COLFO Calls for Consultation and New Arms Act

Call for dumping of outdated firearms bill

Firearms users are calling for the withdrawal of the Arms Amendment Bill No.3.

They want it replaced, instead, with a NEW act that will provide clear legislation, supported by sensible regulations to cover firearms ownership and use in New Zealand.

The bill, designed to ensure effective control systems and record keeping for the export, import and manufacture of firearms, was the first attempt to update firearms laws in this country since 1992.

Gary Howat, Chairman of the Council of Licensed Firearms Owners, COLFO, says since the bill was introduced, in February 2005, civilian firearms development and technology has moved a long way.

“Tinkering with a four year old bill to try to address these changes will not provide workable legislation.”

COLFO wants the government to work with the firearms community to develop practical, effective, common sense legislation that is easy to understand for all parties.

Their call has been prompted by recent Police moves to classify firearms by stock configuration, a measure they don’t believe will work in the long-term interests of the community.

“The country would benefit more from new forward thinking legislation that focuses more on the suitability of the owner of the firearm as a fit and proper person rather than the configuration or cosmetic appearance of any firearm.”

COLFO has today written to the Police Minister Judith Collins asking her to withdraw the current Bill and work with the firearms community towards workable legislation that will protect both community and firearms users rights.

“A new act, developed in conjunction with firearms user groups, has to be a far better option than simply band-aiding this dated, legislation.”

COLFO, which represents most major shooting bodies within New Zealand, is also officially recognised by the United Nations.

The Firearms Amendment Bill (no 3) underwent its first reading in April 2005 and has yet to be heard by the Law and Order Committee.