COLFO ammo court battle "a test for all Kiwis"
The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) has asked the High Court to review the new regulation banning several classes of firearms ammunition.
The review could benefit all New Zealanders because it will determine whether the Government can outlaw ownership of property without compensation.
COLFO is seeking an order that some ammunition should not have been included in the Arms (Prohibited Ammunition) 2019 Order, and that not paying compensation is invalid.
COLFO says Police Minister Stuart Nash applied the wrong test when banning several classes of ammunition, a move that in no way improves public safety. COLFO wants the ban overturned and, at the very least, fair compensation to owners for financial loss.
“All New Zealanders should be concerned by bans without compensation of legally purchased products. This sets a truly dangerous precedent. Today it’s ammunition and licenced firearms owners, but if politicians are able to ban things without financial remedy, there’s no telling what’s next,“ says COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee.
She said many firearms owners own hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars’ worth of ammunition that the Government has now banned.
“They have been told to surrender it and receive no compensation in return. Firearms owners are quite rightly angry, so we’re going to court to get a fair deal for them.”
Licenced firearms owners found in possession of the now-banned ammunition – including surplus tracer rounds sold legally in bulk by the Crown – can face penalties of up to two years in jail.
“Many licenced firearms owners will have purchased this ammunition from the Crown in good faith – now that good faith has been destroyed,” says McKee.
“The licenced firearms community has a long and constructive history of working with Police and Government to ensure firearms laws are fair, reasonable and put public safety first and foremost.
“But this knee-jerk, penny-pinching approach is ruining what was a very good relationship.”
McKee says the Government should make good on compensating owners as a bare minimum.
“Kiwis believe in a fair go. When the Government restricts our rights to property, compensation is only reasonable. Treat us fairly and give us a fair deal, or undo the law that made the ammunition illegal.”
COLFO’s application to the High Court is available here.