Labour’s driving force behind the Law and Order committee has responded to shooter’s outrage at the recommendations given.
The following shows an alarming and fundamental ignorance of our current systems.
Added emphasis of points is our own.
Stuart Nash Responds
What I thought I would do is seek to address your concerns one-by-one.
As Labour’s police spokesman, I am also responding on behalf of the Labour caucus.
First of all, you are right when you say that the Select Committee inquiry focussed on illegal activity (title of the inquiry was ‘Inquiry into Issues Relating to the Illegal Possession of Firearms in New Zealand’).
The terms of reference for the inquiry were:
- How widespread firearm possession is amongst criminals, including gangs
- How criminals, gangs and those who do not have a licence come into the possession of firearms
- What changes, if any, to the current situation may further restrict the flow of firearms to criminals, gangs, and those who do not have a licence.
The committee did note that the vast majority of firearms users in New Zealand are law-abiding, and we did not wish to impose any form of unreasonable cost or impost on them at all.
We received 99 submissions; including from Central North Island Club, Bruce Rifle Club, Council of Licensed Forearms Owners, Greater Wgtn Muzzle-loading club, Firearms Safety Specialist NZ, Mountain Safety Council, Paul Clark, Pistol NZ, Rural Women NZ, Sporting shooter association of NZ, NZ Customs, etc, etc, so we had a wide and varied range of opinions and views. We deliberated, debated and researched all our recommendations as we understood that if, as a committee, we couldn’t justify our recommendations to Kiwis like you, then we would be in trouble.
There were 20 recommendations as outlined in the Committee’s report in the link below:-
Recommendation 1 re ammunition. We were told that gun dealers always record ammunition transactions anyway, so all that will change is that you will have to show your licence when purchasing ammunition. This is so those without a licence (i.e. gang members) cannot purchase bullets. I don’t envisage there being any extra cost or bureaucracy to the process as it currently stands. It might take 2 minutes longer (the time it takes to get your licence out of your wallet and have the dealer verify your licence), but I can’t see this being onerous at all.
Recommendation 5 re the Permit to procure. I do understand that this would increase the administrative burden on legitimate licence holders however, our understanding is that this is not a laborious or time-consuming process at all. In fact, I would hope that your experience of having to go into town four times in order to complete a mail order purchase should actually be streamlined. Again, it is simply part of understanding who owns what in order to build a database that allows police to access information in a timely manner. The Police assured the committee that they would quickly move to an in-line process in order to better facilitate the transaction.
Currently, any firearm other than a Category A or antique firearm, must be registered and does require a permit to procure. What we are doing is bringing A Category firearms into this regime. The reasons for this are two-fold:
- All evidence presented to the select committee suggests that the vast majority of firearms ended up in criminal hands as a result of thefts from law-abiding Kiwis. Once the Police seize these weapons, they have no way of returning or identifying them. The register will at least allow Police to return confiscated firearms to their rightful owners.
- If the Police have an understanding of legitimate firearm ownership, then they have the ability to better develop policies that will go a long way to addressing a small, but growing issue around crimes committed with firearms. For example, they currently have no idea if a Cat A licence holder has 1 gun or 10.
Recommendation 11 is about recording the serial numbers of all firearms; but only upon renewal of a licence or inspection of the licence holder’s premises. We are not suggesting that firearms owners have to do anything out of the ordinary in any way, shape or form. As you are no doubt aware, when a licence holder has their licence renewed, a Police arms officer comes around to a person’s place and inspects their storage facilities and undertakes a brief interview. The only thing that will change is that the Arms officer will now collect the serial number of the licence holder’s weapons. This might take an extra five minutes maximum in most cases.
The data, like that currently held for all MSSA’s, pistols and restricted weapons, will be held and maintained by the Police in a secure database.
Seriously, if criminals really wanted to develop a ‘shopping list’ of desirable weapons, then the Police already hold information on all the ‘serious’ firearms in legitimate possession. (KGB: If any reader understand this – please translate for us.)
I agree that we do have a problem if different Police Arms Officers are applying different standards to the storage requirements for B, C and E endorsements. If this is the case, then the Police do need to come up with a standard set of requirements and enforce this in a consistent way across the country. With regards to storage for Cat A firearms; we expect the police to come up with a policy and standard that is consistent, relatively inexpensive (less than $200) and easy to procure and install. Personally, I don’t see how ensuring that storage facilities are up to scratch is an issue. I am assuming that the vast majority of legitimate firearms owners actually have sufficient storage facilities and those that don’t will need them. Police inspecting your security does not make you a criminal at all, and if the police have no concerns about you, then I doubt they will ever inspect your gun safe/cabinet outside of your licence renewal period, but if you don’t have appropriate security you will be subject to a revocation order. And fair enough. The last thing anyone wants is guns not stored properly. What’s wrong with that? Having said all that, please note that our recommendation 14 does say that “the police undertake further work to determine appropriate safety standards…” It is my expectation that the Police will consult and work in partnership with the representatives of gun owners to ensure that what is finally recommended is sensible, achievable and has buy-in from the gun community.
I also agree that Police are significantly under resourced. However, there is an expectation that any changes to the process will need to be efficiently and effectively managed by Police.
Their resourcing is an issue for them to resolve, not parliament or firearms owners.
Finally, the process from here is that the Police receive the report and they will write their own for the Minister. She then has to decide what to do with it and what, if any, recommendations she decides to pursue.
Having said all that, it is my expectation that the Police will consult and work in partnership with the representatives of gun owners to ensure that what is finally recommended is sensible, achievable and has buy-in from the gun community
Stuart Nash. LLM, MMgt, MForSc
MP for Napier
Labour Spokesman. Police, Economic Development (incl Regional Economic Development), Forestry.
Kiwi Gun Blog Comment
Firstly, you need to produce a gun license for the purchase of ammunition NOW. By LAW.
So Nash is trying to change the law what it is.
Oh and no, of course shops do not record ammo sales. That would be insane and serve no purpose. The Blog confirmed this with shops today to ensure that were were no mad.
Nash seems to think that Police need to know how many arms a shooter has. ‘1 or 10’….
Why? What purpose does that serve?
It was nice to hear that gun safes are less than $200. Yay.
Just because you write that twice, doesn’t mean that it is going to happen.
Stuart Nash has been invited to a Public Meeting
The Kiwi Gun Blog has invited Labour’s spokesman to appear at a public meeting to answer the concerns of shooters. We will advice on his response.
In the meanwhile we have written back to correct some of his startling ignorance.
Stuart Nash can be contacted with your thoughts here:
Napier Office: 155a Tennyson Street, PO Box 827, Napier 4140
Ph (06) 835 6093
Wellington Office: PB 18 888, Parliament Buildings, Wellington.
Phone (04) 817 9003