Firearms License Security Breach – it’s worse than initially revealed

The report in the NZ Herald today that the documents stolen from the abandoned Auckland Central Police Station in May actually spanned a much longer time frame, 2003 to 2018, has further angered licensed firearm owners.

As Sporting Shooters President Neville Dodd explains “This is a very serious security breach of sensitive information which now has the potential to affect thousands more lawful firearm owners. It would appear to cover a period much greater than the Police first advised and covers a number of license renewal cycles. This is by far the worst security breach in NZ firearm history and is all due to Police negligence.

We demand that those responsible for this negligence, that puts the security of licensed firearm owners and their families at risk, be held to account”. Said Dodd.
It further illustrates why licensed firearm owners are so opposed to the planned full firearm register, that will cost $1 Million per week, as police have now shown on a number of occasions that they are not capable of protecting private and sensitive information.

Police followed up with their own media release:

Police operate a decentralised firearms licensing office model in each policing district. Auckland City a district has 5,602 firearms licence holders as at 1 April 2022. Note the following media release from this afternoon. 

Superintendent Karyn Malthus, Auckland City District Commander:

Police are continuing to analyse more than 4000 documents that were stolen and later recovered from the old Auckland Central Police station. 

As part of this, Police have identified over 2000 documents dated between 2003 and 2018. Of this, 444 data sheets containing names and address details of firearms licence holders have been identified and Police are engaged in notifying them.

The other approximately 1500 documents recorded only address details, which means further collation and analysis is required to understand how many individuals those documents actually relate to.

Police are continuing to work through contacting the people that have been affected by this breach.

As Police have previously proactively released, there have been two firearms related burglaries in Auckland Central since the Police burglary occurred. 

Offenders were apprehended in both instances and there has not been any link identified between those incidents and the Vincent Street burglary.

Police continue to undertake daily monitoring of any incidents involving firearm licence holders, which includes theft or burglary reports.

There remains no known organised crime link established by our investigation into the burglary at this time. Police can advise that there have been no incidents linked to information obtained as a result of the burglary.

Police have established a dedicated 0800 line for firearms owners who wish to discuss the incident, 0800 462 379 along with the email address Vincent.Support@police.govt.nz

Why is Auckland so bad?

Greater Auckland has the lowest rate of legal firearm ownership in the country with less than 3 % of the population being licensed, compared with 10.48 % of the population being licensed to own firearms in Southland. Yet South Auckland has a far higher crime rate of 5.8 robbery offences per 10,000 residents when compared with Southland with a rate of only 1.3 such offences.

As Neville Dodd, President of the Sporting Shooters Association explains “Numerous studies from around the world show that violent offending with guns has nothing to do with the number of lawfully owned firearms in a community.

What these studies also clearly show is that the common factor connected to firearm violence is poor socio-economic outcomes, such as poverty and poor housing. Both poverty and social housing are issues that our present government has so far failed to address.”

“The solution to the current crime wave and gang related shootings is not more restrictions on carefully vetted licensed gun owners, but to tackle the social issues that drive young people towards gangs and a life of crime.” Says Dodd.

“While we welcome measures proposed by opposition parties to get tough on gangs, we would caution against the further use of warrantless searches as this is likely to have unintended consequences for lawful firearm owners, as has already been demonstrated by a number of unjustified police raids on licensed owners.”

POLICE INCOMPETENCE PUTS FIREARM OWNERS AT RISK

The revelation that documents stolen from an abandoned Auckland police station contained the names and addresses of licensed firearm owners has outraged gun owners.

Said Chaz Forsyth, President of the Sporting Shooters Association, “The fact that these documents have lain in an empty police station for several years, shows great incompetence on the part of police, they have clearly been negligent in their protection of this important personal data. Someone needs to be held to account.”

“It would appear that the theft of these documents was discovered by chance when police executed a search warrant, so they clearly had no idea that the documents had been left behind or stolen. What does this say about their data security protocols?”

Will the new planned gun register be any more secure when it is designed by an Australian Firm currently under investigation by the commerce commission?

“One of the main objections of gun owners to the proposed firearm register is that the data may be stolen and used by criminals as a shopping list to source firearms from licensed owners. This incident reinforces that argument. The register should be abandoned as it serves no practical useful purpose”, said Forsyth

P.M.s tour promoting NZ or herself?

Headlined as a “trade mission”, the Prime Minister’s tour of the USA seems to be more focused on what she has done with respect to gun laws and climate change than to trade.

The door opened for her as her arrival into the States coincided with a school massacre enabling her to wallow in her response to our own massacre.

The continuation of further restrictions must be looming large in her mind as accolades are poured onto her like confetti at a wedding ceremony.

While she packs the accolades into her suitcase, and providing the NZ air force plane is airworthy again, what will meet her here at home is totally contrary to what she has been revered for.

Gang wars are literally raging throughout our cities, children are stealing cars and doing ram raids to steal cigarettes, and gang recruitment is outstripping police recruitment numbers.

Chairman of Sporting Shooters, Chaz Forsyth, says his organisation speaks for the 240,000 legal gun owners, and he is furious that the government continues to blame the innocent to hide the lack of control of the criminals.
“They are talking about every gun owner having to register their serial numbers with the police, anyone with an ounce of intelligence will tell you the first thing criminals will do is remove the serial numbers”

He says reports that licensed gun owners are buying guns and supplying gangs doesn’t hold water either. “We know that there are some licensed owners who are openly members of gangs, so yes that is partially right; remove their licenses and sort out that problem rather than add more compliance for the innocent”.

Forsyth says in his view, and that of a vast majority of the people he represents, the police and government have done a very good job of turning the general public against people who use their guns lawfully.
“Interestingly, when a shooter does well at the Olympics, everyone thinks that’s great, but shooting game for meat is anti-social; sadly it seems we are shouting against thunder”.