1492476475712 - Police allowed to use gun range but dispute ‘far from over’

Police allowed to use gun range but dispute ‘far from over’

A Wairarapa shooting club has loosened its ban on police using its range but maintains its stance on “malicious and manipulative” firearms policies.

Wairarapa Pistol and Shooting Sports Club president Gary Rawlinson said the dispute between the club and police over the management of the Arms Act is “far from over”. In March, the club announced it would stop police using its Carterton ranges in protest.

The club later allowed police to train once after talking with local police, who said they would set up a meeting between shooting groups and the Police Commissioner and Minister of Police, Rawlinson said.

A meeting has been arranged between the club and the firearms team at Police National Headquarters.

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While the meetings were not quite what it demanded, the club had agreed to allow the police to use its ranges for three days in April, because of the efforts of Wairarapa MP Alistair Scott in talking to the Minister of Police, Rawlinson said.

Meanwhile, the Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (Colfo) has criticised the law and order select committee report released on April 7, saying it made recommendations that mostly targeted legal possession of firearms and not criminals, as it was set out to.

Chairman Paul Clark said the report’s solutions were “unworkable, expensive, impracticable” and would make no difference to criminal misuse of firearms.

“While we do endorse and agree with some of the measures which target gangs and narcotics, we are of the view that this report is flawed and is unsafe to make law on. The report, for the most part, does not meet its terms of reference.” 

Select committee chairman Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi disagreed with Colfo’s view that the report only targeted those who legally possessed firearms.

“We proposed some strong measures against gangs and illegal firearm use. The report is comprehensive and makes 20 recommendations.”

The Government will ultimately decide whether to follow any of its recommendations and change the firearms laws.

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