OWNERS WANT COMPENSATION FOR PROPERTY CONFISCATION
SUNDAY 3 MAY 2020
Firearm owners go to the Wellington High Court tomorrow for a reversal of the ban on certain types of ammunition, and to seek compensation for the private property confiscated by the government.
The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners is seeking a High Court Judicial Review of the actions of the Minister of Police in banning and confiscating certain types of ammunition without evidence that it will improve New Zealander’s overall safety.
One of the questions is whether the Minister of Police took the wrong information into account when determining what would be ‘prohibited ammunition’. COLFO is also asking the Court to determine that the government should provide compensation for the property taken from law-abiding licenced firearms owners.
Nicole McKee, spokesperson for COLFO, said the Government’s confiscation of certain types of ammunition had no clear justification.
“The Government has banned and confiscated certain categories of ammunition with no evidence that they posed any additional danger to the safety of New Zealanders. They were able to ban these without taking the issue to Parliament to be questioned and scrutinised by other Members of Parliament, so we have been forced to challenge the Government’s actions in court.
“In making and then implementing this rushed decision, the Government sought no advice from firearm owners or their representatives. The wording of the ban was so broad that it appeared to include shotgun ammunition used for duck hunting. Once this was pointed out by COLFO the Order was changed for clarity.
“The Government considered this ammunition dangerous enough to ban, but they did not hold a formal hand-in event and no compensation was offered. The changes to the Government’s classification of these types of rounds was poorly communicated and wrought with confusion, as was their explanation of the process to follow to dispose of the ammunition. The poor communication, coupled with the refusal to offer compensation, embittered the firearm community. More so for those who had legally purchased this now banned ammunition through Government supply.”
The way this Government set about banning and confiscating private property without debate or compensation is bigger than the firearms ammunition issue. It goes to the heart of property ownership and the dangerous precedent that this Order in Council has set.
The Arms (Prohibited Arms, Parts, and Magazines) Amendment Act 2019 made it an offence to possess, sell or supply prohibited ammunition.