NZ government’s impulsive firearm confiscation an unnecessary waste of taxpayer $

A waste & an injustice

Sporting Shooters Association President Neville Dodd says “The release of the Royal Commission report on the Christchurch Mosque atrocity proves very clearly that the government’s impulsive response of firearm confiscation was an unnecessary waste of taxpayer dollars and a gross injustice to the 248,764 properly vetted firearms licence holders, who have been vilified and victimized by government and by police.”

“If only the Government had the common sense to wait for the Royal Commission’s report or at least listened to us they would have known that the atrocity was not a failure of the legislation but rather of the police administration of that legislation” he said.

Police administrative failures

Examples of this are scattered right through the Commission’s report but particularly in Part 5 where the Commission explicitly says:

⦁ District firearms staff are given limited initial training and, in recent years, no ongoing training and current training standards are outdated and inconsistent across New Zealand Police.
⦁ Licensing staff are not trained to go beyond what is in the Firearms Licence Vetting Guide.
⦁ The unusual nature of the individual’s firearms licence application was not appreciated.
⦁ The Dunedin Vetting Officer did not inquire of the individual how well he knew his referees
⦁ The order of interviews did not follow the ordinary process where referees are interviewed before the applicant
⦁ All of those we spoke to who engaged with this issue agreed that this level of interaction between the individual and gaming friend was insufficient to justify using them as a substitute for a near-relative referee. This included experienced members of New Zealand Police.
⦁ We consider the standard licensing practice to which we have just referred is inappropriately limited
⦁ We are of the view that the guidance given by New Zealand Police to licensing staff was inadequate, as was their training.

… and finally and most important of all, the Commission says as its final word on that section of their report:

“We find that New Zealand Police failed to meet required standards in the administration of  the firearms licensing system.”

Who’s responsible?

Clearly the responsibility for the dreadful atrocity rests with police for their incompetence in issuing Tarrant a licence, Dodd says.

Royal Commission shows Arms Act changes driven by politics

The Sporting Shooters Association of New Zealand (SSANZ) has today criticised the Prime Minister for attempting to ‘repackage’ the findings in the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch Mosque shooting.

Government Moved Too Quickly

SSANZ President Neville Dodd says the Prime Minister has tried to move too quickly onto the Government prepared response, and not allow the nation to consider the implications of the report.
“We, the nation, ought to consider this report of over 700 pages in our own time, and not be rushed by the Government into its pre-planned kneejerk response.
“They did that to us following the shooting, banning firearms and changing laws, that we can now see were not justified by the shooting itself.”

Police Failed

Dodd said the Prime Minister has tried to rush everyone past the very critical finding that Police failed to follow the legislated requirement to ensure a firearm licence holder is fit and proper.
“That is something worth considering at length, because the Government has just spent almost two years pretending that didn’t happen.
“Instead, the Government legislated away the property rights of thousands of licenced firearm owners across New Zealand with changes to the Arms Act.”

Government didn’t have evidence to act

He says the Prime Minister’s statement that “today we have the answers” was an admission that the Government did not have the evidence and answers when it went on a legislative rampage against law abiding firearm owners.
“Today’s report indicates that Tarrant would have committed an atrocity eventually, even if Police had not incorrectly provided him with a firearms licence. If that is the case, the banning of certain ammunition and forced sales of firearms was a political project completely disconnected from the terrorist and his actions.”
Dodd says the then-Minister of Police Stuart Nash stoked fears and attacked the licenced firearm community.

Preached unity while vilifying firearm owners

“Following the terrorist’s attack, this government preached unity but used comments to the media to vilify firearm owners. Their changes to gun laws have been nothing short of a political tool to reduce our community’s numbers and disrupt our sports and hobbies of choice.
“The findings of the Royal Commission confirm what firearms owners have long known: changes to the Arms Act would not have stopped Tarrant from committing his crime.”

Support for stiffer sentences.

As the frequency of criminals, invariably unlicensed, using illegal weapons to engage in shooting at police increases, there have been calls for stiffer sentencing for those involved.  Neville Dodd, president of Sporting Shooters Association of New Zealand Inc [SSANZ] says Police appear to have no knowledge of who has illegal weapons, and shootings will continue until illegal ownership is under control.

“ It certainly seems that some people are able to get whatever weapon they wish, and get ammunition for those guns, while licensed gun owners rightly need to provide a firearms license to purchase a gun and or ammunition”.

National call for stiffer penalties

He welcomes the recent announcement from National Party leader Judith Collins who is calling for stiffer penalties for anyone who shoots or shoots at Police officers.

“That would be a great start, but frankly that is just that, a start. The Police won’t be able to control these shootings until they get on top of where the illegal weapons are and who owns them”.

He reflects that a Select Committee Inquiry into illegal firearms carried out in 2017 failed to carry out any new research into where and how criminals obtain their weapons.

New Zealand a Regional Smuggling Hub

Dodd suggests that more weapons are recovered by Police every year than those reported stolen, which he says, proves that contrary to Police statements, illegal arms are imported into New Zealand by gangs. “Police recently put out a Regional South Pacific report that claimed New Zealand was a regional hub for drug and gun smuggling, so surely that suggests that they, the Police, are losing the battle and apparently have no idea what to do next”.

He suggests that the Courts need to help the situation by imposing stiffer penalties for these offences. This is where the Government should have acted rather than targeting law abiding licensed firearms owners.

Government Must Wipe Out Illegal Gun Trade

In the meantime, Dodd suggests that the Police and the present Government have a duty to wipe out the illegal gun trade and protect the innocent public, and imposing tougher rules for law abiding licensed firearm owners will not achieve this.

“It is only a matter of time before innocent people get killed by a drive past shooting or are caught in the crossfire of a Police shooting”.

He says stiffer penalties will help, but stresses that peace loving New Zealand is fast becoming akin to a war zone, as there are now those who are so confident that they are safe from the authorities that they think they will get away with using weapons indiscriminately.

Police Arms Training Falls Short

“Before we consider should our Police now be armed full time for their own protection, we must take into account to what extent the current Police access to firearms has precipitated criminals arming themselves? We know that Police firearms training falls woefully short of the standard that should be expected, so it has the potential for more cases of Police shooting innocent members of the public. When it has been suggested in the past, there has been a huge outcry against arming Police from the public.”