Arms control legislation has existed in New Zealand since the mid 1800’s when it was introduced to control imports and changes of ownership.
There has been a variety of related legislation over the ensuing period and firearms control, ownership and use today is regulated under the provisions of the Arms Act 1983. This Act removed many of the anomalies of previous legislation and introduced better procedures.
Amendments introduced in 1992 were based around restricting the number of military style semi-automatic rifles in the belief that this would reduce the number of amok killings. “Lifetime” licences were cancelled and re-vetting of all licence holders was introduced.
The original 1983 Arms Act is regarded, both locally and overseas, as one of the most enlightened and effective pieces of arms legislation in the world. It is the only firearms legislation achieved after full and proper consultation with all affected by it. The central theme of the 1983 Act is the vetting and licensing of firearms owners and dealers and the promotion of safe use and control of firearms.
COLFO recognises the need for sensible firearms legislation capable of achieving logical goals. We maintain the current legislation provides an adequate workable balance of safeguards for the community as well as maintaining historical freedoms for licensed and individually approved firearms owners.
COLFO considers the current legislation is generally working well although there appear to be grounds for improved enforcement of the legislation to further enhance public safety. COLFO would support an increased allocation of Police resources to achieve this objective.