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COLFO Corrects Claims Made About Clubs and Ranges

Updated: Jun 26

Source: COLFO Media Release

26 June 2024 // 3:30 PM

Correction: Complaints about firearm clubs and ranges

The Council of Licensed Firearm Owners (COLFO) has today corrected claims made to the media this week by the Federation of Islamic Associations of NZ, and the Police Union about consultation for easing rules on firearm clubs and ranges.

Chris Cahill repeated claims to journalists that he has been warned are incorrect, and people with no knowledge of running clubs and ranges claimed the current rules were useful and not onerous.

COLFO spokesperson Hugh Devereux-Mack says:

“These are squeals from people outraged to no longer have exclusive access to a gullible Government.

“Their comments show little knowledge of clubs and ranges, which explains why they were not asked to help ensure technical accuracy of the discussion document.

“New Zealanders with a basic knowledge of range safety records instantly recognise form-filling nonsense that serves no useful purpose to their safety. Most of it is data already available, and recording it makes no one an ounce safer.

“We want to increase availability and membership of clubs and ranges because they are a community-means of driving good practice and openness.

The facts on Cahill:

Chris Cahill repeated a claim that licensed firearm owners are the biggest source of firearms for gangs. He has subtly added the phrase “biggest known” source. That’s because LFOs are the only source Police have investigated. That investigation discovered that the source could not be traced for 86% of illegally owned firearms found in the possession of criminals. Police have never investigated sources such as imports, smuggling, and clandestine local armourers.

Despite Cahill’s claims, Police were invited to submit as part of the consultation process. The Police Union that Cahill represents is not a part of the Ministers Advisory Group, or involved in Clubs and Ranges. As the Firearms Safety Authority moves away from Police management, Cahill should become accustomed to having the same rights as other lobby groups.

The facts on the impact of rules:

Chairperson of FIANZ Abdur Razzaq made the misleading statements that the costs associated with Section 6 were “less than half the cost of a pack of bullets” and that the time to complete the paperwork was approximately 22 minutes. These statements highlight he is either intentionally misleading the public, or does not have even a foundational knowledge of the topic he is wanting to give feedback on, which should lead people to ask; what real value would his submission contain.

Regarding the cost of compliance: New Zealand Deerstalkers Association Wellington Branch operates the only public long-arm range that is used by hunters, pest controllers, and recreational hunters in the city. It is a non-profit run by volunteers and was impacted by the new compliance regulations. The costs of compliance were the equivalent of 12 years of operating revenue for the range, with thousands of dollars being invested to tick boxes despite there being no history of unsafe practices. In fact the organisation teaches firearm safety and uses the range to educate new hunters.

Although filling in the paperwork may only take 22 minutes, the investment of volunteer hours to gather information for the boxes ticking is significant. We encourage Mr Razzaq to contact his local range and join a working bee or range day so he may better understand what he is speaking so passionately about.

Across the 23 ranges the NZDA manages, the cost of compliance is likely hundreds of thousands of dollars and hours of work to tick boxes. Scaremongering the public about perceived threats to safety is not valuable as part of the democratic process.

The facts on consultation:

Media has been misled into reporting that the review of regulations would not be open to the public.

It is standard practice across all government to ensure discussion documents are accurate before consultation. A draft was given to the Minister’s Arms Advisory Group (MAAG) to comment on whether it accurately depicted the regulatory tasks undertaken by clubs and ranges.

It is worth noting that the same outrage over the democratic process being rushed was not heard from these critics when the public was given 2 days' notice, and 5 minutes per submission, when the Ardern Government changed firearm laws in 2019.

All New Zealanders will have opportunities to be involved in the officials’ consultation phase and Parliament.

The facts on range safety:

Safety within more than 1,201 ranges around New Zealand has never been a danger to the public.

Since 1987 there have been only 19 injuries at shooting clubs, 15 were at highly regulated police-certified pistol ranges, and 4 were police or military injuries - not recreational hunters or licensed firearm owners. Only 4 of the 19 injuries occurred at long-arm ranges that are affected by the proposed Section 6 changes.

Additional notes.

The discussion document was circulated to directly affected stakeholders including Shooting Clubs and Range Operators, and the Minister’s Arms Advisory Group. This was a precursor to public consultation which occurs ordinarily after a law change bill has had its first reading and is before a Select Committee.

The Select Committee process is the point in time when all members of the public have the ability to make submissions.

The fact that a discussion document has been circulated prior to the drafting of a bill, which is normally done behind closed doors, indicates the government's commitment to a fair and transparent process that takes into consideration those directly affected and strives for technical accuracy.

986 views2 comments


It should be clear by now that Mr Cahill is utterly incapable of telling the truth I would go as far as to say it’s pathological.


The public are able to submit commentary on laws, but if they don't have a firearms license, how can they offer an informed opinion?

No license, no opinion.

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