A large number of New Zealanders collect edged weapons, militaria, ammunition, firearms, and associated reference material. Firearms collections range from the earliest muzzle-loaders to the latest models, showing the innovations developed from the 13th century through to the present day. Many of these firearms are historically important with some being categorised as works of art.
A Category C endorsement to a firearms licence allows enthusiasts to collect such items. The endorsement covers museum curators, theatrical groups and in particular, bona fide collectors who own some of the finest and most historically significant firearms collections in the country. These collections have an important place in preserving part of this country’s heritage for the appreciation and education of future generations. Private collections are sometimes loaned to museums and other organisations for public display.
Category C endorsement holders are not allowed to fire their firearms and stress they are not interested in doing so. They make the point that they are historians, not shooters. They must also comply with stringent requirements to ensure their collections are safely and securely stored.
COLFO supports existing legislation which allows limited importation and possession of collectable firearms, accessories, and spare parts in original condition. Collectors should also be able to continue collecting ammunition, since this is an integral part of their hobby.
COLFO believes accredited collectors should be optionally allowed to collect military style semi-automatic firearms under their Category C classification. At present, these are only available to holders of a special Category E endorsement. Modern firearms, particularly military models, are an essential part of all firearms collections and should be available for posterity.