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Two Thirds of Banned Firearms Retained

FRIDAY 20 DECEMBER 2019

The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) says two thirds of the firearms banned from today have been retained by owners because Government lost the trust of firearm owners, and Police errors lost their confidence.

COLFO Spokesperson Nicole McKee says that owners hiding valuable firearms, protecting family heirlooms, and being ignorant of the fact they are affected by the new bans is now the new normal.

“Despite our best efforts to encourage compliance, we know owners have been so disappointed by the settings of the ban, and its poor implementation, that many can’t bring themselves to comply.

“They never overcame their shock at the unjustified over-reach that meant hundreds of widely different models, even including antiques, would be destroyed.

“They never overcame the slap in the face of the low compensation, less than 95% of the wholesale price, which signalled that the Government wanted owners to suffer financially as well.”

“They never overcame being blamed by authorities for being somehow responsible for a heinous act of terrorism – something they would never do.”

The ban was then undermined by a succession of errors and uncertainty, most arising from hasty design and implementation. These included granting access to location and ownership details of prohibited firearms notified to Police by owners, Police backflipping on the inclusion of “lowers” as modular sections of firearms subject to the ban, uncertainty over bans on smaller specialist parts, and the status of ammunition and refusal to compensate for handing it in.

COLFO released results of a November survey of 5000 owners that found that the ban and Arms Act had pushed confidence in Police to close to zero.

• A sharp decline in licenced firearms owners who were confidence in Police administering the Arms Act – 0.55 out of ten in 2019 (down from 2.42 out of ten in 2018)

• A reduction in confidence that Police were providing timely turnaround for services under the Arms Act – 1.03 out of ten in 2019 (down from 3.43 out of ten in 2018)

• A steep fall in the confidence licenced firearms owners have in the Police applying the Arms Act fairly to them – 0.85 out of ten in 2019 (down from 3.78 out of ten in 2018)

• A lack of confidence that Police will take individual circumstances into account when administering the Arms Act –1.24 out of ten in 2019 (down from 5.29 • out of ten in 2018 down)

COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee says the survey findings confirm firearm owners do not have trust or confidence in Police to deal with them fairly when administering the Arms Act.

“The high-handed attitude of the Police hierarchy has led to the almost complete failure by Police at a frontline level to convince firearm owners to hand in their firearms.”

Survey participants described the frustration of dealing with the Police. This included cases of firearms being registered to the wrong licence-holder, inspections of security being completed over the phone rather than in-person, people waiting two years for security inspections in new premises, and instances where frontline Police have asked firearms owners to get the latest information on the changes.


ENDS


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