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Arms Bill a Legislative Colander

Arms Bill a Legislative Colander:
Must Be Rewritten

The Arms Bill has been written so poorly than it must be abandoned and rewritten, according to the Council of Licenced Firearm Owners, COLFO.

“Whether you support tougher measures on firearms or not, this Bill is so badly drafted it is worse than what we have,” says COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee.
She said the Bill was riven with holes and inconsistencies that would create injustice and confusion.

“Innocent people will be fined and jailed, and unable to hunt for food, control pests and enjoy their hobby” Nicole said.

She said the Select Committee had not given itself much time to deal with a cascade of corrections originating from poor drafting. In 2002 a Select Committee considering similarly poorly drafted legislation from the same source (the Police) had decided not to proceed with the legislation.
Examples of the problems include:

• Defining the firearm registration address as where the firearm is “kept” but in other clauses as the firearm’s “location”, turning the requirement for constant updating into a logistical nightmare including even a firearm’s location in bush while being used for hunting
• Failing to define the difference between “possession” of a firearm and its “temporary transfer”
• Requiring constant updating in the registry of a firearm’s “location” every time it changes – including when taken into the bush for hunting.
• Not defining ammunition at all, but declaring what-ever ammunition is to be too dangerous for non-firearm licence holders to have
• Defining anyone at a location where there is ammunition to be illegally “in possession” of the ammunition if a licensed firearm owner is not present
• Defining the person to attest to a licence owners mental health as a “health practitioner” which legally means anybody from a chiropractor to a podiatrist
• Requiring health practitioners to declare someone “unfit to use firearms” if they experience “significant” mental health issues – without any definition of either of those terms
• Removing firearms and denying licences to anyone charged with offences unrelated to guns, and even if they are subsequently found not guilty or the charges dropped
• No definition of what constitutes trading in firearms, so even a gun hobbyist may need a dealers licence if they earn profit from sales
COLFO's submission (draft only) is available on the Fair and Reasonable website: www.fairandreasonable.co.nz/colfo_submission

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