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Gun lobby mounts campaign for fairer compensation for firearms

Author
Derek Cheng - NZ Herald,
Section
Politics,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 1:14PM
Gun City owner David Tipple will be one of the guardians of a gun lobby fund to fight for "fair compensation". Photo / Mark Mitchell
Gun City owner David Tipple will be one of the guardians of a gun lobby fund to fight for "fair compensation". Photo / Mark Mitchell

The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (Colfo) has joined forces with Gun City owner David Tipple to fight the Government's gun law reforms and its buy-back prices.

The council has today launched the "Fair & Reasonable Campaign" which, according to its website, is aiming for hundreds and thousands of dollars to take court action "seeking full compensation for the loss of your hobby, sport and lifestyle".

"Our highest priority is to sort out with police and government exactly how firearm owners can receive fair compensation for what they lose."

The funds will be managed by council member and certified auditor Rachael Dean, past president of the NZ Deerstalkers Association Bill O'Leary, and Gun City owner David Tipple.

Tipple has previously said that he thought the pricing list was about 25 per cent below what it should be.

Police have indicated that the buy-back price list will not be changed except to add firearms and parts that were missing from the original list.

Police Minister Stuart Nash has also pushed back on any suggestion to change the compensation prices, saying during during Question Time last month 80 per cent of feedback was positive and only 5 per cent was negative.

But a spokeswoman for Nash confirmed that the minister was referring to a 1 News Colmar Brunton poll in April about the Government's gun law reforms, well before the price list had been put together.

Council spokeswoman Nicole McKee told the Herald that about 90 per cent of the Colfo's 40,000 members were "absolutely furious" at the price list.

She said many of the 250,000 licenced firearms owners would own banned ammunition, and it was "quite disgusting" to have no compensation for any of it, but possessing it could see a two-year jail term.

"It's a bit like saying we're going to ban your vehicle, but we're not going to give you anything for the mags you just put on it."

Council is waiting for the second tranche of gun law reforms before putting together a legal challenge, but it had already given money to the Kiwi Party's failed attempt to have the gun law delayed or put to a referendum.

The Kiwi Party is appealing the High Court's decision to throw out all but one of its claims - including that the right to bear arms is protected by the Treaty of Waitangi - on the grounds they were untenable.

Colfo estimates there are 250,000 to 300,000 banned firearms, and McKee said that the fact that only 8000 firearms had so far been signalled for surrender showed a lack of public buy-in.

Nash rejected that when asked last week.

"I suspect what will happen is there are a lot of people just waiting to see how this is working and then as the process goes on, they will come in and hand over their weapons.

"We've heard from a lot of people that they think the buyback list is fair ... the vast majority of people actually believe that."

Meanwhile consultancy company KPMG is consulting a group of firearms experts about firearms and parts to be potentially added to the price list.

One of those experts is John Herbert, who owns the online store New Zealand Repeating Arms and who said about 20 firearms were being evaluated.

But he said there was no appetite to change the list or add ammunition to it.

Herbert has previously called the pricing list a "complete joke" in some cases, especially in relation to antique firearms that he said were priced well below what they were worth.

He said it was wrong not to compensate for banned ammunition, which he said included tracer bullets and armour-piercing bullets that were made in Russia, Eastern Europe and China.

"There would be millions of rounds of that ammunition in New Zealand. On average it costs somewhere between 50c to $1.50 a round.

"I have about 3000 to 4000 rounds. It's great for shooting into a sand bank at the rifle range, and it's half to a third of the price of commercially-made ammunition from a hunting store."

Police said that the amnesty for banned ammunition expired on September 30.

"Police recommend that firearms owners dispose of prohibited ammunition when they hand in their firearms and/or parts at local collection events," a spokesperson said.

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