DIC on duty; Police officer’s brief lapse or battle fatigue?

News that a Police officer in his police car was five times over the legal alcohol limit for driving begs the question: was it a brief lapse while on duty, or is it an example of total fear of being inadequately trained and likely to be confronted by (unlicensed) armed offenders?

That is the question put by the President of the Sporting Shooters Assn Neville Dodd. He says the police are facing unacceptable odds in an armed confrontation where the odds are stacked against them. “How can an officer confidently face up to another armed person when they have had very little training in handling their firearm and will have to deal with life – and career – threatening consequences.”

He says the criminals armed with illegal firearms do care about training, they are usually full of adrenaline and full of confidence believing, in their minds, that they will out-shoot the police. “It has become very obvious that the users of illegal firearms, (and the Police have only a vague idea who they are or where the weapons are), have the upper hand.”

Dodd says he can understand the pressure the frontline Police are feeling. “We really feel for those men and women. At any moment while on duty, they are likely to be called into a situation and be faced with an armed offender who will not hesitate to pull the trigger and take them out.”

He says being drunk on duty and driving a Police car in that state is something that needed to be addressed, and it has been, but he suggests it may very well be a product of the stress all police officers are under.

“Personally, I would not want to face the things the officers face. Those in the armed forces are rigorously trained in facing armed adversaries, but our frontline Police officers are given only a few days of training and gun handling, with limited bullets to shoot, each year.

I suggest the Government compares the armed forces regimes to the Police training, and ask themselves the hard questions. Especially as most of the armed forces are not facing armed situations, on an almost daily basis as the Police are.”

Police Making Law on the fly

It has been necessary to point out to police, that with their latest proposals for firearms regulations there are:

• many instances where they are proposing regulations that exceed the mandate given to them by Parliament;
• other instances where their interpretation of the law as passed by Parliament is “convenient” or indeed in conflict;
• there are several regulations they propose that are already dealt with under other law, and finally
• in some cases they are proposing regulations that are just plain dangerous.

They are probably realizing the reality that the vast amount of rushed firearms law changes over the last two years is poorly drafted.  It has also become so voluminous (345 pages) that the old New Zealand tradition (and legal precedent) of  “ignorance of the law is no excuse” is no longer justice.

Indeed, its application would be an injustice of itself.

If police themselves can’t get it right, and lawyers are struggling to keep up, what hope has the average Kiwi Licensed Firearms Owner of knowing what New Zealand expects of him/her?

Thoughts on NZ’s New Firearms Laws (by a member)

A likely disaster

The new firearms legislation, is likely to become a disaster. Let me explain:

In the UK, thousands of sports shooters had their guns taken and destroyed. At first it was the semi auto rifles, then our pistols, and some shotguns. We endured the jibes and nasty remarks from the government and the media which linked us with gangs, street thugs and murderers.

The New Zealand I moved to 15 years ago allowed me to enjoy the sports and pastime which I missed so dearly for so many years as a ‘fit and proper person’ in the UK. I have never been in trouble with the law, save a couple of minuscule traffic violations. However once again, I have had to hand over some of my private possessions for destruction and this is sickening.

I know that not everyone likes guns, as many just associate them with war or violence. Personally I hate violence of any kind inflicted on fellow men, even harsh contact sports. I do however, love target shooting, which can be challenging, difficult and at times frustrating, but often very rewarding.

The further proposed legislation will basically give the authorities the power to turn just about any “decent” firearms owner or gunsmith, into a criminal. The rules are so complex and ridiculous in many instances, that even the best of us cannot hope to adhere to or abide by them all.

Why some of these are being considered is mind boggling. They will not only confuse and befuddle firearm owners, but they will bring untold complication and ridiculous complexity to anyone repairing guns, and how are the authorities to keep track of all of this nonsense?

Whose fault Christchurch? Clearly NZ Police!

We had one of the worlds best, and clearest set of rules and regulations, which I have to say was the envy of the world, and it worked.

The Christchurch shooting happened not because our gun laws were too relaxed, or that we had “semi-automatic” rifles. It was because the basic vetting system that the police were supposed to undertake prior to a person being considered “fit and proper”, was not followed through with.

In other words, if the police had actually checked the information, and had tried to contact the referees, the shooter would have never had access to firearms as he would not have been granted a license.

Wake up call

Most firearms owners are either unaware of their upcoming difficulties in the unfathomable legislation, or are burying their heads in the sand, hoping that they can just ignore them.

We have read the stories of decent law abiding people, who having had their homes raided by armed police, their families terrorised and their names tarnished, for simply putting a photo on their social media of a picture of some firearm from the past. If this isn’t harmful to the relationship between good decent people and the police authorities, I really do not know what is.

If you wanted to create division, distrust, secrecy and sheer contempt, then you could not go about it any better than this.

A trust lost

I remember how amazed I was by the alliance between firearms holders and the police in New Zealand. You could talk to the “cops” and they would respond. The communication flowed both ways, and it was as it should be.

The once friendly “cop” has been given a huge set of directives and rules, which even s/he cannot understand. It doesn’t stop there, as we are asked to make submissions, even though the new proposals are not complete, yet enormously detailed.

That, and a very short time in which to formulate our replies, or to alert other firearms owners who may not even be aware of them.

The result will be a disaster, for the community of New Zealand
For all of us; shooters and non shooters.