Licensed firearms owners slam new firearm laws

Wed, 23 Oct, 2019

“Licensed firearms owners came to Parliament today and unanimously criticised the Government's new firearms laws,” says ACT Leader and Select Committee Member David Seymour.

“Fish and Game, Federated Farmers, Hunting and Fishing, the New Zealand Deerstalkers' Association, and the Game Animal Council all slammed the idea of a gun register and the proposed regime of registration.

“Submitters argued that a register of firearms would be costly and ineffective, pointing to the failure of registers overseas, and the practical difficulties of making such a register meaningful. For the register to accurately reflect whose possession a firearm is in at any given time would be impractical given the reality of people hunting with friends and transporting firearms to remote locations for use. If it is not practical for the register to be accurate, then it is a waste of time and taxpayer money.

“The groups also argued that the newly proposed registration regime for shooting clubs and ranges would discourage people from forming them, reducing the sense of community and cooperation that allows licensed firearms owners to upskill and monitor each other’s use of firearms. This law would be an own goal for firearm safety.

“The Law Society made a forceful submission, pointing out that the Bill as introduced reverses the presumption of innocence. The idea that we are innocent until proven guilty is the cornerstone of our justice system. The fact the Government is prepared to discard the presumption of innocence shows how blinded it has become in its effort to change the law post-Christchurch.

“Submitters also reported how alienated they feel by the Government’s actions surrounding firearm laws this year, with a representative of the New Zealand Deerstalkers' Association saying that they were law-abiding people who’d been made to feel like 'criminals'.

“These submissions must force the Government to reconsider its misguided proposals.”