Promote the development and maintenance of firearm safety standards in New Zealand to enable people to enjoy the safe use of firearms by fostering community support for firearm safety
The formation of the FSC in 2016 was motivated by the deep concern of firearms organisations for continued community safety and firearm user safety training. If the Firearms Safety Council had a by-line it would be: NO RETURN TO 1969.
In the first New Zealand Arms Code, published in 1969, the Commissioner of Police of the day noted a non-intentional (not criminal, not suicide) death or injury with firearms on a weekly basis, with one event a month happening in the home environment, often involving children.
From 1969 to 2016 this reduced to about 10 non-intentional deaths or injuries with a firearm in a year, and an incident in the home, and especially with children involved is almost non-existent – with just 3 or 4 cases in the last 20 years to 2018.
Firearms user groups in this country do not want to see a return to the 1969 situation, hence the Firearms safety Council of Aotearoa New Zealand as a stand-alone body whose primary focus is SAFETY. In effect, firearms user groups are taking ownership for firearms safety.
The objectives of the Council are:
To provide advice to government agencies and other organisations, such as the media, on firearms safety related matters.
To undertake research which will help set and promote firearms safety standards for individuals and organisations engaged in firearms related activities.
To gain adequate FSCANZ representation, where desirable, on such public bodies or organisations nationally and internationally whose functions are deemed important to or affecting the Council.
To provide publications, technical information and other material that will promote safety and self-reliance in all shooting activities.
To promote and offer support for the delivery of community based educational courses on firearms safety.
To promote and encourage suitable candidates to become firearm safety instructors.
To promote and support nationally recognised standards/qualifications for firearm safety instruction.
To do other things as may be necessary, incidental or conducive to the attainment of the Council’s objectives.
William (Bill) O’Leary
Born in Hamilton but raised in Greymouth with early exposure to fishing and white baiting. Completed my secondary schooling in Christchurch and a MA at Canterbury University. By this stage I was heavily into duck shooting and hunting in Reefton, the Lewis and South Westland.
Trained as a secondary school teacher and taught in Marlborough and Nelson with a growing involvement in outdoor education which included delivering young hunter courses within the school curriculum and in association with New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association (NZDA) and Fish and Game.
In 1999 I joined the National Executive of NZDA (til 2002) with the HUNTS portfolio and the task of delivering a training pathway and qualification for instructors. This entailed collaboration with Mountain Safety Council, NZ Police, Fish and Game New Zealand and with Whitireia Community Polytechnic. Contact with the International Hunter Education Association (IHEA) resulted in useful information from hunter education programs in other parts of the world. I have held the office of HUNTS National Coordinator from 2000 to 2015. Another appointment was as a NZDA Range Certifying Officer. In 2007 I was awarded a National Life Membership. I have just finished a term as councillor on the new Game Animal Council having served on the Establishment committee since 2008. Currently I represent NZDA on the National Recreation Forum and DOC’s Visitor Safety Reference Group and am a member of the Molesworth Management Advisory Committee.
In my spare time I have supported Nelson Marlborough Fish and Game as a Councillor and as an honorary ranger. I am still an active hunter and involved with NZDA’s Nelson branch as a committee member having served eight years as branch president.
In 2012 I was elected back on to the National Executive of NZDA as the National Vice President and in 2014 as the National President.
I am a firm believer that the NZDA’s future demands forward looking policies, collaboration with other groups and building relationships where ever possible.
I am a firm believer that the NZDA’s policy is determined at Conference with leadership and sound governance expected of National Executive.
I enjoy competing in multiple shooting disciplines and am a keen meat hunter with a .303 rifle. I am fortunate enough to still represent both my country and region, as well as having held national shooting and championship titles in several firearm disciplines.
I have legal training and worked in law firms in Rotorua and Wellington followed by eight years at home raising four children. I have enjoyed employment with a leading firearms component wholesaler, Steve’s Wholesale Ltd where I made and have maintained many of the broad spectrum contacts from within industry including other wholesalers, retailers, hunters and shooters throughout New Zealand. I was a volunteer firearms safety instructor and Wellington Central coordinator for a number of years as well as Firearms and Hunter Safety Programme Manager for MSC before establishing Firearms Safety Specialists NZ Ltd. Since 2015 I have delivered the Whakatūpato Firearms Safety and Licencing Opportunities Programme to rural and isolated communities on behalf of New Zealand Police.
I hold the following firearms qualifications and positions:
Whitireia Polytechnic – Certficate in Outdoor Leadership (Firearms Instructor)
New Zealand Open Polytechnic – Certificate of Achievement Firearms Legislation and Safety
NZ Society of Gunsmiths Inc – Firearms Safety Instructor
NZ Society of Gunsmiths Inc – Ammunition Advisor (Level 5)
President – Karori Rifle Club est 1892 (Fullbore Rifle Shooting)
President – New Zealand Ladies Association for Fullbore Target Rifle Shooting
Vice President – Melrose Rifle Club est 1943 (Smallbore Rifle Shooting)
Secretary – COLFO Council of Licenced Firearms Owners
Secretary – Firearms Safety Council of Aotearoa New Zealand
Member – NZ Police Firearms Community Advisory Forum
Warranted Firearms Instructor – New Zealand Police
Range Officer – New Zealand Service Rifle Association
Range Officer – National Rifle Association of New Zealand
Range Officer (Club) – Wellington Pistol Club
Captain – New Zealand Ladies Rifle Team 2010; January 2013 and March 2013
Team Member – New Zealand Ladies Rifle Team 2006; 2008; 2010, 2015
Team Member – New Zealand Rifle Team: 2018, 2019
Member – New Zealand Deerstalkers Association – National, Wellington, Hutt Valley & Auckland Branches
Member – Wellington Pistol Club
Member – Pistol New Zealand
Member – Wellington Rifle Association
Member – Wellington Smallbore Rifle Association
Member – Target Shooting New Zealand
Member – National Rifle Association of New Zealand
From 1983 till 2016 I was a sworn member of Police, retiring from Police in 2016 at the rank of Inspector. Between 1998 and 2012 I was the Manager Licencing and Vetting, and then I relieved the Arms Control position until March 2013. As Manager Licensing and Vetting I had national responsibility for the coordination of arms control. Part of my role involved policy, legislation and practice of firearms control and licencing.
Except for a few brief months following my transfer I am the last permanent appointee to the arms control position in NZ Police.
I was on the delegation for two UN seminars: one a regional seminar in Fiji, the other, in 2006, a two- week meeting at New York on the Programme of Action on the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons. I also advised the Law and Order Select Committee on arms amendments and represented Police in media relating to the safe use and control of firearms at a national level. I am a member of the international reference group for the development of the UN International Standards for Arms Control. I am also a certified range inspecting officer and have trained as a range conducting officer with NZ Deerstalkers Association.
I am warranted as a Firearms Safety Instructor by NZ Police.
I have published research into incidents in which one deer hunter shot and killed another.
I hold a current New Zealand Firearms Licence.
I am currently a Lay Pastoral Leader with the Catholic Church, based in Wellington South.
Treasurer for FSCANZ – Now retired Phil spent his working life as a Royal Navy Nuclear Submarine Engineer and in NZ as a Marine Electrician.
He settled in New Zealand in 1994 after sailing his own home built yacht here from England. From an early age he has had an interest in firearms and shooting.
He has served as Secretary of Northland Branch of the Sporting Shooters Association of New Zealand since 2000 and was elected SSANZ National Secretary in 2014. He has previously served two years as National Secretary/Treasurer of the New Zealand Antique & Historical Arms Association and is currently the Editor. Phil has served for 12 years as a voluntary Firearms Safety Instructor and local area co-ordinator and has served on the Board of COLFO since 2013. He was made an Honorary Fellow of the NZ Society of Gunsmiths for his contribution to NZ Firearm historical research.
Phil lives in Northland with his wife Pam and two dogs and does his shooting with the Military wing of the Northland Black Powder Club.
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