Policy win: Alastair Scott’s dopey gun bill is stillborn

After we highlighted Alastair Scott’s dopey bill that was trying to solve a problem that simply does not exist the original post was shared more than 10,000 times on Facebook and firearms forums.

The backlash amongst the shooters of New Zealand was spectacular. Alastair Scott, bravely but foolishly, tried to engage and managed to eviscerate himself in the process because of his lack of understanding of current laws and the Arms Act.

All he succeeded in doing was digging a hole for himself that may well have long-term consequences. He was repeatedly shown the error of his ways but blindly carried on pushing his agenda.

Yesterday morning an urgent press release was issued by National attempting to explain it all away. I was told that the bill is not going ahead in its current form. It is actually just an early draft for comment from the firearms community.

Chris Bishop also took the time to email me:? Quote:

From Chris?Bishop, National?s Spokesperson for Police

The National Party is doing some work around the penalties for criminal use of firearms particularly by gangs. We want to make it harder for gangs to get firearms and easier to hold them to account when they do. This makes our communities safer and that?s a real focus for the National Party. However we must always work to find the right balance, and we will be very careful not to impinge on the rights of legitimate firearms users.

As part of these efforts Alastair Scott has been exploring ideas to look at raising the penalties for?possessing and using sawn off rifles and shotguns. The feedback coming through from legitimate firearm users and the various associations has been very clear and very helpful and will be reflected in any legislative proposal.

We will listen and we will address your concerns. The current proposal is an idea and has not been discussed by the National caucus yet, nor has any bill been entered in the Parliamentary ballot.?The draft that Alistair has circulated for feedback will need to be changed to focus more on penalties instead of a permitting system before we consider it further.?We will make sure we get the balance right and we will make sure legitimate users aren?t adversely affected.

As Police spokesperson, I am very keen to engage with licenced firearm owners. Later in the year along with your local National MPs I will be holding a series of ?National Firearms Forums? where licenced firearms owners will have the opportunity to meet me and in some cases our Justice spokesperson Mark Mitchell. The forums will be a great opportunity for licenced firearm owners shape our policy going into 2020. The sessions will primarily be held in the evening to allow people to attend after work and will be held in as many parts of the country as feasibly possible.

If you have any comments or questions please email me:[email protected] End quote.

Which is all nice, but fails to note that this was now put about as a discussion document. In fact, Alastair Scott rushed off by himself to the media, with a draft bill that was so erroneous it is an embarrassment to even suggest as a draft, and pushed himself forward. He did all that without the approval of caucus, checking with his police spokesperson or even running it past the leadership team.

I’m told that he was pulled aside and spoken to about his foolishness, such was the level of backlash amongst New Zealand’s 240,000-plus firearms licence holders. One firearms industry person is even on a National MP’s cabinet club list and he wasn’t even contacted before Alistair Scott went off half-cocked.

The firearms community are already distrustful of the motives of police, and the noise is growing to go all NRA on someone soon. It might be that Alastair Scott is going to be that person. There would be more firearms licence holders in his rural electorate than the size of his majority. The job may be done before then though, with persistent rumours that?the National party regional chair is seeking to have him turfed out at preselection. Either way, Alastair Scott looks set to have a rough ride for the next two years.