Outdoors Party Arms Policy
The Outdoors Party supports the right for private ownership of sporting (non-military type) firearms by approved “fit and proper” persons. Non-sporting firearms (including vintage and collectors’ firearms) should be allowed with a special licence and extra precautions.
The right to bear arms is an important constitutional right, which must not be undermined without good reason, due process and careful assessment of amendments to ensure they achieve the desired outcome.
Until the hasty and poorly conceived 2019 Amendments, the Arms Act 1983 and Arms Regulations 1992 were world-class legislation that balanced the right to lawfully possess a firearm with the safety of individuals and society.
The balance is achieved by allowing ‘fit-and-proper’ persons to possess firearms and ammunition. This effectiveness of this approach for ensuring the safety and security of firearms is confirmed by research which shows that most gun offences are committed by unlicensed users.
We oppose the establishment of a gun register as proposed by the 2019 amendment.
Before the 2019 reforms there were very few arms offences by licenced gun owners. The issue was with those who illegally had guns.
The 2019 reforms have exacerbated this problem by resulting in many law-abiding New Zealanders now being deemed as “criminals” and threatened by the police. While many sporting rifles antique firearms have being handed in, an unknown number of the semi-automatics that were the purpose of the reform remain at large.
The Outdoors Party seeks:
- A review of the 2019 Arms Act amendments to establish if they are “fit for purpose” and a moratorium until this is completed;
- An enquiry into the current enforcement and management practices by the NZ Police relating to the Arms Act, to include, but not limited to;
– Assessing and managing who is and is not fit to hold a firearms licence
– Issue and renewal of licences
– Firearms categorisation (including air powered firearms)
– Firearms related crime reporting and recording
– Firearms safety instruction
- Establishment of a single and publicly accountable entity, to manage the Arms Act and related regulations so they are applied and enforced consistently.
- A change to sentencing tariffs under the Sentencing Act 2002 and the enforcement processes under the Crimes Act 1961 so any Illegal use, possession or procurement of firearms is considered as an aggravating factor in sentencing of other offences. If the sentence is custodial those charges relating to illegal firearms will be served consecutively and not concurrently as is the case currently.
- Transparent investigation of any cases where the fit and proper person test was not effectively applied by the police resulting in harm to persons; and
- Any future amendments to Arms legislation must require:
- rational objectives which are supported by robust evidence rather than perceived, risks and benefits; and
- due process including robust consultation with firearm licence holders and other stakeholders.