The Council of Licenced Firearm Owners (COLFO) is today (4 May) heading to court to challenge the government and Minister of Police over its firearm law rushed through following the 2019 March 15 mosque massacre by an Australian.
COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee said the organisation’s case is focused at the ammunition prohibition.
“That’s where the government is most vulnerable – no compensation was paid at all, despite much of the newly banned ammo having been sold by the Government itself as army surplus.”
“If we win, it will make it politically harder for the Government to pass new laws targeting lawful owners of firearms. It would likely force the Government to relook at the compensation arrangements under the previous law changes.”
The Arms (Prohibited Arms, Parts, and Magazines) Amendment Act 2019 was passed under urgency in response to the 15 March 2019 attack.
Sloppy Confusing Law
“Like most Acts passed under urgency, sloppy drafting led to a confusing piece of legislation that is difficult to understand and onerous to comply with,” said Nicole McKee.
The Act made it an immediate offence to possess, sell or supply prohibited ammunition – turning many who were using the new ‘prohibited ammunition’ into criminals. The Minister of Police then made an Order that defined ‘prohibited ammunition’.
“It did not show any concern about how it would make New Zealand safer”.
Unlike for prohibited firearms, the Government ruled out paying compensation for prohibited ammunition.
COLFO is asking the Court to declare that the Minister of Police’s decisions on what is ‘prohibited ammunition’ was unlawful and that licenced firearm owners are entitled to fair compensation for their ammunition.