A mere 7% support Arms Bill
The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) has warned that the Arms Bill being considered today in private by a Select Committee is on “shaky ground” after being widely discredited by submitters.A mere 286 of the 4,210 submissions received on the Arms Legislation Bill were in partial or total support. 90% of submitters opposed the Bill in total or in part. 3% made neutral submissions pointing out impacts.
The Select Committee had a shortened timeframe to dissect the Bill’s detail, purpose and impact from submitters across the breadth of New Zealand society.
COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee says Members of Parliament should be wary of supporting the Bill given the strength and thoroughness of opposition from dispassionate legal experts, passionate firearm users and ordinary New Zealanders.
She said the Committee’s interim report dealing with three of the most glaring faults in the Bill was only the start of the Bill’s deep flaws.
“The Bill is on shaky ground – it has no relevance to the Mosque attacks last year and introduces draconian and unworkable laws which would make even the most law abiding unable to comply, let alone allow them to join clubs or use safe ranges.
“This Bill is not a safe way of showing you oppose the Mosque shootings. It represents the blame within our society being cast onto everyone Police have validated as being fit and proper respectable people. March 2019’s horrific event should have brought our country together, not divided it. If, in its deliberations, the Select Committee can demonstrate they respect the view of the 90% of submitters then there may be hope yet.”
Thousands of individual New Zealanders and groups representing their interests submitted against the Arms Legislation Bill, and many dozens appeared before the Committee to point out its many shortcomings.
Organisations such as Federated Farmers, New Zealand Fish & Game Council, New Zealand Deerstalkers Association and the New Zealand Game Animal Council demonstrated how the proposals would adversely affect their members and organisations.
Submissions showed how the Bill would target law-abiding licenced firearms owners rather than criminals, would add compliance costs and administrative burdens for no gain, and discourage safe participation in outdoor activities such as hunting and pest control. Many submissions also found that there was very poor rationale for the introduction of a firearms register.
Even the New Zealand Law Society had to tell the Committee how the Bill ignores the principle in the New Zealand Bill of Rights that people are innocent until proven guilty.