COLFO News - Issue 3
Select Committee Inquiry into Illegal Possession of Firearms
COLFO Chairman Paul Clark made an oral submission to the Select Committee Inquiry on 10 August. He was followed by other Board members who made submissions on behalf of their own organisations on 10 and 17 August, each taking the opportunity to reinforce their written submissions, and counter adverse claims made by others. Our impression is that our submissions were well received by the committee, who asked searching questions.
We are now awaiting the Select Committee to make its report to Parliament. It should be noted that any recommendations made are not binding on the Government of the day but may lead to further legislation in due course, at which time there will be further opportunity for all firearm owners to make comment.
ATT Conference in Geneva
In August COLFO was represented at the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in Geneva by Grant F. His full report may be viewed on the COLFO website, http://colfo.org.nz in summary he said: I am in no doubt this is a worthwhile activity. Merely being there is worth a huge amount and puts us in a much more credible position with the battles to come. Having been involved at this level strongly adds to our credibility and should be reinforced in our future dealings with any changes to the Arms Act.
I observed that there was nothing discussed that makes internal registration “best practice” despite what Professor Gillespie says. We can now say hand on heart that there is no international obligation to register. (Not that international law is binding unless ratified internally, as is the case with, say, The Geneva Conventions Act).
The ATT is designed to regulate the supply of small arms to restrict the ability of states and non-states parties to commit breaches of International Humanitarian Law (war crimes in other words). A signatory must report to the registry its sales and import of arms, and assess if the weapons sold will be used to carry out war crimes.
The ATT in its preamble in several sections recognises the legitimate sale of sporting and historical arms, nor is it designed to interfere with domestic law. Having said that, there is still the possibility that the ATT could, however well meaning, have an effect on the supply of sporting arms and, moreover, ammunition. I see ammunition as really the battleground in the future.
Sustainable Hunting Conference in Australia
Also in August Board member Nicole McKee accompanied by NZDA President Bill O’Leary attended the SSAA sponsored Conference on Sustainable Hunting in Australia.
The conference itself was held over three days. There were 72 presenters of which 10 were Keynote Speakers. The program consisted of these presenters delivering over 7 sessions. Session headings included: Human Dimensions of Sustainable Use; Wild Resource Management; Wildlife Policy and Regulation; Use and Control of Vertebrate Pests; NonConsumptive Sustainable Use; Sustainable Indigenous use of Wildlife and Wildlife Trade and Commercial Use.
The COLFO delegates met with SSAA for their formal meeting, where each organisation updated the other on the state of current affairs and committed to assisting each other with issues we face. A full report from Nicole may be viewed at http://colfo.org.nz
World Forum for Shooting Activities (WFSA)
In early November Board member Phil Cregeen will attend the annual meeting of WFSA, in Phoenix Arizona, where it is anticipated that COLFO will be asked to host the 2017 meeting here in New Zealand.
COLFO will have a stand at this year’s Sika Show in Taupo on 24 & 25 September. Barrister Nicholas Taylor will be in attendance to offer free legal advice on firearms matters each morning between 10.00-12.00pm.
A recent poll commissioned by TVNZ indicated that 83% of New Zealanders favour tougher gun laws. Of course they did not specify what “Tougher gun laws” actually mean and we doubt whether many of those questioned know either let alone what laws apply to licensed firearm owners now.
However what this polls shows is that the New Zealand public at large has been persuaded by sensational and often biased media reporting that our firearms laws are lax. Invariably the media publish statements made by those opposed to firearm ownership but steadfastly refuse to publish counter arguments.
What we all need to do is counter this adverse perception at every opportunity. Explain that our current laws are effective and law abiding firearm owners are not the problem; that invariably gun crimes are committed by unlicensed individuals who show no regard for any laws; that tougher gun laws will most certainly divert police resources away from combating real criminal activity and have them focusing new restrictions on law abiding people.
This is how YOU can get the message out: talk to your MP and local politicians; write to newspapers challenging stories that call for “tougher gun laws”; and most important of all make submissions concerning any new changes to the Arms Act when you’re called upon to do so.
If we could get more support we could be more effective – worldwide
Download the COLFO News - Issue 3 here.