Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Doing what they promised II

The Finance and Expenditure Committee reported back on the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill, and recommended that it be passed with only minor amendments. There are new exemptions allowing commercial pest controllers and people with heirlooms to posses semi-automatics, though the latter will have to disable them. There are also tighter restrictions on collectors (and those heirloom holders), requiring the "vital parts" they must remove to disable their weapons to be stored at a separate address to reduce the risk of theft. There's some tightening of the Henry VIII powers, and an additional power to declare a limited amnesty whenever key definitions are changed, but there's still a significant problem with the government being able to change criminal law with very serious penalties without having to go through Parliament.

Unusually, the select committee report doesn't include the actual amendments, because they hadn't yet drafted them. But they should be before the House today so the bill can go through its second reading. The report also mentions further changes at the committee stage as well, so this is very much a moving target. But there'll be a second Arms Bill focused on vetting and registration in a few months, and that should give them an opportunity to fix any bugs which arise in the meantime. Which would also be an opportunity to make any definitional change sin statute, rather than having to use those Henry VIII powers...