Update on meetings at the Wairarapa Pistol Club
The Wairarapa Pistol and Shooting sports club today met with the Area Commander of Police to discuss the clubs recent decision to end Police use of their ranges.
The meeting was cordial and positive and as an interim step, the club has agreed to allow the Police to use the range for an imminent training day. The Police representatives agreed to forward the club's request for a meeting of key interested parties in the Firearms community and the Minister and Commissioner of Police.
This situation arose out of frustration at the way Police have treated the Firearms advisory forum and the huge delays in processing permits, licences and renewals
Pistol NZ (and many other shooting organisations) have followed all reasonable steps to raise concerns over the Policing of the Arms Act that have arisen over the last 2 years. We have talked to local Arms Officers, we have emailed personnel at PNHQ and we have been an active and outspoken member of the Firearms Advisory Group. Yet despite these efforts, the majority of our members remain frustrated and angry at the actions, interpretations and policy adopted by the Police.
Frequently I have lodged an individual members issue with PNHQ and on some occasions these have resulted in a positive outcome. However, this shouldn't be necessary. Today I followed up the publicity generated by the Wairarapa initiative with letters to the Minister of Police, the Hon. Paula Bennett and to the Assistant Commissioners office.
Pistol NZ clubs have allowed the Police to use our range facilities for over 30 years and the relationship has generally been mutually beneficial. The action of Wairapapa PSSC was not about their relationship with the frontline Police who train at their range (and they are not encouraging other clubs to do likewise). The steps were taken to put pressure on PNHQ to listen to and respect Licenced Firearms users.
It is up to you the members to continue this message - go and see your MP's. Show them what our sport is all about, talk to them about the fun, the competition, family and community aspects of it. Make the most of the publicity that this situation has bought us and encourage positive interactions with members of the community.
Initial Response from PNZ to members on the 7th March
Response from The New Zealand Pistol Association:
The action today by the Wairarapa Pistol Club is borne out of frustration with current resourcing and response issues by Police National Headquarters and Firearms Control. Pistol NZ is a member of the Firearms Advisory Forum and have expressed concerns about these issues over the last 12 months to Police. Police have utilised training facilities at Pistol NZ clubs for over 30 years and to my knowledge this is the first time one of our clubs has chosen this avenue. We would like to continue a relationship built on confidence and trust.
However, many shooters have expressed concern around recently adopted new policies that have imposed more restrictions on the licenced firearms owner without addressing the issue of criminals and firearms. These restrictions have caused dissatisfaction within the firearms community. We welcome the opportunity to discuss this current situation with Police.
Posted: Fri 10 Mar 2017