New Gun laws have not made NZ safer but Commissioner Coster blames legal firearm owners

We have every sympathy for front line officers caught up in the recent shooting incidents in Hamilton and Auckland over the past week, however we refute the Commissioners assertion that the source of guns in the hands of criminals is from burglaries of law abiding owners (5:20).

He refuses to acknowledge that if millions of dollars of illegal drugs can be smuggled into the country, guns can also come by the same means.

He also claims that some licence holders have sold guns to gangs, forgetting that police themselves have issued a dozen licences to known gang members.

Police Minister doesn’t know the law she voted for.

A police officer is shot in Hamilton and in a media release commenting on that, the Police Minister has said “Cabinet was “working on the process” of getting a gun register in place to stop these weapons getting into the wrong hands”, Williams said. “We will make decisions on that as soon as we can.

Incredible! Is it possible she doesn’t remember voting into law on June 18th last year legislation to establish a Register of Firearms?

AND just how is a register going to stop “weapons getting into the wrong hands” ? Could she tell us just how will the fact a firearm is registered stop it from being stolen?

AND what use will a register be anyway when Police’s own figures show that it is common for the serial numbers to be ground off stolen firearms.

AND does she not know that gangs import guns along with narcotics? Perhaps she thinks the gangs will register these illegal imports?

AND does she know that gangs and now making their own guns? Will they apply serial numbers and register those guns?

Really Minister!

Police Firearms Administration a Disgrace!

Are our Police fit for purpose asks Neville Dodd president of Sporting Shooters. If the “purpose” is the administration of the firearms law, they themselves wrote then “the answer is clearly a resounding no!

Look at their current gross under-performance” he says.

Some obvious examples are:
• Grossly excessive delays in processing applications (see table below – a shocking indictment)
• Long delays in replying to emails and (in a lot of cases) not replying at all
• Dealers left in uncertainty over running their businesses because their annual licence
renewals are not being processed promptly.
• Rude and aggressive interviews of licence applicants and their families and referees
• Demands for details of home layout – to be stored on the porous police computer

Government must give urgency to the establishment of the previously announced independent Firearms Administration Authority Dodd says. “Confine police to what they are good at – policing the law. Not writing the law and not administering the law they have written.”

More red tape as museums forced to hold gun dealers licenses.

Guns are inanimate but the Government seems determined to personify them as evil, as more & more pointless restrictions have been passed into law.

That is the view of Neville Dodd, president of Sporting Shooters, on the new law that requires museum curators to hold a firearms dealer’s license if there are any firearms in their museum’s collection. “This is just another ridiculous example of wrapping pointless red tape around the knee jerk reaction after the 2019 massacre.”

He says the museums in New Zealand have adequate security to ensure any firearms held by them are secure and this latest law is only going to discourage museums from fulfilling their function of displaying our some of our significant history.

Museums are already required to have a standard firearms licensee if they hold firearms in their collection. To now require that they hold an annual firearms dealers licence just adds pointless complexity and cost for no purpose as museums obviously are not in the business of buying, selling, hiring or manufacturing firearms and are therefore not dealers.

“Firearms are a significant part of New Zealand’s world history and inhibiting the preservation of that history with pointless and complex law changes will lead to a significant part of that history being lost to future generations.”

He says, in his view, legally licensed gun owners are already drowning in convoluted legislation and security rules that restrict transportation of guns and the use of them.

“I recognise Police have a problem with illegal guns in criminal hands and finding and seizing those guns, but dumping pointless restrictions onto the law-abiding people is not going to stop the public shootings.”

This is particularly the case as “We know that illicit firearms are flowing freely through our ports, and now the latest is that the criminal element are making their own guns by using 3D printers, so we say Government and Police should close those gaps and stop wasting time and taxpayers’ funds persecuting the law-abiding sportsmen and women.”

“Seriously, passing complicated (some would say unintelligible) laws that make people such as Museum Curators have to apply for a firearms dealer’s license is only going to lead to people getting more and more frustrated.

There are strong rumblings of discontent about the laws and red tape; surely the Government should listen?

Not to, will cost them at the next election.”

Kudos to Police

The Sporting Shooters Association of New Zealand congratulates NZ Police on its success in concluding the New Zealand end of Operation Trojan Shield, which saw the arrest of 35 people involved in the illegal drug trade and the seizure of $3.7 million assets, which included drugs, cash, firearms, vehicles and boats.

President Neville Dodd said, “while we are quick to criticise our police for policy decisions that adversely affect New Zealand lawful firearm owners we must give credit where it is due. These arrests of gang leaders and members of other organised criminal groups is a significant disruption of the drug trade that is so damaging to our communities.”

Police are also to be congratulated for recent arrests made of suspects involved in shootings, believed mostly gang related, that have taken place over the past months.

As Dodd says “ It is encouraging to see our police arresting the bad guys, and removing drugs and illegal firearms from circulation. We hope their efforts are adequately upheld by the Justice System with appropriate penalties.”

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.

Gangs still very much in the limelight.

Raids, confiscation of assets and (some) gang members being allowed to legally buy firearms and ammunition still lead our national news bulletins, but it seems no-one has had the courage to ask if the Police and the Government have already lost the “war” against gangs.

Gangs running riot?

Neville Dodd, president of the Sporting Shooters Association of New Zealand Inc. (SSANZ) says the situation has been allowed to escalate to the point that the gangs are running riot and the Police are just dealing with the tip of the iceberg, and the Government is doing nothing at all.

“Under the present Government, gang membership has risen by 46%. Critically, about 2% are hard core rejects rom Australia. Police appear to be doing everything they can, but it seems they are outnumbered and possibly outgunned.” It also appears they are not adequately supported by the law. He says recent shootings and retaliation shootings prove that gangs have no respect for the law or the rest of the population. “It is comparable to the mafia activities in the USA where “families” fought for territory within cities so they could run their multi million dollar drug businesses; the parallel is frightening.”

Australian turf wars

Dodd agrees that the return of gang members from Australia is clearly a major factor in this. “Turf wars in Australia are common, so with the arrival of new players such as the Comancheros and the Mongols, tensions here have ratcheted up as the fight for a slice of the methamphetamine and cocaine trades escalates.”

Police Commissioner, Andrew Coster, has gone on record saying “Regardless of what the numbers are doing, we have seen a shift in the level of violence and a greater willingness to use firearms.” This is of great public concern, especially to communities with gang pads in their neighbourhood.

Last year figures provided by police showed 2399 people charged with 4552 offences and 1862 firearms seized. Dodd says the reality is that some of those firearms were stolen from licensed firearms owners, who are victims in this terrible situation but a large number are coming in through ports with no container scanning and a level of inspection that is woefully absent.”

The solution?

He says the Government needs to face up to this, listen to suggestions from all sources including the other political parties and take action before it is too late. “ACT and National are both calling for control of, or the banning of the gangs, and for the Police to mount constant pressure on them. We must remember that gangs are running multi million dollar businesses through their drug activities without adding a cent to the economy, and they will use what ever means at their disposal to ensure that continues.”

Police target gangs

Finally some action?

The recent announcement by the Commissioner of Police that they have launched a nationwide operation to target illegal firearms in the hands of the gangs is “great news” says SSANZ President Neville Dodd. “Many of the firearms in the hands of gangs have been stolen from innocent licenced firearms owners and they too are victims of gang criminality”.

“However, we have serious concerns about the validity of some of the comments attributed to the Commissioner. Does he really think that a gang member without a firearms licence is going to record a firearm he has stolen in the newly legislated firearms register”- and pay a fee for the privilege of doing so. In SSANZ opinion the register will inevitably be the same expensive failure as the now abandoned Canadian firearms register.

Police failed, again!

The Commissioner does himself no favours when he disingenuously cites the circumstances of the Mosque assassin acquiring his firearms. The Royal Commission made it very clear that it was police failure that allowed the assassin to acquire a firearms licence. The Commission’s final words in section 5 of their report are damning – ““We find that New Zealand Police failed to meet required standards in the administration of the firearms licensing system.”

We are also disturbed by his comment that there were “examples of firearms licence holders legitimately buying firearms and then selling them on the black market.” There is no surprise in this since Police themselves have given firearms licences to 12 known gang members. Seems they have not learned from the mosque experience. However, the question must be “why have those known gang members still got firearms licences?”

As a further indication of the failure of the recent highly complex firearms laws we are advised that front line police officers are now being deployed to help police arms administrators clear the backlog of firearm licence renewals/applications which in many cases are 6 months or more in arrears.