Report of the Inquiry into Illegal Firearms in the New Zealand Community

The Law and Order Select Committee published its report on 7 April 2017, of the 20 recommendations only three address the issue of illegal firearms in the hands of criminals, while the remaining 17 propose further restrictions on lawful licensed firearm owners.

Three factors need to be remembered:

(a) these are merely recommendations, and will not necessarily form or become government policy;

(b) they are NOT the law, but may lead to changes in the law;

(c) Any law change will have to undergo due process, that is (unless urgency is taken by Parliament) undergo three readings, select committee processing (to hear public input) before being passed into law.  Timeline for this may be as long as two to three years.

The Select Committee recommendations are listed under six subheadings:

Sale and supply of firearms and ammunition

Definition of military-style semi-automatics

Effectiveness of licensing, training, and registering firearms

Criminal offending with firearms

Reducing the number of grey firearms

Importing firearms into New Zealand

Many of the recommendations suggest changes which are already in effect, of which already exist under the Crimes Act (1961, and subsequent amendments), the Arms Act (1983, and subsequent amendments) and the Arms Regulations (1992, and subsequent amendments).

The entire report and its recommendations may be found at:

https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/sc/reports/document/SCR_72851/inquiry-into-issues-relating-to-the-illegal-possession

Members are invited to write to their local Member of Parliament to comment upon these proposals.

A full review of the Select Committee report by COLFO may be viewed here

No link between the rate of gun ownership and homicide rates

A new study to be published today undertaken by the Criminology Department of the University of Liege, has shown that there is no link between gun ownership rates and homicide rates.

The study, funded by WFSA but conducted independently, shows that  there is no scientific evidence proving that stricter regulations and a reduction in the quantity and type of legal firearms have any effect on homicides, crime and terrorism.

The study examined data from 52 countries including New Zealand, but excluding the USA.

An executive summary of the study may be read here

Reviewing the Arms Act 1983

This article will consider the implications of publicly available submissions recently made to the Select Committee on Illegal Firearms, as they may affect licensed arms owners.  It will do this by addressing what appear to be widely held concerns about the private ownership of firearms.  It is important to keep in mind however, that most of the incidents which have led to this inquiry have a connection with illicit drugs and people not authorised to hold firearms. Read more here.

Open letter to Professor Clements

Professor K Clements
National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies
University of Otago
P O Box 56 09 NOV 2016
DUNEDIN 9054
Dear Dr Clements,
Your sporadic calls for full firearm registration seem to be prompted by publicity about unlawful
behaviours involving firearms. That is the case in the most recent instance, where a victim had their
house and safe broken into and their registered firearms stolen. Read More