The current firearms law reform is being pushed through by the Government as a direct result of the horrific events that occurred in Christchurch six months ago.
Right now, a Royal Commission is looking into the events, and what lessons can be learned. The Commission has a mandate to make significant recommendations to the Government which may include even more law changes, restrictions and bans that affect you as a firearms owner. We are worried that a number of groups will try to simplify the issue, blame firearms, and call on further bans and restrictions.
Earlier today we publicly released the submission made by the Council of Licenced Firearms Owners
At the bottom of this email is a copy of our media release linking to the text of the lengthy submission.
In short, we submit that a key failing was the Police’s lack of prudence in their assessment of Brendan Tarrant as a ‘fit and proper’ person to own firearms.
We argue that rather than new laws to ban firearms, or further regulation of the fit and proper test, the Police (or another suitable agency) should be properly resourced enabling them to focus on ensuring good administration of the Arms Act. We suggested that administration and vetting changes implemented post-2015 have potentially made passing the Police vetting significantly easier.
We have drafted a customisable submission template for you to send the Commission – it only takes a few minutes to ensure your voice as a responsible firearms owner is heard.
Ideally, we would like to highlight for the Commissioners the difficulty in passing Police vetting prior to 2015, and compare that to the relaxed processes Police have used since then (and what we understand enabled Brenton Tarrant to get a firearms licence, despite clear warning signs that he should not have been assessed as meeting the ‘fit and proper’ test).
Our lawyers have advised us that the Commission will not publicly release submissions or personal details of submitters and all information will be stored on a secure database. Similarly, we will hold your information in the strictest confidence.
So please take a moment to use the online submission tool our team has created to ensure the Royal Commission is left in no doubt that responsible firearms owners like you share an interest in a safer New Zealand, but that it is unlikely to be achieved by further crackdowns on the enjoyment of firearms-based hobbies by law-abiding firearms owners.
Thank you for your support.
Fair and Reasonable Campaign
PS. Public submissions to the Royal Commission close at 5pm Friday 27 September 2019. It takes just a few moments to have your say via our website at www.fairandreasonable.co.nz/inquiry_submission.
Police procedures allowed Tarrant gun licence and firearms
12 September 2019
For Immediate Release
The Christchurch mosque attack might not have occurred had police had the resources to enforce firearms restrictions they control, according to the Council of Licensed Firearms Owners (COLFO).
In a submission earlier this week to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the shootings, COLFO said the alleged perpetrator was less likely to have been licenced under the process in place before 2015, and would not have had large capacity magazines if police had followed advice to restrict their sale.
COLFO Chair Michael Dowling said it was clear that the alleged perpetrator should never have been deemed a ‘fit and proper’ person to own the guns and large capacity magazines used in the attack.
“He was able to slip through gaps created by a system chronically stretched by poor resourcing and funding, as well as a lack of expertise and knowledge.”
It appeared that Australian citizen Brenton Tarrant obtained a licence to own the firearms used in the attacks despite factors that should have alerted police to his unsuitability.
“We don’t know the background checks into Tarrant, but we do know he had travelled to unusual locations internationally, was not a New Zealand resident for long and was not involved with firearms as a hobby.
“Despite this, Tarrant applied for, and received, his firearms licence in 2017.
“This raises serious concerns for vetting procedures and whether the 2010 police vetting guide was adhered to during Tarrant’s licencing process. We understand that his referees had never met him in person, nor did they include a family member.”
Mr Dowling said that while details of the licencing of Tarrant were murky, his ability to commit the alleged crimes would have been reduced had police made changes COLFO had earlier recommended to the existing E category endorsement.
“It was a change of interpretation in 2009 that encouraged more imports of ‘non-military’ AR15 rifles for A category licence owners, and for those same owners to buy large capacity magazines that turned them into much more powerful firearms.
“COLFO had urged previously that large magazines be restricted consistent with E category firearms. Our submissions on that and many other issues were dismissed by police.”
Mr Dowling said the horrific tragedy might have been avoided had police worked with the firearms community rather than against it.
“In recent years the police have not effectively administered the Arms Act. They have not listened to external advice from experts.
“This stubbornness, combined with reductions in budget for background vetting and firearms safety, had a part in this terrible tragedy.”
The submission is available online at www.fairandreasonable.co.nz/royal_commission_submission