Our rights as firearm owners are under attack. The media, the Police Association and others are having a concerted effort to destroy the firearms culture of New Zealand. They are lying and deceiving politicians and the public. Now is the time to act.
Write to the media. Write to your local representative, write to the Police Minister, write to the Prime Minister. Let them know, no more. Now is the time to act.
Call the lies out. Call the deception out. Now is the time to act.
This is my response to the Select Committee report, use it or write your own.
Response to the Law and Order Select Committee Report:
“Inquiry into issues relating to the illegal possession of firearms in New Zealand”
Dear Members of Parliament,
I write to you in response to the report by the Law and Order Select Committee released on 7th April 2017. I feel that the recommendations contained within the report fails to properly address any of the real issues of firearms crime in New Zealand, and instead seeks to encumber lawful firearm, the NZ Police and the tax payers, with administrative and financial burdens.
Bias of Critical Submissions and Premise
The entire premise of this enquiry has been tainted from its onset. The media, NZ Police and the NZ Police Association have all perpetuated a misleading and often erroneous campaign against lawful firearms ownership in New Zealand. The New Zealand Police Association has routinely claimed in the media that “There is a "major problem" with illegal gun possession in New Zealand, says the Police Association.”(1) or that “Anyone with the right licence can import military assault style rifles, he said, but the problem was where they go once they're in the country.
"Because they're not registered to individual owners they go missing, they get stolen, and we don't even know what's out there." (2). The fact is that firearm related crime is at a 10-year low, and the details of every MSSA legally imported into the country is recorded by the NZ Police. So where is the problem? Is there actually a major problem with firearms in New Zealand or is the NZ Police Association and media distorting the truth to fit a personal agenda?
Let’s look at what the New Zealand Police in their submission (3) to the Select Committee, said about firearm crime:
The firearm seizures are up though, so is that an indication of an “increase in firearm possession”? Once again, we will have a look at what the NZ Police said:
So what about illegal handguns?
Were they actually stolen pistols though?
So, can people just import a MSSA into the country with no restrictions like Chris Cahill, President of the NZ Police Association claims? No, it is an offence to import any firearm, pistol, MSSA or restricted weapon without a permit issued by the NZ Police Arms Act 1983 s16 Offence to import firearms, starting pistols, restricted airguns, or restricted weapons, or parts of firearms, starting pistols, or restricted weapons without permit.
Clearly the New Zealand Police Association, or just the President Chris Cahill, do not like law abiding citizens and residents of New Zealand owning firearms. This is clear from their presentation to the Select Committee:
Too many firearms? Where or why is there a limit on the number of firearms held by licenced citizens?
The presentation and submission continues with the Associations or Presidents anti-gun narrative with claims of:
• Numbers of firearms seizures, which do not correspond with official NZ Police figures;
• Raising the “issue’ that someone could buy an A Category firearm and then fit a magazine with greater than 7rd capacity. Which would be illegal. Just like if someone bought a Ferrari, and then broke the speed limit.
• Raising the issue of .50 caliber rifles. Firearms used for long range target shooting, that cost in excess of $10,000, some costing more than $25,000. What criminal is going to spend that money?
• Referencing the New Zealand Hunting Shooting Forum thread about obtaining an ‘E’ Endorsement. Claiming that it was “Subverting requirements on legitimate membership of Rifle Club, participating in’3 gun matches’ and claiming the need for pest control when the true intent is hunting.”. What legislative requirement is this? There is no such requirement. The only requirement for an ‘E’ Endorsement is that one be a ‘fit and proper person’.
I will address each of the report’s recommendations, including those that contradict themselves.
Sale and supply of firearms and ammunition
1. that the law be amended so that a firearms licence is required to possess ammunition, unless the person in possession of the ammunition is under the immediate supervision of a firearms licence holder (page 7).
As it is already an offence to possess ammunition without a lawful, proper and sufficient purpose (Arms Act 1983, s45). What will a legislative amendment change? Effective enforcement by the NZ Police and courts of the current law would achieve the same goal.
2. that the law be amended so that a firearms dealer’s licence be required to sell or supply ammunition by way of a business (page 7).
What would this achieve? The law already prohibits sale of ammunition to unlicenced persons (Arms Act 1983, s43B).
3. that the law be amended so that dealers be required to keep records of sales of ammunition (page 8).
What would this achieve? Ammunition does not a have a unique serial number. So how would this control the supply of ammunition? Effective enforcement by the NZ Police and courts of the current law would achieve the same goal.
4. that it create a Police registration process for websites that wish to facilitate the buying, selling, or trading of firearms, parts of firearms, or ammunition online. It would be an offence to operate such a website without current registration (page 8).
What would this achieve? Any person conducting the sale of firearms as a business must already possess a dealers licence. Any private sales are already controlled by legislation. So, what would this registration control or stop?
5. that the permit to procure process be extended to cover the sale or transfer of all firearms (page 9).
What would it achieve?
The NZ Police have a difficult time processing the current applications for permits, with some persons waiting in excessive of two years for an application to be processed. How would this additional burden be met by current NZ Police resources? Who would pay for the additional resources?
Current permit to procure procedures require the purchased/transferred firearm brought to a NZ Police station to verify the details of the firearm. This is often done in full view of the public, criminals and those on bail. Is this not going to increase the risks firearms in public and those with criminal intent identifying those with firearms?
Would criminals obtain a permit to procure?
Would a licenced father need to obtain a permit to procure in order to borrow a firearm from his licenced son or daughter? Would another permit be required to return that to the father? What would this administrative burden achieve?
Definition of military-style semi-automatics
6. that the Police investigate the creation of a category of restricted semi-automatic firearm (rifle and shotgun) to replace the MSSA firearm endorsement category (page 10).
What would this achieve?
How many crimes are committed with MSSAs? How many are seized by NZ Police? According to the NZ Police submission, MSSAs accounted for 0.022% of all firearm seizures in 2013/14. (Table three: Seizures of firearms by Police, by type, 2005/5 to 2014/15. Reference 3)
How many semi-automatic .22LR rifles and 12 gauge shotguns will be affected by the creation of a new category? For what purpose? How many will disappear into the grey market?
Effectiveness of licensing, training, and registering firearms
7. that firearms prohibition orders be implemented in New Zealand (page 12).
Is the possession of firearms by unlicenced persons already an offence? Yes. Arms Act 1983, s43B. Will this make it doubly illegal?
Effective enforcement by the NZ Police and courts of the current law would achieve the same goal.
8. that the Police Arms Manual guidelines on determining who is fit and proper to possess firearms be codified within the Arms Act 1983, with any necessary modifications, to improve the overall certainty and consistency of the licensing process (page 13).
The Police Arms Manual is not law. It should not be viewed as law. The current process has worked successfully since the enactment of the Arms Act 1983.
The NZ Police can continue to use their internally written manual as guidance in vetting applicants, but the decision should ultimately rest with the courts.
9. that it implement a stand-down period after revocation of a licence, before a new application for a firearms licence can be made (page 13).
What would this achieve? Any person who is not a ‘fit and proper person’ as a result of their actions that caused the revocation of their licence, would not be issued a licence.
10. that the Arms Act 1983 be amended to clearly state that a gang member or prospect must not be considered a fit and proper person to possess firearms and therefore must not hold a firearms licence (page 15).
This is already contained within the Police Arms Manual. If the NZ Police adhered to their own guidance material, they would achieve the same goal. As mentioned in the report, the NZ Police have not followed their own guidance and issued firearms licences to numerous known gang members.
The report detailed evidence of 44% of gang members and prospects having been charged with a serious offence involving a firearm. 9% had been charged with five or more offences in their lifetime. So what really have the courts done? Are these person’s wo have committed serious violent offences free to roam New Zealand to commit further offences?
The report also identifies that the NZ Police had issued 29 gang members with firearms licences. Six of these have since been revoked. Why were these issued in the first place? If the NZ Police Arms Manual states that a person who “have affiliations with a gang involved in committing violent offences or in conflict with another gang” is not a ‘fit and proper person’, why did the NZ Police issue the licence? Was each of those applications rejected and then appealed against?
Who decides what a gang is? How do you identify who a prospect is?
Any person who has a serious criminal record should not be considered a ‘fit and proper person’.
If you have not committed any crime, should you lose your rights? Every person should have the right to appeal against the NZ Police decision.
11. that the law be amended to require the Police to record the serial numbers of all firearms possessed by licence holders upon renewal of their licence or inspection of their premises (page 16).
The report contradicts itself here, it states “We recommend that instead of creating a firearms register, the legislation be amended to require the Police to record the serial numbers of firearms owned by licence holders.” Page 16
Where are they going store the serial numbers of these firearms? In a register?
The report also provides a list of issues relating to registration:
There are several issues with registering firearms, many of which were raised in the 1997 Thorp Report and the 2001 report of the Law and Order Committee on the Arms Amendment Bill (No 2) 1999. These include:
• the cost of implementation and the time it would take
• lack of evidence that registration will result in a reduction of violence involving firearms
• difficulties with obtaining a high degree of compliance and accuracy
• the number of illegal firearms that would remain outside the system (including those in possession of the criminal community), which would significantly reduce the benefits of registration.
How would these issues not remain with the proposed recommendations?
What would recording serial numbers of firearms achieve?
Criminal offending with firearms
12. that it review the penalties in the Arms Act 1983 (page 18).
How often are the maximum penalties imposed currently?
In March 2017, a person who was convicted of unlawful possession of pistol, MSSA, other firearms and drugs, was only given 3 months community work. Under the current offences in the Arms Act 1983, the individual could have been sentenced to up 7 years of imprisonment and/or fines of $9000. Were these applied? No, so what will increasing the penalties achieve, if the current ones are not even enforced?
Effective enforcement by the NZ Police and courts of the current law would achieve the same goal.
13. that the law be amended so that where a dealer has committed an offence under the Arms Act 1983, the court must treat this as an aggravating factor at sentencing (page 18).
What type of offence? An administrative offence? Making a human error while completing paperwork?
14. that the Police undertake further work to determine appropriate security standards for “A” category firearms (page 19).
Why is this in the “Criminal Offending with Firearms” Section?
The NZ Police have a long history of ultra vires policies. They have recently attempted to impose new ‘requirements’ on the storage for endorsed firearms. This is being challenged by a judicial review in June 2017. The firearm community does not trust their competence to make these decisions.
While improving security for ‘A” category firearms is a sensible goal. Caution must be taken to ensure that the requirements do not make an excessive financial burden, on farmers or those who use firearms as tools of trade.
15. that the law be amended to make it clear that the secure storage requirements must be met to the satisfaction of the Police, before a licence or endorsement can be issued (page 19).
Arms Regulation 1992, s19 and 28 require ALL firearms be stored correctly.
What would this achieve?
16. that it extend the power under regulation 29 to allow the Police to enter premises to inspect the security of “A” category firearms (page 19).
Why should law abiding person forego their rights? If the NZ Police feel an offence has/is being committed, should the NZ Police not have to provide evidence to a court and obtain a warrant?
Why do persons who have already demonstrated that they are ‘fit and proper persons’ have less rights than a convicted criminal?
17. that the Arms Act 1983 be amended so that failure to comply with the storage regulations must result in revocation of a firearms licence (page 19).
If the NZ Police have evidence that a person has contravened Arms Regulation 1992, s19 or 28, then they should lay charges. It is up to a court to decide the punishment for that particular offence.
Reducing the number of grey firearms
18. that it clarify the amnesty in section 10 of the Arms Act 1983 and extend it to include MSSAs, “A” category firearms, and the handing in of firearms to the Police (page 21).
May clarify some drafting errors.
19. that the Police develop policy guidance so that, under the amnesty, when people hand in firearms that are unlawfully in their possession, or report firearms lost, stolen, or destroyed, the Police will have the discretion not to prosecute for the possession offence, subject to police inquiries not revealing offending other than breach of lawful possession of firearms(s) under the Arms Act 1983 (page 21).
May clarify some drafting errors.
Importing firearms into New Zealand
20. that it ensure that visitors who have imported firearms and have been in the country for up to twelve months for a sporting holiday or competition should have the export of the firearms checked by the Police when they leave New Zealand (page 24).
What resources do the NZ Police have to allocate to this?
As of the 27th February 2017, 6727 firearm licences are shown to be expired. Only 2455 of these are in the process of renewed. What are the NZ Police doing about the other 4272? (5)
Can the NZ Police really commit to any more administrative burdens?
What should be done about the illegal possession of firearms in New Zealand?
The best and clearly most effective method to tackle the illegal possession of firearms in New Zealand, is enforcement and application of appropriate penalties by the courts, under the current laws. The existing Arms Act 19834 and supporting regulations, supply sufficient penalties to punish those who misuse firearms in New Zealand. Increasing penalties mean nothing if the current penalties are not enforced.
The report identifies that burglary is a common source of criminal access to firearms. The current NZ Police resolution rate for burglary is 9.3% (6). What in the report tackles this? Nothing. The NZ Police should increase resources to reduce the burglary rates and to increase their resolution rates. Not wasting resources monitoring law abiding citizens and recording serial numbers.
Gun crime in New Zealand, including homicides, is down.
New Zealand does not have a firearms problem. New Zealand has an enforcement problem.
Do not waste valuable Police resources with administrative burdens, that only monitor those who are already ‘fit and proper’ citizens of this country. We are the doctors, the lawyers, the professionals, the tradesmen, the workers. New Zealand shooters are the backbone of this country. Do not punish us. Punish the criminals.
1. Gun inquiry will shock - Police Association: Gun inquiry will shock - Police Association | Radio New Zealand News
2. Illegal guns a focus for new Police Assn president: Illegal guns a focus for new Police Assn president | Radio New Zealand News
3. NZ Police Submission to Select Committee:
4. Stuff NZ March 29 2017:
Marlborough man Michael Just sentenced for weapons collection, cannabis grow room | Stuff.co.nz
5. Kiwi Gun Blog: Thousands of Expired Licenses Go Unchecked: https://kiwigunblog.wordpress.com/20...-go-unchecked/
6. Burglary exclusive: 164 burglaries a day unsolved:
Burglary exclusive: 164 burglaries a day unsolved - National - NZ Herald News