Fair and Reasonable Campaign
The select committee’s report on the Arm’s Bill could be out as soon as today, and in the last few days, there have been some developments that offer (dare I say it) a glimmer of hope that the politicians are starting to listen to the firearms community.
First up, we have learned that just 286 of the 4,210 submissions received on the Arms Legislation Bill were in support. That’s a mere 7%! Of those who submitted, 90% of submitters opposed the Bill with the remaining 3% neutral.
We are over the moon that the resources put together to assist firearms owners (and the effort of literally thousands of supporters like you to ensure our voice was heard!) appear to have paid off. Despite the best efforts of the anti-firearms group “Gun Control New Zealand” the public just didn’t get behind them and support the Bill. We absolutely showed MPs how little support there is the firearms register, the onerous regulation of clubs, and other measures contained in the draft law.
As we’ve said from the beginning, this Bill is not a safe way of showing you oppose the Mosque shootings. It represents the blame within our society being cast onto everyone Police have validated as being fit and proper respectable people. March 2019’s horrific event should have brought our country together, not divide it. If in its deliberations, the Select Committee can demonstrate they respect the view of the 90% of submitters then there may be hope yet.
Submissions showed how the Bill would target law-abiding licenced firearms owners rather than criminals, would add compliance costs and administrative burdens for no gain, and discourage safe participation in outdoor activities such as hunting and pest control.
Interesting tweet from NZ First MP
On Friday something interesting happened. NZ First MP Clayton Mitchell tweeted (my emphasis):
NZ First looks forward to continuing to work constructively with Minister Nash over the Arms Legislation, to get the optimal balance between legal gun use and compliance, as well as restating our Party’s view that police should be targeting criminals not law abiding gun owners.
ACT Party candidate Stephen Berry responded with “You haven’t got a lot of time!” to which Mr Mitchell replied, “We have time and a plan”.
But before we get too excited, remember that the Bill cannot be saved with last-minute tweaks and deals done behind closed doors. The whole reason we got into this mess is that the Government came up with the original measures without properly engaging with the firearms community or really understanding the issues. A series of last-minute changes (that wouldn’t go back through a select committee or consultative process) is almost certainly not going to produce sensible law.
At a minimum, we say the passage of the Bill should be paused until the Royal Commission into the Christchurch shootings reports back in April.
Will be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks.
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