Firearm Registry- Political, Not a Pragmatic One?

Opinion by Chaz Forsyth

Introduction

The value of a registry as a crime prevention and crime solving tool has repeatedly been advanced by its supporters..  The police on many occasions before the recent law changes have argued that a registry is not necessary for their operations, so the decision to embark upon a registry seems to be political, not a pragmatic one.  The late Sir Thomas Thorp qualified his support for a firearm register by noting that “…unless a compliance rate of not less than 90 percent can be achieved, the benefits derived from registration would be significantly reduced” (Thorp, 1997, p. 184).

Licensed firearm owners already offend if they illegally possess or sell firearms

Five offences exist in law for illegally supplying or possessing firearms.  These attract penalties of up to two years of imprisonment or fines of up to $15,000.

Limited crime prevention potential of full firearm registration

The police, in 1996, noted in their evidence-in-chief to the Thorp Review (1997) of firearms that there was little evidence that universal registration provided any real benefits unless it was accompanied by regular checks every 2-3 years on the firearms held by every firearm owner.

The police also noted that, “…there is little evidence that a registration system would be instrumental either in solving serious crime involving firearms or preventing them.  The majority of firearms used in serious crime do not belong to the offender and are usually stolen, unlawfully in their possession or supplied by other than a licensed owner.

Proponents for this measure also overlook the fact that although registration of motor vehicles for road use is near-universal, more than 20,000 motor vehicles are stolen annually, some of which undoubtedly feature in reported offending (Otago Daily Times 30 April 2022).  This is for a motor vehicle fleet of some 4.5 million vehicles.  Compared to firearms (for which an estimated 1.2 million are in private ownership in New Zealand), the annual total reported stolen is approximately 1,000, testament surely to the greater security afforded these items?

Just what we want – another waste of taxpayer’s money!

References:

Otago Daily Times (2022), “Security roller door didn’t stop latest ram-raid”, Otago Daily Times, 30 April 2022.

Thorp, T.M. (1997) Review of Firearms Control in New Zealand – Report of an Independent Inquiry Commissioned by the Minister of Police.  Wellington, New Zealand: GP Print. (281 pp.).

 

Why the gun register will fail! It will be full of errors!

Why? We give you one simple example.

The new Registry requires firearms owners to enter details of the rifles they own. That includes the make model and serial number of each rifle. Essential if the Register is to fulfil its design purpose.

That sounds easy enough – BUT – it isn’t. Police haven’t taken the trouble to learn from all the other (failed) firearms registers around the world.

Take an obvious example the humble “Lee Enfield .303”.
Probably the second most common rifle in New Zealand, having been used by thousands of hunters throughout the 20th century. These ex military rifles will definitely have a serial number. BUT Where on the rifle is that serial number or even the name of the manufacturer for that matter.

Is it made by Lee Enfield?
No, because the manufacturer could be a Small Arms Factory at Enfield, BSA, Sparkbrook, LSA, Long Branch, Savage, Maltby, Fazakerly, Lithgow, Ishapore, Pakistan, Nepal to name a few and often only indicated by a war time code letter rather than the name.

Is the model LE (Lee Enfield) or LM (Lee Metford)? Depending on the type of rifling.
Not necessarily because the model could be: LE I, LE I*, LEC, Sht LE III, No 4 Mk I, No 4 Mk 1/3, No 5 Mk I, etc. etc.

Which is the Serial No and where does the owner find it?
On early ones it is on the RHS of the receiver ring, with the same or sometimes a different number on the barrel. On No 4s (WW II) onwards it is on LHS of the receiver body or on the butt socket.
BUT in those same places are also unit marks and numbers. So which number will the naive owner choose – always assuming he can find it.

A few hundred serious collectors will know which is which but the many thousands of lone hunters out there won’t know these subtleties. Don’t believe us? Just look on Trademe to see them simply listed as 303 rifle.

Magazines: thousands (literally) have no manufacturers marking of any form.

So if an innocent owner enters in the register say a unit rack number or Home Guard No are they providing false information to the registry? Will they be charged with an offence?are they providing false information to the registry? Will they be charged with an offence?

Chris Hipkins, Nicole McKee open WSR shooting season

On Saturday the new long range shooting season opened at Trentham in Upper Hutt. It was great to see the Minister of Police Hon Chris Hipkins attend and participate in the opening match with Nicole McKee, the Mayor of Upper Hutt Wayne Guppy and Mayoral Candidate Angela McLeod.

Full info’ here:
https://l-to.com/lq1125cy

But are politicians aware that their changes to the Arms Act will result in the closure of many ranges and prevent many firearm owners from taking part in this sport?

Let them know we care!

Dodgy Police statistics reveals failure of gun law “reforms”

Referring to this article, it is apparent that “gun crime” has not declined since the confiscation of thousand s of semi auto rifles from law abiding firearm owners, and the tighter gun controls put in place by the Labour government.
Police data collection on gun crime is flawed, failing to differentiate when an actual crime is committed with a real gun, or no gun is present at all.
All this article does, is to put fear in the minds of the general population, and shows where most gun crime is committed, but fails to tell us who is responsible and where the perpetrators come from. It also ignores the mobility of criminals, who are unlikely to offend in their ‘home’ suburbs.
However, if they’re using registered vehicles to get around, why can these not be traced to work out where they live? Maybe this is just too simple?

Update 20220907; response from COLFO

Cash/Guns/Ammo at Bail Facility!?

Recent reports about the finding of contraband firearms, ammunition and cash at an Auckland bail facility suggests once more that police enforcement of these and similar facilities is either lacking, or lackadaisical.

This underscores how police treat as ‘poor cousins’ anything that is not regarded as a priority, including the administration of firearm control measures – for decades.

We now learn facilities for holding offenders who have gained bail (also, a privilege, surely?) may well be under-scrutinised to the extent they not only access firearms but get to store them there.

We must ask if anyone at the facility was licensed for firearm ownership, and if the firearms and ammunition were being stored correctly, i.e. in accord with the police recommendations and the requirements of Regulations 19 or 28 of the Arms Regulations (1992).

The situation also begs the question of exactly how full firearm registration will prevent the subsequent re-occurrence of this situation in the future?

Clearly, without enforcement, crime and criminal behavior will flourish! 

Police Taking a Year to Renew a Firearms Licence

Why is it taking so long (12 months or more) for police to renew a firearms licence?

Could it be that Police are swamped in a mess of their own making. A more important question is why is it the job of Police to renew a licence?  These questions are being asked by responsible firearm owners who are compromised and inhibited by the scandalous delays within police.

Really, compromised, inhibited?  Yes because under the huge volume of new and convoluted law, police have dumped on fully vetted New Zealanders.

A firearms owner whose licence has expired before police issue the replacement licence can no longer use or even have possession of his or her firearms and must transfer them to another licenceholder’s secure storage.  Not an easy task by any means.  Very few licence holders have excess secure storage and transferring bulk firearms adds to the risk of theft or loss.

Act Member of Parliament (MP) Nicole McKee recently questioned Police Minister Chris Hipkins about the long delays in issuing new licences. The answer she got can be summed up as platitudes. Clearly it is not a top priority for Police or their master the Hon Mr Hipkins.

Well, it is not good enough Mr Hipkins.  Please note that Police should police the law and not administer that law and Parliament should only pass law that can be easily understood and complied with by the average law abiding citizen

POLICE INTRANSIGENCE?

The persistence with which police are delaying the issue of new firearm licences and the renewal of existing ones (a whole year to just renew!!) has spurred a Member of Parliament to question the Police Minister about the delays.

We applaud the improved vetting now being undertaken by the Police after their disgraceful failures of the past (failures which directly led to the mass homicides in New Zealand, of 1990 and 2019) but we cannot applaud their administration.

It is clear that a significant level of under-resourcing, and/or failure to anticipate the resources required to meet the new vetting requirements shows a serious disconnect within police national headquarters.

This is no doubt because the new Firearms Authority remains under police control and appears to be subject to Vote: Police in the Parliamentary financial allocations.

Sporting Shooters president, Neville Dodd is calling for a re-appraisal of the lack of ‘independence’ of the new firearm authority and he records that the intention for full firearm registration is doomed to fail, as it has in every overseas jurisdiction where it has been tried.

Criminals don’t register their firearms, and registration is just a stepping stone to confiscation, at an establishment cost to the taxpayer of a million dollars a week!

Doesn’t this all remind you of ‘flogging a dead horse’?

COMMONWEALTH GAMES – no shooting competitors

New Zealand athletes are making their mark at the Commonwealth Games and we wish our Kiwi competitors every success.

On past history, more success would have been expected, had the shooting sports been included in these Commonwealth games, but a decision of the hosts, (living in the former ‘nation of riflemen’), not to hold any sport-shooting events, deprives not only New Zealand Commonwealth Games teams of an opportunity to compete, but also deprives our female shooters from opportunities to compete with (based on their previous performances) a high expectation of winning more medals for New Zealand.

While it is praiseworthy that India has offered to provide venues for alternative shooting events, it is an indictment on the once-proud history of the United Kingdom of its development and promotion of competitive shooting sports.

Motor-racing legend and noted clay target shooter Sir Jackie Stewart must be choking on his breakfast tea over this!

Full firearm registration – a colossal central government waste of taxpayers’ money which can never ‘work’

Recent claims made to the effect that the implementation of a firearm registration system will contribute to a reduction in violence with firearms is nonsense.

Comparison with motor vehicle registration reminds us of the 20,000 motor vehicles reportedly stolen annually, some of which are known to be used in violent crime, and to the 10,000 casualties (of which some 400 are fatal) resulting from road traffic accidents.

The fact that a majority of the illicit firearms recovered by police have had their serial numbers removed invalidates the argument that firearm registration will solve crimes because even if sophisticated (and expensive) technology for recovering serial numbers is available, police have told us (a) that firearms are rarely left at the scene of a crime, and (b) they rarely need evidential material from firearms for solving serious crime.

It seems our police have not learned from the failures of firearms registration systems in our past or in other jurisdictions.

Finally, heavy penalties exist for illegally selling firearms under current law, extending to imprisonment for up to two years or a fine of up to $20,000.

So, why incur New Zealand in the budgeted $200,000,000.00 cost when our society has other more urgent needs for taxpayer funds?

Sporting Shooters condemn mass youth walkout from Parliament

If the youth walkout from Parliament of aspiring MPs who refused to listen to a speech about firearms is an example of how our future MP’s think and act, we should be concerned, says Sporting Shooters Association President Neville Dodd. Lacking moral fibre, lacking the ability to listen to unpleasant truths and instead allowing their poor upset feelings to determine their pathetic behaviour, is not a good look.

As one SSANZ member said, “My grandfather went and fought in the battle of Passchendaele at the same sort of age of these immature and spineless would-be MP’s. While he had to endure terrible conditions on the crammed troopship trip over and unspeakable experiences on the western front before being invalided back wounded, these spineless clowns can’t even listen to a speech that makes them uncomfortable!

Sadly, it’s a sign of the stupid wokeness that has infected our society where it’s not acceptable to now tell the truth if that upsets someone. These poor young people now need to be molly coddled and protected from anything unpleasant. It’s time they grew up! My grandfather fought in a battle with real firearms – how terrible – he fought for the very freedoms that these bunch of spineless brats are wanting to take away from us.”

The youth MP who stuck to his guns and delivered his speech in the face of this pre planned disrespectful spectacle is to be congratulated for his moral fibre and courage.

It is time for a rethink of where we are heading as a nation, one that will be lead by people with moral fibre and courage, who are prepared to listen to opposing points of view, not those driven by woke infested nonsense.