Real life examples of how arms administration does not match the legislation
Police claim firearms sport memorabilia does not meet "historic" definition
3 June 2020
Under the most recent changes to the Arms Act, collectors have been told that they need to construct distinctly themed collections. Police then assess whether there is a cohesive theme and then whether each prohibited firearm would then fit within the theme of the collection/s
Many collectors are interested in New Zealand firearms history and have created collections relating to this theme. These tend to detail the types of firearms used by New Zealanders throughout history, preserving examples for future generations.
The recent ban on MSSAs has meant that they too have become items of historic record in their own right. Collectors have started preserving these sorts of firearms so that the examples and types used by New Zealanders are not lost to time.
We have been contacted by one such collector who had his endorsement processed, only for Police to refuse several MSSAs that existed as part of his collection. They argued that as the firearms in question were of a sporting variety, they could not be included in a collection on New Zealand history.
Aside from pest control, MSSAs were very often used in sporting competitions such as Three Gun.
New Zealand’s sport shooting community is a strong one which covers many disciplines. It would be a poor move for Police to ban the collection of sports memorabilia from a collection established to showcase New Zealand firearms history
What should have happened
Police ought to recognise that sports memorabilia can and should constitute an important part of New Zealand history that is worth preserving.
The recent changes to firearms laws have meant that several sport shooting events enjoyed by New Zealanders can no longer take place. It is important that we keep records of these events and the firearms used in them.
Guidance for the LFO community
The Police are trying to deny some collectors possession of now-prohibited firearms. Licenced collectors can and should challenge Police on their rationale if they are looking to deny possession of items in a collection. We have heard of a few instances of collectors successfully challenging Police on particular firearms.
Make sure you keep good records of your interactions with Police on firearms matters. If they advise you that they are looking to refuse your possession of a collectable firearm, get their rationale in writing and consider escalating matters further to a specialist firearms lawyer.