COLFO media releases on the Arms Legislation Bill
FIREARMS OWNERS VICTIMS OF POLICE ERROR
THURSDAY 18 JUNE 2020
The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) says the passage of the Arms Legislation Bill today is a ‘terrible injustice’ imposed upon the licenced firearm owning community to cover Police mistakes.
COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee says the law punished firearm owners by changing licence rules that had worked perfectly well until Police switched resources and methods a few years ago.
“The licence rules worked, but it appears that Police didn’t apply them correctly to the Christchurch shooter. The new rules will only be as good as the people applying them
“Parliament should be embarrassed to have passed a law before anyone – including a Royal Commission - has worked out what the problem was.
“Rather than wait for information on what led to a tragic event and make recommendations, the Government and Police have lashed out at a group of people they had repeatedly certified as trustworthy and of good character.”
McKee says the new law does not have a single clause that will make people safer than they were before the Christchurch shooting, so COLFO intended to work with Police to make their implementation more effective.
“Not one New Zealander is made safer by this law. Implementation will be made worse by the Police being under-resourced, as we saw in their bungle of the gun confiscation and poor writing of these laws."
McKee thanked the thousands of supporters who came out in force to meet with their local MPs, make submissions to the Finance and Expenditure Committee, and attend protests throughout the country.
“Our opposition to this bill activated thousands of ordinary New Zealanders up and down the country and spurred them into action. This issue will dominate their vote in the coming general election,” she says.
CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL PHILANTHROPIST SUPPORTS COLFO CAMPAIGN
THURSDAY 09 APRIL2020
A philanthropist known for funding the construction of the Wellington Children’s Hospital is supporting the Council of Licenced Firearms Owners’ (COLFO) campaign against the Arms Legislation Bill.
Mark Dunajtschik has endorsed COLFO’s campaign in a new video in which he details his background, his passion for deerstalking, and reasons why a firearms register will not work. The long-time patron of the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association also outlines why the bill being considered by Parliament would impose unnecessary costs upon clubs.
Dunajtschik, 85, is well-known as a property investor and philanthropist, but has also been a keen outdoorsman and hunter his entire life.
In the interview, Mr Dunajtschik says the proposed register of firearms will not work because criminals and gangs will refuse to register their firearms. He also discusses the history of one of New Zealand’s most popular firearms, the .303, which was originally a weapon of war before its widespread adoption by Kiwi hunters.
COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee says:
“Some politicians have imported a false idea of who and what a firearms owner is, to make it easier for them to demonise ordinary New Zealanders.
McKee says that Mr Dunajtschik speaking out has helped dispel some of the myths around who New Zealand’s licenced firearms owners really are.
“Every week thousands of responsible Kiwis from all walks of life use their firearms for target shooting, pest control and hunting. They are labourers, tradesmen, farmers, businesswomen and professionals united by their sports and hobbies of choice.
“Firearms owners are as diverse as modern New Zealand in their backgrounds, professions and lifestyles. Whether they were born here or, like Mr Dunajtschik, moved here to make this country their new home, New Zealanders have a strong track record of safely and responsibly using firearms.”
“We applaud Mark Dunajtschik’s courage in speaking up for what is right and hope that others will join him in voicing their concerns over the Arms Legislation Bill.”
COLFO's interview with Mark Dunajtschik is available to watch here.
POLICE MISINFORM PARLIAMENT ON HARSH GUN CLUB LAWS
THURSDAY 05 MARCH 2020
The Police cited evidence that does not actually exist in persuading Parliament to adopt harsh laws on gun clubs and ranges, according to material obtained under the Official Information Act by the Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO).
This week Members of Parliament are scheduled to debate the Third Reading of the Arms Legislation Bill, which formally licenses clubs and ranges, adding a wide range of responsibilities which the firearm community believes will discourage volunteers and members.
Police recommended licensing because of what they said were local concerns on safety and noise. When requested under Official Information Act for evidence, the Police referenced “anecdotal information of complaints (sic)” and that “Police is (sic) often approached by Local Authorities with concerns over this type of land use.”
OIAs were lodged with local authorities to specify the number and type of complaints against rifle clubs and ranges, and when these had been notified to Police.
94% of the local authorities responded to the information request and could find no instances of them reporting a range or club safety issue to Police.
Of the 75 councils who responded, there were only three noise complaints they had received about firearms use:
- Auckland Council received several complaints following an ongoing disagreement between a pistol club and nearby meditation centre;
- Taupo District Council received an enquiry about firearms being discharged on a private farm, but found this to be compliant with their District Plan; and
- Whangarei District Council found there was one breach of noise restrictions after shots were heard out of hours at a pistol club in December 2018 – a time when the club was being used for Police training.
COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee says the OIA’s show Police have misrepresented the number and nature of community concerns about clubs and ranges.
“These measures against clubs and ranges are based on a trumped-up problem without a shred of evidence.
“The public has no concerns about the safety of clubs and ranges, and none of the complaints about noise, apart from one involving police use of firearms, was ruled valid. Which is why not one Local Authority has reported anything to Police, except over their own use of a range.
She said that the compliance costs, and responsibilities heaped on volunteers, will threaten the viability of many clubs and ranges.
“Few people will have stomach for the rules, paperwork and the criminal responsibilities they will face for breaches – even if those breaches are very unlikely.
McKee says that the lack of evidence is further reason why changes to the Arms Act should be delayed until the findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry are presented in April.
The information requested spanned the period 1 March 2018 to 28 February 2019.
A copy of the Police Official Information Act response is available here.
Wording of the request sent to all local authorities is available here.
Auckland Council response.
Taupo District Council response.
Whangarei District Council response.
COLFO has released a video explaining some of the concerns the firearms community has with the Arms Legislation Bill and the impact it would have on the viability of clubs and ranges.
Watch Down on the range.