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Editor’s Letter – March/April 2021

With the Labour Party ruling alone for this next term, I don’t believe any of us were surprised by the second buyback. Upon release of the details of the newly restricted firearms, it would appear the government are targeting niche firearms. This doesn’t make it any easier for those affected, nor does it target the criminals who are plaguing the police with firearms incidents, callouts and in some cases, shootings.

Once again, by targeting licensed firearms owners, the government has ignored the actual issue of gun crime and attempted to tout a safer society when in fact we, the public, are no safer now than we were before. As a community, we’re not the source of gun crime nor were we in any way relatable to the tragic events in Christchurch. In reality, by increasing the black market in illegal firearms, Labour has made it even easier for nefarious types to get them.

Fortunately, firearms licence holders are not without a voice in government with a strong ACT presence. Also, as our non-governmental organisations continue to become more professional in their interactions, processes and communications, it does point to a better future for advocacy and hunting rights.

On a more positive note, it’s fantastic to see the contribution by female hunters increasing; I remember a time when it was rare to read a hunting adventure written by a huntress. It’s not only noteworthy that the number of women hunters is increasing – it’s also incredible to see the skill, respect for our game animals and feminine perspective they bring to hunting, shooting, and preparing game meat. It’s great to see the response from gear manufacturers of increasing the number of targeted hunting equipment and garments available to women. With role models throughout magazines, online and on television, look out for a rapid increase in female hunters in New Zealand.

Being a Mountain Safety Council firearms instructor, I’d like to finish this editorial by giving the same advice I give to students when they successfully pass the theory and practical assessments involved in licensing. I advise that globally, firearms use and hunting practices are being closely looked at, so in all things we do with firearms, we must have the highest standards; we must also remember that some members of the public don’t like firearms and whenever we use public land, we must be respectful of all users and stakeholders, including those who are anti-firearms. Statistically, we have a great record, but it only takes one mistake to make the newspapers; so we, as a community, need to always conduct ourselves professionally and respectfully.

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