An open letter to Alastair Scott

Dear Mr Scott

I agree with the fact that we need to tougher penalties, that are enforced, when firearms, in the hands of criminals, are used in perpetrating criminal acts.

I enjoy collecting some firearms as well as shooting and hunting. I read the draft of your?Arms (Prohibition on Shortened Firearms) Amendment Bill. Your proposal has unintended consequences for law-abiding firearm owners. There are a number of reasons why an owner may wish to legally cut down a rifle or shotgun barrel, provided the overall length remains longer than 762 mm. For instance, when putting a suppressor on a rifle, owners usually shorten the barrel slightly to keep the overall length of the rifle (with the silencer on) down, otherwise it becomes too cumbersome to carry in the bush for hunting. The sport of ‘Cowboy Shooting’ would also be severely affected as shotguns are often shortened for this sport.? ?

Your draft Bill provides a blanket statement that any and all shortening (even by a centimeter) will constitute an offence unless prior approval by the Police is granted. This makes thousands of firearms owners criminals and is entirely different from gang members and criminals who make sawn-off shotguns, or rifles (under 762mm) for concealment and illegal acts.

I and a majority of the 240,000 law-abiding firearms owners would consider that shortening a rifle or shotgun so long as it remains longer than 762mm should not be considered a problem. That length is defined for a reason: so that a 762mm weapon is still too long for concealment and therefore should not be considered as something illegal under an A category licence.

May I suggest you consider the effects of your Bill on 240,000 firearms owners, many of whom won?t be happy with your vague definition of ?shortening? knowing it will unfairly criminalise them. These voters are conservative, law abiding and make party donations. Will they make donations or vote for a party that treats them like this? Your Bill has wide ramifications and tarnishes all your colleagues. Many shooters supported Ron Mark and NZ First after their strong rebuttal of firearms select committee report. Your poorly worded Bill further alienates all of us.


On behalf of Hunters, Shooters and Collectors