This is getting ridiculous.
It now turns out that the Police do not look at foreign crimes committed by an applicant when considering granting a New Zealand firearms license.
Australian criminals who have been specifically banned from owning firearms in their own country – can just come here and arm up.
We could understand if the Police missed a single lost record in Peru…
But the police have confirmed that they do not even carry out mandatory criminal record checks with their Aussie counterparts.
Apparently there was a pilot programme back in 2012 that allowed New Zealand and Australian authorities information sharing for the purposes of employment vetting.
So what became of that?
How do we know this is an issue?
This inexcusable negligence was discovered in the recent case of Peter Edwards.
He had 53 convictions to his name in Australia and was still granted a firearms license in New Zealand.
He went on to spend over $50,000 on rifles and shotguns.
Then cut the weapons down, modifying them for crime.
Then selling the weapons to gang members.
Let us now go to an expert for comment:
Professor Kevin Clements is head of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago.
He spoke to the media from the International Peace Association Conference in Istanbul.
Where our tax money sent him.
He told the media that; “The case high-lighted a flaw in New Zealand’s firearms law”.
You are worth every cent of the 1.25 million that the government paid you to set up your merry band of dolts.
What Are The Government Doing Now?
The Justice Minister – Judith Collins – has simply refused to answer any questions relating to Edwards’ case.
In a statement, she said that a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ was still being negotiated with Australian police.
In March last year Collins told stuffnews that the main focus for any inquiry should be how guns were getting into the hands of “serial, violent criminals and gangs”, and what could be done to stop it.
“What I want to find out is how are they getting them, are there certain ways or loopholes that need to be looked at…because if we don’t know what is going on, it’s pretty difficult to come up with policy solutions or legislative solutions that are going to be helpful.”
Well.. we found one. Why wait for the inquiry? Jump on it.
Collins also said that it was important that the inquiry focused on illegal gun use and did not penalise legitimate owners and sellers of firearms.
Because, “They’re not the ones racing around selling methamphetamine and using these guns as a means to protect their stash.”
Nice of her to say. But so far all the guns seem to be pointing at us.
The Police also declined to be interviewed.
A Police spokesperson did say that they were aware of just one of Edwards’ convictions and that was not serious enough to stop him getting a gun license.
The Blog are curious what that was…
Surely a first step here is some retroactive checks on people who have been deported or raised flags?
Then ask new applicants if they have lived outside the country for a significant period.
Then checking with those nations as needed.
But the formal trans Tasman information sharing on criminal records must go ahead and soon.
That said – COLFO was right to warn about ‘Fishing expeditions’ during license renewals.
Honestly – the Law and Order committee investigation is looking more like amateur dramatics by the day.
Just close these inexcusable loopholes and legislate harsher sentences for the serious misuse of guns.
What are we missing here?
Some Parting Wisdom from Professor Clements
“Most of the people who get firearms do not commit criminal offences with them. There are a small number, however, who do get firearms, who have access to a large number of firearms, who do commit criminal offences. So to some extent you can say we don’t need a law for the minority, but if the minority then creates a lot of trouble with the guns they get then that is something that needs to be rectified.”
OK. Good effort. Back to bed now and take your pills.