Targeting Licensed Firearms Owners Will Not Help Lower Crime Rates

Friday, 21 January 2022, 8:36 am
Press Release: COLFO

The Council of Licensed Firearms Owners (COLFO) says that punitive action from Police against legal firearms owners will not help reduce firearm thefts.
Recently, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster indicated in the annual select committee review that licensed firearms owners who have firearms stolen may be charged if Police decide the firearms were not adequately secured.
Police and licensed firearms owners in New Zealand have made good progress in reducing firearm theft, with 377 firearms stolen in 2021, down from 549 in 2020. 
COLFO spokesperson Hugh Devereux-Mack is worried that a growing punitive attitude towards licensed firearms owners will damage this progress.
“Police will work with gangs for better outcomes but punish licensed firearms owners because a criminal broke into their house and endangered their family” he says.
“Owners are doing their best to follow the myriad of restrictions already imposed on them. Police need to work with firearms owners, not against them, to ensure firearms are not ending up in the wrong hands. An environment of distrust is not conducive to safer communities.”
Police are aware of the length criminals will go to steal firearms. In April of 2019 when semi-automatic firearms were prohibited, 11 firearms handed in for destruction were stolen from a Police station in Palmerston North.[1]
As a result, Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement asked firearms owners to ‘be patient and hold onto their firearms’ while the police worked out how to safely store and destroy them.
“Mr Clement trusted legal firearms owners to store firearms more safely than the Police. Now Police are inherently distrustful of the same careful firearms owners” says Devereux-Mack.
Wrong Target
In Australia, Victoria’s State Parliament are cementing the distrust of legal firearms owners in legislation. Police will have the authority to remove a firearm license for up to 10 years over a speeding ticket.[2]
“Licensed firearms owners are not the criminals these laws shape them as. The legislation will punish legal firearms owners more for the same crime as committed by non-firearms owners. Moreover, it assumes they deserve it.” says Devereux-Mack.
Hugh Devereux-Mack says New Zealand laws have been more sensible than those suggested in Australia but is worried that is slipping.
“Legislation of the sort proposed in Australia harms the relationship between licensed firearms owners and Police. Mr Coster should be mindful of falling into the same trap” he says.
“Licensed firearms owners are not criminals. Police and licensed firearm owners should be united in focus on stopping legally owned firearms from ending up in the wrong hands. It will take a combined effort from both parties to continue education on the safe storage of firearms and further reduce thefts.”
COLFO has previously shown that legislation directed at licensed firearms owners does not make New Zealanders safer. See the release here.

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5 Responses to Targeting Licensed Firearms Owners Will Not Help Lower Crime Rates

  1. Jack Tuhawaiki says:

    Clearly something must be done to counter rising crime and violence, yet it is obvious gun control, no matter how attractive such legislation may initially appear, to the unthinking is simply not the real answer. The rushed law of government and police following the “Ides of March” mass shooting in 2019 at the Christchurch mosque, has not lessened gun violence, in fact, only increased it.
    Why? Because PM Adern panicked and unthinking targeted the law-abiding firearm public. Gangs procured more weapons under the table offering double the money government would pay?
    Besides had government’s (police) vetting of Tarrant assailant’s firearm licence been competent, the shooting probably would never have happened.

  2. Predator Pete says:

    Using the same logic of the ill-informed that every possum carries bovine tuberculosis despite the fact possums are infected by infected livestock, not all firearms owners are sociopaths that must be micromanaged by regulation.
    At times society relies on citizens proficient with the use of firearms for both defense and pest control.
    My grandfather a farmer who had a fine gun collection and was noted clay bird shooter readily transferred his prowess to a sniper role at Gallipoli where he was recommended for a VC.
    My father and his four brothers (three killed) served in the second world war having learned firearms proficiency on the hill and in the Territorials prior to the war. My father was an instructor at Burnham and Trentham before he was old enough to serve overseas. He recorded how the typical conscripts were hopeless shots.
    I was introduced to firearms at a fairly young age with firearms safety stressed as non negotiable. Proficiency was next.
    I had full bore shooting as my summer and winter sports at high school. The winter competition was sponsored by the New Zealand army as the Earl Roberts Trophy. A competition prompted by the British army being bested at long range shooting in the Boer War.
    I used firearms for humane destruction of large animals when I worked as a vet.
    I view firearms as tools that should be accessible to responsible citizens for sport and other legitimate purposes.
    I believe proficiency/accuracy is a component of firearms safety that is overlooked. This is only achieved and maintained by regular practice – an increasingly difficult issue as firing ranges disappear

  3. Steve Phillips says:

    The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) is doing good work on behalf of law abiding gun owners and their new spokesman has stepped into Nicole McKee’s rather large shoes, following her well merited election to Parliament, in admirable fashion.

  4. A Bird says:

    If the police had done their job properly and stopped Tarrant gaining a fire arms license we wouldn’t be in the position we are today. It was just the excuse Jacinda needed to satisfy her and many other politicians hate of firearms.

  5. Michelle Smith says:

    Is there no accountability today? Can the PM explain how Tarrant was granted a firearms licence?
    The incompetence by both Police and failure by government to investigate the blunder makes them accomplices to the terrible slaughter March 15, 2019. Shame! Shame!

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