A recent call from ACT MP Nicole McKee raises an important question.
Ms. McKee has asked the Government during question time why known gang members are being issued firearms licenses when, she says, gang members should not be allowed to hold one.
The number of known gang members to hold a license rose from 11 to 12 recently.
Neville Dodd, president of Sporting Shooters Assn of New Zealand says the Police are figuratively shooting themselves in the foot by allowing licensed gang members to buy and then distribute ammunition to fellow gang members who are in possession of unlawful firearms.
“The law says you can’t buy ammunition unless you can show you have a current firearms license, so it is simple, a licensed gang member can supply the underbelly with however much ammunition they need. The question must be asked – how did Police come to issue firearms licenses to known gang members”.
McKee is adamant that known gang members should not be able to have access to ammunition and Dodd agrees. “I am right with her on this. Police must cancel the firearms licenses of known gang members & associates. Police have missed a beat on this. Cut off the supply of ammunition and the gangs use of firearms is neutralised. Police have the ability to act on this and so far they have not.” However, Dodd also has praise for the Police and what they are doing with respect to raids on gangs.
“The recent arrest of a gang leader who arrived in New Zealand penniless, having been extradited from Australia and the confiscation of millions of dollars’ worth of assets shows clearly there is huge money being made by the gangs through drug deals and general crime, and sadly the use of guns for intimidation and their own defense is part of it all”. He says a quick count up of shooting instances including drive by shootings and tit for tat shootings shows just how they totally disregard the law and those charged with keeping the law”.
Dodd says he and his organisation are right behind the Police on this but do ask if Police can ever break the gangs and their hold on organised crime under the existing criminal law.