We endorse COLFO’s post but would also suggest the vast majority of licenced firearm owners want the report scrapped and see police use the existing legislative tools to prevent guns getting into criminal hands.
The last thing gun owners want in Stuart Nash’s point 2 below is police being given the opportunity to put Ultra Vires policies (invented regulations) into Legislation.
— COLFO START —
Stuart Nash Labour MP for Napier meet with constituents last Thursday night to discuss the Law & Order Select Committee Report. Nash held the public meeting due to the backlash he received once the report was tabled and made public. Fact is that the backlash has been directed at ALL members of parliament but so far Nash is the only one to hold a public meeting on the topic and COLFO commend him for that.
Nash’s post below identifies three areas that he will look at:
1. Penalties should be increased for offences where firearms are used in crime.
COLFO agree that penalties should deter criminal activity and be effective which currently they are not. But any new penalty must be weighed against how a criminal is likely to behave once penalties are increased. As an example, if a criminal intentionally uses a firearm in commission of a violent crime and knows he will go down for life, what is to stop him from killing his victim? He has nothing to lose except a victim who could identify him. COLFO would like Government to seek advice from outside of Police to help determine what increased penalties should look like and weigh it against potential consequences, both good and bad, to the law-abiding communities.
2.Take rules out of regulation and put them in the Legislation.
COLFO’s opinion is that the Arms Act is mostly fit for purpose. There are some issues that need addressing such as security. A lot of problems are arising from Police writing, administering and enforcing this piece of legislation and in doing so they change the rules as they please. They call this Police Policy and it’s an everchanging moveable feast. Should Labour look to legislate some of the regulations into an Act of Parliament then COLFO would expect Labour to look outside their Police expert advisors. There is obviously a need for a common sense, community based and grass roots approach to legal firearms use and advice by law abiding constituents. Nash states that the Law & Order Select Committee took extensive advice from Police and Police Association. COLFO says look at the backlash that caused. The Select Committee ignored their constituent’s submissions and if this continues it will be at their own peril.
3.Too much inconsistency among AOs, Firearm owners are not clear about safety requirements.
COLFO are concerned that Nash has safety requirements mixed up with Arms Officers roles. Yes, there is an inconsistency with security requirements across the country, yes there are a few other inconsistencies as well. However, general consensus is that those inconsistencies are coming about from lack of training, lack of communication and changes in Police Policy from PNHQ that leaves the AO floundering in confusion. The change needs to happen at the top not in the Districts. COLFO also suggests that the AO’s having a bit of leeway to look outside the square and see each individual as their own person is essential. We licence the person not the firearm and this method works. People don’t fit in boxes, as individuals the AO must be able to work outside the square. Regarding safety COLFO agree that the lack of support and training for all firearms safety instructors is a concern. Volunteers have been left to mostly fend for themselves with many now working directly for Police. They have not had any dedicated management, training, upgrading, support and recruitment assistance for nearly two years.
— COLFO END —