The Arms (Firearms Prohibition Orders) Amendment Bill

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The Arms (Firearms Prohibition Orders) Amendment Bill is now up for consideration by Parliament.

FIREARMS PROHIBITION ORDERS
Here’s what you need to know:

An FPO will prevent the individual from:

– Having a FAL
– Using guns at all, even under supervision
– Having guns, parts or ammo in their home
– Going to gun shops, ranges or shooting clubs

It will also be an offence to supply a person subject to an FPO with firearms, parts or ammunition.

To be slapped with an FPO the individual must:

– Be a member of a gang, as defined in the Prohibition of Gang Insignia in Government Premises Act 2013, AND (key word “and”)
– Have been convicted within the last 10 years of a Serious Violent Offence, domestic violence or a firearms offence.

BOTH of these elements must be fulfilled. They have to be a gang member AND a violent criminal or a firearms offender.

The power to make an FPO is held by the Commissioner of Police and cannot be delegated downwards. It’s not automatically applied to anyone meeting the requirements. It must be specifically issued.

The amendment does NOT create any new search or surveillance powers. For our Aussie followers that means that it’s not the same thing that happened over your side of the ditch, just the same name.

For those wanting to dive a bit deeper, here are some links to read:

1. The amendment bill: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/…/…/0058/latest/LMS40369.html
2. The Gang Insignia Act. Refer to section 5 for the definition: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/…/20…/0056/latest/whole.html…
3. http://www.legislation.govt.nz/…/00…/latest/DLM3023002.html…

FOUNZ COMMENTS:

All this time we have been telling the politicians to leave us alone and go after the criminals instead. This might be a genuine attempt to do just that. So, for us this comes down to two things. Firstly, does it target criminals? Secondly, does it affect us negatively?

The bill absolutely targets criminals, that’s quite clear. Does it stop criminals from obtaining arms illegally? Of course not. No law does, which is what we all keep telling the politicians. This amendment isn’t attempting to stop the black market. What it does is stops some of the worst offenders in NZ from being able to LEGALLY hold or use guns, gun parts or ammo.

At the moment, there is nothing actually in the law that stops crims from doing some of the above. The “fit and proper” test is not defined in the legislation. There is only guidance. Additionally there is nothing in the law that prohibits non licensed people from handling a gun under supervision or having gun parts/ammo in their house. This amendment would make it very clear that some specific quite nasty people are banned from having anything to do with guns.

So does it affect us, the law abiding, licensed firearm owners? Not unless you’re already a violent gang member. You can’t just get slapped with an FPO because Constable X doesn’t like your hat.

Can the Police declare your shooting club to be a gang? No. Only the Governor General can, via order in council, and there are requirements that have to be met to do so. This legislation already exists anyway, and the FPO bill doesn’t change it at all, it only references it.

Even if the GG did declare “Club X” to be a gang (which can’t just happen on a whim), you still can’t get hit with an FPO unless you are also a violent criminal. You can only be declared to be a violent criminal by the courts, so for Police to even consider putting an FPO on you, it has to already have met the test with the GG and the judiciary first. The threshold for even being eligible to be FPO’d is very high.

As LFOs we tend to be pretty sceptical about any new laws coming in, however this one does seem to do what it proposes to do without being able to be easily turned around against us.

Remember, this time last year we were staring down the barrel of the select committee report and its recommendations. Permits to procure for all firearms. Police getting to change the definition of MSSA. Giving Police the power to search A Cat license holders at any time without warrant. The Police Association were pushing for all semi-automatics to be treated as E-Category, and banning firearms by calibre.

We’ve come a long way since then. This is the result of the feedback that you all provided to then-Minister Paula Bennett through Nicole and Geoff.

Of course, you probably have your own feelings about this proposed amendment and you will no doubt have reasons as to whether you do or do not support it. What we ask is that you have a read of the bill, put your thinking cap on and make your voice heard.

Pretty soon there will be a call for submissions on this bill. You, the Firearms Owners United of NZ, will be leading the charge as usual. Until then, if you have any questions or thoughts on the bill we encourage you to email Stuart Nash MP, Minister of Police.

stuart.nash@parliament.govt.nz