The Kiwi Gun Blog asked Police for the actual method of checking whether or not a firearm offender has a gun license.
For the record…
One to two minutes.
So there is NO excuse for Police not making this information a standard part of EVERY media release on a crime.
There is also no excuse for media not asking.
The Kiwi Gun Blog has repeatedly asked the Police Media centre for a change in policy here. They have simply ignored us.
Let them know your thoughts on the matter:
We have also asked independent media and their associations to make this a standard inclusion in every firearm story.
We will keep trying.
You can add your voice. Here are the major players:
Stuff.co.nz is: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Blog have also asked the Press Council to require the change. Please write in support of this:
The Broadcasting Standards Association handles TV and Radio. They will soon revise a Code book guide for their media.
Please write to ask that they also include the requirement to report whether or not an offender was licensed.
The Blog have also been in contact with the Ministry for Cultural Heritage. to ask that they explore a policy change here.
As it stands now – the media wont even mention this crucial information when reporting on the sentence handed down after a full trial. At this stage its not lazy reporting – its concealing information.
When the general public see ‘Unlicensed’ again and again and again they will start to see the real issue.
Police Minister Responds…
“I am writing on behalf of Hon Paula Bennett, Minister of Police, who has asked me to acknowledge and thank you for your email of 17th August 20147 concerning firearm crime and the inclusion of firearms licence details in Police media releases. Please be assured that your comments have been noted.
As I am sure you are aware, the matter you refer to is an operational police matter; please note that politicians cannot instruct nor direct Police in operational matters. This is a long standing convention that was enshrined in law with the passing of the Policing Act 2008. It ensures that law enforcement and investigation by the Police remain free of any political influence or interference.
Therefore, as the issues you refer to in your correspondence relate to matters that are the responsibility of the Commissioner of Police, I have transferred your email to his office for consideration, noting that you advise that you have made this request directly to Police already”.
Private Secretary (Police) | Office of Hon Paula Bennett | Minister of Police
The Police themselves finally responded:
Of course this is nonsense.
How can an initial media report stating that an offender was unlicensed possibly jeopardize their fair trial – when answering a charge on having an unlicensed weapon? You either have this or don’t. There is no jury decision involved.
In the stupid example given – yes. We would also expect the media to report if a driver was unlicensed. This would be unusual and could show a pattern of untrained drivers leading to accidents.
Of course every time a sensational gun crime story hits the tabloids it IS already part of a greater narrative and anti gun agenda.
Lastly – what better ‘prevention message’ could there be than criminals should not have illegal guns. So the public could be urged to report them as these are the consequences of not doing so.