Recently I received an email from the Antique Arms National President, Andrew Edgecombe. In the email, he has a crack at me (Note to Andrew: I don’t use minions) and my messages about the failures of COLFO. I will address his email in this article on the points that he raises as proof that the current path that he and COLFO are on is destined for more failure and increased restrictions on firearms owners.

It has been concerning to see the BFD ( Cameron Slater or one of his
minions) doing their best to discredit COLFO via a recent Facebook article. Yes we have had considerable change levied upon us as a community over the past two years. COLFO and it’s team of volunteers have put in tremendous time and effort on behalf of the firearms community over this period endeavouring to lessen the impact.

Andrew highlights for me the problem, that COLFO is “endeavouring to lessen the impact”. The impacts have not been lessened one bit; if anything, they are growing.

No one was thrown under the bus when COLFO submissions were presented (which was the case with some submissions made by others). We all encouraged people to make individual submissions and many did.

Yes, they were thrown under the bus. COLFO agreed with every single amendment proposed by Police but sought to mitigate them in minor ways, especially over the transportation of firearms. Instead of demanding Police provide crime statistics to prove that these areas were a mounting problem, they quietly agreed with Police with minor adjustments. As a result Police will be able to point to COLFO’s submission and loudly exclaim that the gun lobby agrees with them. He then goes on to point out how much of a waste of time engaging with politicians in a respectful and forelock tugging manner is:

I actually have statistics relating to submissions made in supplementary order paper 408 (SOO 408) This is an example of democratic process at work. And will possibly give an indication of the frustrations we have endured in trying to deal with processes and procedures which largely shut us out in the formative stages of legislation.

SOP 408 had a total of 686 submissions.

7 submissions supported the amendments (1.0204%)

20 were “out of scope” (4.3731%)

2 were “neutral” ( 0.2951%)

657 opposed the amendments (95.7725%)

Think about that for a minute, Deborah Russell (Labour and rabidly anti firearms) chaired this select committee and on behalf of our most open, honest transparent government ever and following due democratic process ignored the overwhelming 95.7725% opposition to SOP408 and passed the SOP anyway.

Thank you Andrew for pointing out in your own words how the current path for firearms owners is hopelessly flawed and actually pointless. The fact that he and COLFO think it is sensible for every one to continue to engage in such sham processes shows just how out of touch our supposed representatives are with the reality of the situation.

(that 657 who made submissions made a great effort, and I believe it was the best response to any submission process to date. But remember this was only 657 out of 240,000 licences firearms owners).

And here we see again the failure of COLFO to engage and mobilise politically the 250,000 firearms owners that they purport to represent.

You should probably raise this with your MP, or maybe Poto Williams and ask how this equates to being seen as democratic?

Why? You have just proven that they don’t listen. The single worst thing COLFO did was call the campaign “Fair and Reasonable”. Since then nothing has been fair and certainly not reasonable. These sorts of soft approaches to thorny issues have never succeeded. There is an old saying that nice guys finish last. By all accounts, and there are many who speak highly of Andrew Edgecombe, he is a genuinely nice guy. Sadly, nice isn’t working for us shooters.

What’s happened since then? We have had more examples of Cindy’s Government forging ahead introducing legislation “ under urgency” in true dictatorial fashion.

Again, Andrew proves the point that engaging politely in the political process won’t work when you have politicians who are effective dictators and use their parliamentary majority to shaft 240,000 law abiding firearms owners.

Despite the frustration the COLFO team still remains dedicated and focused.

The bone of contention seems to be the issue of transportation of firearms and the security of said firearms. Whatever happens, be that status quo or the implementation of recommendations for security of firearms in transit we have a duty of care to ensure our firearms are secure. Be that in the home or in transit to a hunt or shoot, and sadly theft from vehicles seems to be statistically very high. ( there’s still a couple of days to make your own submission to the public consultation document, I will attach relevant veiled to this email.)

There are no statistics provided, none that I have seen, and most firearms stolen from vehicles are from the Police’s own vehicles, and they have aluminium lock boxes. Nonetheless, the Police cannot in anyway claim that thefts from vehicles are statistically high. Compared to what?

I personally would love nothing more that to enjoy the status quo and would have been happy for that to be the case from day one. However it’s not the case and I do believe that we must be seen to be exercising due diligence when it comes to the security of our firearms.

Any firearms theft, misuse or infraction reflects on us collectively. In essence it’s a case of “Secure your guns, secure your hobby”.
The reality is compliance in all areas is something we must be mindful of, there is no room for complacency.

Here again you see the problem. A resignation to the inevitable, an acquiescence to Police demands, a failure to challenge the Police to prove this alleged “statistically high” issue and finally a Stockholm Syndrome response that it is our fault and therefore somehow we deserve these new restrictions. Restrictions that, by the way, will likely see the end of large shoots like a Service Rifle competition, or indeed even the ubiquitous black powder days at the range.

The full array of firearms at a military rifle range day for just twelve shooters

Quite how you are supposed to secure a cannon, a Snider carbine, a Snider Short Rifle, a Brown Bess, a Martini-Henry .577/450 and numerous other black powder rifles that you may take to black powder day, all via a cable to an anchor point as well as fit in all the other extraneous items required is beyond me. Four blokes travelling to regional shotgun champs each with their Trench gun, DTL gun, Skeet gun, and Sporting Clays gun all of a sudden becomes problematic. But COLFO and many other single gun users have blithely given this all away by agreeing with Police proposals. Yes, we have been sold down the river.

I’m off to the COLFO AGM this weekend, I have been involved as NZAHAA representative for close to ten years now and I do have a good insight into what goes on and how valuable the contribution of COLFO has been on many issues that have arisen in that time.

That’s nice, thanks Andrew for your service. I’m sure you and others have been trying very hard. But sadly, what you’ve been doing has been falling on deaf ears, or has been deliberately ignored. All COLFO has made are contributions, but they haven’t stopped a single thing from happening. Any concessions that are thought to have been won are then traded away in the next round of “consultation” so that little bit by little bit our sports are being destroyed.

It is the same attitude that NZ Pistol has…the changes (semi-autos) don’t affect them so they agree to them. Same with clay target shooters…not affected, so they agree, same with small bore shooters, not affected so they just agree. Well, sooner rather than later the changes are going to affect them, and they never stood with other shooters and so their sport will be negatively impacted as well.

Historically many things have been quietly dealt with via consultation, a lot if the COLFO input has positively influenced policy etc through the dogged determination of the COLFO team members.

This is complete nonsense. Consultation with Police is a sham: the Police make outrageous demands and COLFO makes them slightly less outrageous and then claims the win. They wasted tens of thousands of dollars in pursuing forlorn litigation, impoverishing members and enriching the lawyers. “Fair and Resonable” was met with a cold stare from politicians.

You may not always see what these people do or know what they have done.

The past two years had them grappling with a tremendously changed landscape and in my view they remain the best qualified to deal with the challenges imposed upon us and will continue to work with tact and diplomacy.

And I must reinforce they are all giving their time ( and a lot of it) on a voluntary basis in an effort to secure a continuation of the hobbies, sports and pastimes we all enjoy.

And their way hasn’t worked. Nice guys finish last and gun owners have been far too nice. We’ve tried engaging in the political process within political parties, in select committees and engaging in consultation. None of that has worked. It seems that no one other than Police are allowed to make recommendations, and then they only consult with us to tell us what they are going to do anyway.

There needs to be an alternate approach. One that proactively provides solutions, that Police engage with at our request, not the other way around. Politicians and obdurate civil servants like Mike McIlraith need to be held to account for their decisions and their policy implementation.

Look, don’t get me wrong, Andrew Edgecombe is a nice guy, even if he sledges me in an email, but sadly we are dealing with politicians and they just ignore nice guys.

Nice doesn’t work. It’s time for a better way. It’s time for a more effective way. We won’t be able to put the poo back in the donkey, but we will be able to stop them extracting any more. MPs need to lose their seats, and Police failing to follow the law, or indeed breaking the law need to be prosecuted. Simple goals and achievable results will gain and focus the attention of both Police and politicians. If you want to be kept in the loop of developments in forming this new organisation then fill out this form:

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