHRISTMAS DAY

Certain parts of the Arms Legislation Act come into force on Christmas Day (that is six months after Royal Assent of the Act) because different parts of the Act are enforceable in stages.

 

Some of the key changes on Christmas Day are:

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  • the new offence for possession of ammunition, magazines or parts without a licence. Penalty for possessing without a firearms licence of up to $10,000;
  • the new offence for selling or supplying ammunition to/from person without a firearms licence;
  • the new test for fit and proper including the ability for the Police to revoke licences if people have been convicted of particular offences;
  • the new requirement to supply the name of your health practitioner and the duty for them to tell Police if they think you are unfit to use a firearm; and
  • changes to how you seek review of Police decisions.

 

We thought we would have received the new regulations well before Christmas, but so far we have nothing. So at the moment, it’s a dog’s breakfast. We expect new regulations very soon in the New Year.

 

They are likely to focus on the buyback but on the reasons for the delay, but what else they are planning? Your guess is as good as mine.

 

NEW MINISTER, NEW SET OF RESTRICTIONS?

We had hoped the Arms Legislation Act would be the last round of the Government banning firearms, but that might now not be the case.

 

On 3 December, the new Minister for Police Poto Williams told Parliament - There is a great deal more to do, and I intend to make further announcements in the new year. 

 

Watch this space.

 

“Between the High Court decision and the Royal Commission’s findings, we’ve made the point that the earlier bans were a mistake and upheld the principle that proper compensation should be paid by the Crown. The obvious fix is to include ammo in the second buyback.”

 

WE’VE WRITTEN TO THE MINISTER WITH AN OFFER TO WORK TOGETHER, RATHER THAN IN OPPOSITION

Colfo, as you can see 2021 is unlikely to be any quieter here at COLFO. We’ve spent the last few weeks planning as best we can, and have taken the decision to put our limited resources to best use.

 

This morning I wrote to the Minister to offer her an olive branch, given the findings of the Royal Commission on the Police dropping the ball. I also let her know that we see little point of now continuing our appeal regarding the compensation for ammo.

 

Between the High Court decision and the Royal Commission’s findings, we’ve made the point that the earlier bans were a mistake and upheld the principle that proper compensation should be paid by the Crown. The obvious fix is to include ammo in the second buyback.

 

I asked the Minister to put an end to the ‘us vs them’ attitude Stuart Nash promoted. We would like to meet you to discuss ways to reduce the risk that we settle into a pattern where it seems normal for people to align into being either pro or anti-firearms.

  

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The law changes since March 15 have imported USA-style vilification. We have always supported effective licencing. Few (if any) New Zealand firearm user groups have supported any US NRA slogans. Yet the government, Police Association, anti-firearm groups and the media have used anti-NRA-type language about us. We have been subjected to name calling by the former Minister of Police while we have avoided entering into this behaviour. 

 

I also took the opportunity to invite the Police to correct the record:

 

On 22 March 2019, the Police released a statement about the terrorist’s firearms licence. They stated that the correct process was followed by staff involved in the firearms licence application. The Royal Commission found unreservedly that this is not correct. Police have not corrected the record nor explained how their own internal investigative processes got it so wrong.

 

Hopefully the Minister sees our invitation as a path back to a safer and more trustful relationship between law-abiding licenced firearms owners and the Police/Government.

 

But in any case, we’ll keep you in the loop and hit the ground running in the New Year.

 

You can read the full letter to the Minister here.

 

Thank you for your support.

Michael Dowling

Chairman

Council of Licenced Firearms Owners

(on behalf of the Fair and Reasonable Campaign)

 

Keep up with Fair and Reasonable on Facebook.

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