Proposed changes to firearms’ licensing impacts on rural communities

June 2, 2016 10:57 pm

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) is very concerned about the changes to firearms’ licensing, training and testing, being proposed by the Mountain Safety Council (MSC). The MSC executive has been announcing these changes in a series of road shows around the country. Volunteer instructors are being told their services are no longer required.

The current MSC Firearms Safety Programme has about 480 volunteers with significant hunting and shooting experience. They are based in 150 locations in New Zealand. MSC propose to significantly reduce the number of trainers and the number of locations.

The three models being considered are

A. 40 part time paid instructors covering 50 locations, or

B. 5 full time paid instructors covering 50 locations, or

C. 15 Part time paid and 72 Volunteers covering 50 locations.

“The proposed changes will seriously impact rural communities,” says Fiona Gower, RWNZ Vice President.

“Many rural people use firearms as a tool of the trade. The proposed reduction in firearms instructors and/or volunteers means that distances to travel to the nearest licensing centre will increase. There will also be less people available to do the educating, testing and related tasks, which means it is likely that it will take longer for these processes to happen.”

RWNZ advocate for ‘rural proofing’ in policy development. This means taking into account the equity of access to services, as well as ease and cost of compliance for people living in rural areas.

RWNZ believe that the proposed models have not considered the additional burden on the rural sector of the proposed changes to access to firearms education, safety training and licensing services.

MSC volunteers have been delivering the Firearms Safety Programme for the past 30 years and its success can be measured by the steady decline in the number of unintentional shooting incidents, better practical training and advice, and monitoring of the behaviour and safety standards of fellow shooters.

RWNZ say MSC should consult with representatives from the rural sector to assess the impacts on the rural community before they decide on making any changes.

 

For further information please contact:

Fiona Gower
Vice President
Rural Women New Zealand
Email:[email protected]
Ph: 027 428 3884

Rachael Dean
Finance Chair
Rural Women New Zealand
Email: [email protected]
Ph: 021 665 965

Wendy McGowan
President
Rural Women New Zealand
Email: [email protected]
Ph: 027 222 7015

 

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