The Shooters Lottery Inc’s application to register as a charity has been declined by the independent Charities Registration Board.
In its decision, the board found that the lottery has an independent purpose to promote specific viewpoints on firearms issues in a way that cannot be in the public benefit in the charitable sense.
After its application to register on 18 December 2017, Charities Services notified the lottery that they did not meet registration criteria. The lottery then challenged this.
The board says the lottery may have a charitable purpose to advance education on gun-related issues, but this was not the lottery’s primary focus, therefore failing to qualify for registration.
The Charities Act 2005 says that a ‘charitable purpose’ must fall under one or more categories:
- the relief of poverty,
- the advancement of education,
- the advancement of religion,
- other purposes beneficial to the community,
The Charities website states other purposes must show an objective benefit to a sufficient section to the general public.
The board referred to the Supreme Court decision on Re Greenpeace of New Zealand Incorporated when determining the assessment of the Lottery’s advocacy purposes.
The Supreme Court decision held that goals such as protection of the environment or promotion of human rights are accepted as being charitable. However, such high level goals are not without complexity in achieving advocacy for the public benefit.
The Shooters Lottery says on its website that it operates a secure email list which draws winners of prizes at random occurrences. Prizes appear to be gun-related.
The site goes on to say “in times of threat to our collective rights as responsible firearm owners – we will inform our list of exactly what is happening. So they can take action and nip it in the bud.”