Rushed Reforms Well Off-Target
THURSDAY 26 SEPTEMBER 2019
The Government’s latest batch of proposed firearms law reforms won’t keep people safer and could even put more firearms in the hands of criminals, says the Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO).
The second tranche of proposed changes were passed after first reading on Tuesday night, meaning the Arms Legislation Bill now goes to select committee for consideration.
“The proposed changes are incredibly ill-conceived and the whole process is unnecessarily rushed,” says COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee.
“Put together, we’re looking at so-called reforms that won’t make people safer. The Government seems intent on punishing responsible firearms owners, rather than figuring out how to tackle the real problem of keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals.
“Even Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern acknowledges the Government knows the majority of gun crime is committed by unlicensed people using firearms that are stolen or traded illegally. So what’s the point of these latest proposals? This is a complicated and costly way to solve problems that don’t exist, while ignoring the problem that actually does.”
COLFO was most concerned about four specific aspects of the latest tranche – a proposed firearms registry, shortening licence terms, imposing restrictions on shooting clubs and ranges and excluding large numbers of people from obtaining a licence.
Labour, the Greens Party and New Zealand First on Tuesday supported the proposed reforms to the select committee stage, with National and Act voting against. National has proposed a raft of changes it wants up for discussion.
“But even these are weak and won’t make any difference because it’s simply tinkering with a law that’s totally unfair,” says McKee.
“The Government needs to be held to account by the people it’s ultimately disadvantaging – regular New Zealanders who already follow the law diligently. But it seems intent on ramming this legislation through without evidence or proper discussion.
“Given time for consultation is so short, and Parliament is just about to take a two-week recess, we’re urging firearms owners to directly contact their MP to voice their concerns.”