The Council of Licensed Firearms Owners (COLFO) says members making submissions on proposed regulations for firearm clubs and ranges are finding worrying new rules that will diminish public safety rather than improve it.
COLFO spokesperson Hugh Devereux-Mack says; “We’re finding dangerous changes that would have slipped through, such as barring under-16s from training on ranges, which are the safest environment possible.”
“Under-16s are legally allowed to use firearms, and many kids in rural areas grow up with firearms in their household or at their jobs. Yet the regulations would ban them from learning safe practices on a controlled range. They will instead do their training privately at home or with friends.”
Another dangerous rule is that club certificates, which will be public documents, will describe each club’s secure firearm storage.
“The number of firearms being stolen from licensed owners has decreased significantly. To publish complete information about how a club stores their firearms is sending an invitation to criminals,” says Hugh Devereux-Mack.
These dangerous rules are accompanied by others that COLFO members have called “excessive beyond stupid.” The rules ask for information already supplied by clubs, or are unnecessarily detrimental to a club’s ability to operate.
“The regulations would require clubs to supply information they already give to Government as an incorporated society, and charge a fee for processing the repeated information.”
Hugh Devereux-Mack says the significant new costs and form filling will bring an end to some clubs.
“The rules seem almost designed to make it too hard or too expensive. The extra cost just isn’t feasible for small clubs such as those set up by rural firearms owners to practice safely with mates.”
“If some farmers decided to save money and bulk-buy ammunition through the club, their new club application must include audited financial accounts at a cost of $2000, on top of the stacks of spreadsheets needed regardless.”
Hugh Devereux-Mack explains that clubs are community affairs, not camouflaged tactical teams.
“The rules will force all members of the club to hold a firearms license. For many clubs, that means losing the retiree who acts as treasurer, or family members who help with dishing out the milo.”
Non-licensed newcomers will only be able to participate in club activities for a maximum of three months.
“Restricting non-license holders from club activities, who are legally allowed to use firearms under supervision, is nonsensical. Not only does it contradict the law, it’s also a huge move away from the family-friendly environments that club members value, for no additional safety benefit.”
“A licensed firearm owner who wants to introduce their spouse to the hobby will be unable to access a controlled range environment after three months and be forced to do it privately. For communities that host club days monthly, that’s only three chances to go on a range.”
“There should be more clubs and ranges, to encourage people to practice their skills with others in a safe and controlled environment. Instead, clubs across the country are worrying whether they can keep their long-term secretary on board, and how they will be able to afford the extra fees.”
Public consultation on the proposed regulations for firearm clubs and ranges closes on May 4. Anyone wishing to make a submission to Police on the matter should do so before then.
For further information contact: Hugh Devereux-Mack. 027 362 0853
Hugh Devereux-Mack – “dangerous rules” proposed