Cost Recovery for Firearms Licences and other Arms Act Administration

To Right Hon Stuart Nash MP, Minister for Police

 We note in your announcement on Monday 22 July which introduced your proposals for further changes to the Arms Act that you indicated that increases were due in the fees charged for issuing firearm licences and other administrative activities.  You stated that dog registration cost significantly more than a firearm licence, which we concede, but note that the former is a council tax designed to finance local animal control officers and is therefore not a fair comparison.

As you yourself have pointed out the new changes to the Arms Act are all about improving public safety, we would therefore suggest that administration of the Act is largely for the public good and a significant part of the cost should be borne by the public purse, as has traditionally been the case, being split 50/50 with firearm users. The current figures of a total cost of $ 14 M compared to $ 4.1 M received from licence applications may be accounted for by the increased administrative cost of setting up new electronic systems and the reduction in licence applications resulting from slashing the number of testing venues implemented in July last year. We would also point out that the state already imposes additional financial burdens on licensed firearm owners, again in the interest of public safety, in providing security for the safe storage of firearms which is borne entirely by the owner.

Another reason for keeping licence fees low is to encourage people wishing to take up shooting to undertake the process of learning their responsibilities as a firearm owner together with safe handling practice and pass the test to gain a licence.  This process has worked well since 1983 and resulted in a steady decline in the number of unintentional shooting incidents and the elimination of accidents involving young children.  It is likely that a significant increase in the licence fee would dissuade some young people from undertaking the process, yet still see them using firearms in remote rural areas.

We would be interested in your rationale for increasing firearm administration fees beyond the 50/50 split between owners and the public purse that it has traditionally been.

 

GOVERNING NZ – THE NEW WAY or How NOT to implement new gun laws

  • Tell the public you are banning specific types of gun then rush through legislation banning many more types and refuse to consult with those most affected.
  • Do this before you have worked out how you will collect and destroy the banned guns.
  • Tell the public that you will pay fair compensation, and then pay the people affected much less than a fair price.
  • Make regulations that allow the people affected to modify their guns to be compliant before you have worked out how to do this.
  • Tell the people affected that they can surrender their guns at a gun dealers before you have recruited any dealers to carry out this service.
  • Make executive decisions (Orders in Council) banning certain types of ammunition but allow no compensation for this.

Is it any wonder that law abiding firearm owners are angry, upset and confused?

They Should Have Listened

The Select Committee ignored thousands of submissions from the public of New Zealand which simply asked for more time to enable them to consider and provide input on law that affects them and their lawful property. The new Arms Act enables the confiscation of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of private property from law abiding people (and not, as has been stated, illegally owned guns that are in the hands of gangs). The Act covers much more than just the Military Style Semi-Automatic rifles that the public have been led to believe are being removed. This is because of the magazine restrictions which cover all firearms regardless of age, calibre or action type. The new Arms Act affects not only “AK-47’s” but some of the most common sporting and collectable firearms there are.  Read more here 

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A Message to Our Prime Minister

Like all New Zealanders we are outraged at the terrorist attack on our soil on Friday 15 March and our sympathy goes out to the victims, their families and the people of Christchurch.

We commend you for so quickly announcing an inquiry into the matters that lead up to the devastating terrorist attack . It is obvious that some things went wrong in the work of Government Agencies, that allowed this attack to take place.

We also understand that it will likely require revision of our Arms laws to ensure a similar attack in the future can be prevented. We urge you not to rush into making hasty decisions about this, while the country as a whole is still grieving and there is so much anger and emotion being displayed.

We ask you to pause and wait for the findings of the inquiry and then engage with the firearm community to draft legislation that will be effective and result in full compliance by those affected.

Knee jerk legislation that does not follow the full democratic parliamentary process will cause distrust in government and division within the community and fulfil the aim, stated in his manifesto, of the terrorist in using firearms for his attack.

The Cascade of Failure in Controlling Firearm Offending by Mike Loder

Information from the Ministry of Justice this week shows that one offender has been convicted of the illegal possession of a firearm on no less than NINE separate occasions.

Three more offenders boast eight separate convictions for the same. Three more offenders boast seven and three more offenders boast six to complete the top ten. Remember that these are CONVICTIONS and not arrests. So the real numbers are even worse.

Police also state that of more than 3900 patched gang members and prospects, nine per cent had been charged with five or more firearms offences.

New Zealand’s worst firearm offender has 46 separate firearm convictions.

So why are these repeat offenders so contemptuous of the law?

We now know that for every one hundred burglaries where a gun is stolen – only eight offenders will ever face a judge. Perhaps because Police don’t even attend 12% of these robberies, when they DO it is days later. Or by PHONE.

 

We know that the penalties for firearm offending are pathetic. One offender found with an AK47 and other cut down murder tools received only a community sentence.

We know that the mass majority of those offenders who are found in possession of illegal arms will avoid a prison sentence of any kind. With some only paying a fine that is a fraction of the worth of the gun that they had stolen.

We know that many offenders have many previous firearm offences. That they have committed serious armed offending – while serving non-custodial sentences for their last gun crimes. We know that guns were left loaded in their homes with young children.

We know that less than ten percent of those FOUND GUILTY AND CONVICTED of a gun crime will ever serve a second’s punishment for that offence, because of concurrent sentencing.

Or we will even REWARD a gun offender, with a discount on their drug sentence for getting “Some guns off the street”; the ones that they stole and put there.

We know that Cahill’s Police Union has confirmed that they never push for harsher penalties because their Labour party friends won’t support it. So they seek to punish lawful shooters with mindless new restrictions. This is despite literally only one in one hundred gun crimes being committed by firearm license holders.

We also know that the violent Australian gun gangs are moving in to claim new drug territories. They must think they have found heaven.

So far our nation’s gun crime is low and is consistently so. But we can eradicate the dangers we do face by recognizing that recidivism is the issue, then acting to change criminal attitudes with appropriate penalties.

 

Is our Justice System Tough Enough on Criminals With Guns?

Judge Geoff Rea has just handed down another pathetic sentence for firearm offending.

Kupe Matenga, 24, committed armed robbery – with an illegal handgun.

Then led Police on a high-speed police chase through Hastings – in a stolen car.

Shooting himself in the leg during the flight.

Matenga and another offender reportedly reached speeds of 110kph in 50kph areas and over 140kph in 100kph areas. Often on the wrong side of the road and threatening the lives of those in oncoming traffic.

Matenga threw objects, including glass bottles, at pursuing police.

The chase ended with the fleeing car first smashing into one police car – with an officer inside it. Then later crashing into a second police car.

Matenga fled on foot but was caught a short time later in someone’s back yard. His revolver was found on a nearby property.

If a child had found that weapon instead of Police then serious injury or death would have been all but a certainty.

The penalty for this insanity? With parole he will serve ten months in jail.

Pathetic. Now taxpayers will no doubt PAY HIM compensation under ACC for his self-inflicted injury.

This utter failure of our justice system MUST stop.

New Zealand’s worst gun offender has 46 separate convictions. That is JUST for guns.

The top five offenders have 135 convictions between them – just for guns.

Around 10% of gang members have five OR MORE firearm offenses under their belt.

Some of our most serious gang crime is committed by offenders serving non-custodial sentences for their LAST gun crime – only weeks before.

Criminals caught with assault rifles and illegal handguns get community diversion.

This casual recidivism is the result of a complete betrayal of trust by our Parliament. Made worse by the inexplicable decisions of our judges who fail to apply even the token sentence options available to them now.

Yes the Police Association NEVER mention this issue. Ever. Preferring instead to vilify New Zealand’s quarter of a million licensed gun owners. Who are simply not the problem

Shooting groups are again calling for harsh, mandatory minimum, non – parole sentencing for serious armed offending.

This current situation can NOT go on.

Mike Loder

021 237 8595

backcut@kinect.co.nz