Who Issued the Mosque Terrorist With a Firearm Licence?

Opinion by M.R.

There needs to be accountability around how police issued a firearms licence to Brenton Tarrant – the Australian who is charged with, on March 15, 2019, the murder of 51 people, 40 counts of attempted murder and one terrorism charge in New Zealand’s deadliest peace time mass shooting.

When is the cop (or cops) responsible for granting a firearms licence to that mosque killer going to be charged with his criminal offences and drummed out of the force in disgrace?” And you can forget about any golden handshakes too.

Who am I to comment, apart from being a taxpayer and a New Zealand citizen?

Well for years I was an active competitor in “action” shooting in many parts of New Zealand with semi-automatic rifle, shotgun and pistol under the (correctly) quite pernickerty safety control of the Pistol Association. 

I was never the top scorer but always among the first half dozen in a national contest. The top guys used optical sights and usually compensators to keep the muzzle steady whereas I always used a standard gun with open sights (my choice). I was one of the founders of the Haywards range in the Hutt Valley. 

I worked full-time at Police National Headquarters in Molesworth Street for three or four years, wrote the Arms Code, wrote and produced the training film used for years during the testing of applicants for the firearms licence, was on the team that introduced firearms licensing in New Zealand and spent every opportunity to fire many of the firearms from the vast collection maintained by the police armourers as a resource against which any projectile used in a crime could be tested for identification. At that stage we used a range at the old Air Force base at Shelly Bay.

While on the firearms licensing set-up team I met every arms officer operating in the police throughout New Zealand at that time. Mostly they were old cops with a lot of experience in their work and they had a lot of useful information and advice to pass on. They were all brought together, several times, for discussions and instruction on how the licensing system would operate. The leader of our police team was Chief Inspector Alister McCallum.

High Regard

Certainly never a policeman myself, I had known many police over the years while working on court and police rounds with newspapers in New Zealand and overseas. 

In general I was impressed with the quality of New Zealand police and came to have a high regard for many I worked with or knew at Police National Headquarters. 

However, I was not impressed by police in general regarding their knowledge, or use, of firearms. At least 50 per cent of the older cops were vociferous about what they blindly believed to be the essential nature of a register of every firearm. At that point (1983/84) New Zealand had had registration of every firearm for more than 50 years. 

The register had been maintained by each of the 17 or so police districts and it was a hopeless mess. 

Further, the register had never in all those years been responsible for identifying a single criminal user of a firearm. 

There is another major problem with a register. It will be the frosty Friday when criminals queue up to have their firearms, however obtained, registered. 

And it is a rare criminal (apart from Brenton Tarrant) who will bother to apply for a licence. 

Canada’s Failure

I note that Canada has given up on the firearms register they introduced in recent years at incredible expense, having discovered – surprise, surprise! – that it just did not work.  The Canadians were calling it “a boondoggle,” which is probably not complimentary. 

Besides those in New Zealand who agonised back in 1983 over not having a useless register of firearms most of the remainder of police members did not like firearms, were not regular shooters and I felt, many were unsafe with firearms, largely through lack of familiarity and practice. 

An example – one of the diplomatic protection squad, for instance, loosed a pistol shot through the side of an aircraft he was boarding. 

This is not to say all cops are hopeless with pistols because I know some who are excellent, although they are rare. 

The use of rifles in built-up areas is really a no-no, even with special care, yet recently we have seen police, whose experience I would generally doubt very strongly, being armed with semi-automatic rifles in towns. Further, the use of a pistol really requires fairly constant practice to hit your mark accurately, consistently and with safety. I would like to see work on the pistol range once a week before letting people loose with a pistol. Police get to fire on a pistol range fairly rarely. Once a year? Maybe.


The shambles police firearms licensing has become in recent years is disgraceful, besides being criminally dangerous when they licence and arm people like Brenton Tarrant who let loose in a couple of mosques in Christchurch. 

I repeat the question that needs to be asked loudly, and repeatedly and answered, when is the cop (or cops) responsible for licensing that mosque killer going to be charged with his criminal offences and drummed out of the force in disgrace?


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8 Responses to Who Issued the Mosque Terrorist With a Firearm Licence?

  1. Roger Dewhurst says:

    Study carefully the shooting at Port Arthur in Tasmania. There a half wit was stitched up. Doubtless a suitable half wit to stitch up in Christchurch could not be found. Both shootings achieved exactly the same desired outcome, more gun control. When you figure out who most wanted the gun control in each country you have the answer to your question. You may well ask where Tarrant is today. I doubt that he is in New Zealand.

    • Ron Milne says:

      Congratulations Roger, you are one of the few who can put 2 plus 2 together.

      Labour Governments give the orders, and do half arsed coverups.

  2. Angus Porbeagle says:

    it is a very good question as to how Tarrant was granted – by police- a firearms licence.
    He had no proper, legitimate referees. He applied (from reports – in Hamilton when he lived in Dunedin. Proper enquiries in Otago would’ve alerted awake people. He reportedly was on the “surveillance” list for Australian authorities. He was not a New Zealander.

  3. Stewart Hydes says:

    We can expect there will be no accountability. The Police hierarchy have .. very deliberately .. put far too much time, energy, and resources into deflection – instead scapegoating villainising, and demonising lawful and legitimate Firearms License Holders.

  4. Jim Hilton Batchelor Science Hons Biology 1971 says:

    When is the Police Officer who traumatised a younger Police woman when he drove at speeds of up to 217 kilometres per hour chasing a car between Hokitika and Ross earlier this year going to be drummed out of the force in disgrace? It seems some public servants constantly break the law with little consequence. NZ Police and others in the Public Service need top tidy up their act before they will get any respect from me.
    Actions like this bring all public servants into disrepute and damages the trust which they need from Jo public when they need it.

  5. Charles Baycroft says:

    The most important truth that is avoided and denied is that responsible licensed owners and users of firearms (LFOs) are the people most concerned about safety and crimes committed with firearms.
    This is because they know from experience what the consequences of negligence and misuse can be.
    Everyone in the firearms/hunting community or who has ever attended a gun club or shooting range fully understands that the main priority is always safety, safety, safety,

    These responsible and safe people are being targeted and discriminated against by irrational firearms regulations simply because it is assunmed that they will comply and the bureacrats that have been failing to serve and protect us can pretend to be improving public safety.

    Perhaps our previous firearms licensing system and the experienced officers that did the assessments was too successful?
    There were so few problems that some fools in the gun hating Labour government decided to save money by reducing the number of officers and enabling people like Tarrant to apply and be granted a license without being properly assessed. He was also permited by police to buy over 2000 rounds of ammo on-line and concerns about his safety reported to police wee not investigated.
    Let’s be honest, no-one would ever have believed that such a horrible mass murder would occur in New Zealand so let’s blame Tarrant because he is the criminal.

    Perhaps the consequences for his crime should have been more severe but the people in this government clearly care more about criminals than their victims.

    Blaming LFOs for Tarrant’s crime and confiscating property from people that legally owned it and had done nothing wrong was a deceitful and unjust exploitation of the tragedy by “gun hating” Labout party elites who commonly refer to LFOs as “those horrible gun people”.

    It is now clear that the confiscation (not a buy back) did not make anyone safer as the minister falsly claimed because crimes invioloving firarms have become more common.

    Crime in general has greatly increased and only a fool would believe that the “system” protects us from violent criminals or even understands how to effectively deal with them.

    The people that we pay to maintaing law and order seem more concerned with harrassing and disarming law abiding LFOs (licensed firearms owners) than dangerous criminaks.
    Of course, law abiding citizens are not dangerous like criminals are and they will comply with regulations as criminals will not.

    Responsible people will welcome and willingly comply with a fair and reasonable system for aseessing and licensing people to have and use firearms but they resent and oppose the discriminatory and unfair legislation that has been imposed just like the citizens of Canada did.

    Rather than improving firarms and public safety, these new rules will criminalize decent people for non-compliance and probably increase the illegal ownership and use of firearms by unlicensed people.

    According to available data the confiscation (not a buy back) did not work and there are still plenty of military type firearms out there. These guns are now illegally owned and likely to be acquired by criminals.

    People that do not fully comply with the register might also become a source of illegal arms for criminals.

    Information in the register will inevitably be “leaked” and expose respo0nsible citizens to the risk of being robbed.

    Why, we should ask, would anyone commit hundreds of millions of dollars and scarce law enforcement resources to a foolish process that is bound to fail instead of trying to deal with the current excessive rates of crime that endangers us all?

    Perhaps it is like the other things the people in this government have been doing about problems like, housing, education, medical services, living costs, crime, infrastructure and our environment?


  6. Gun Shy says:

    You would have to wonder it there wasn’t an ulterior motive to allow Tarrant to get away with procuring a firearms license when the many current licensed firearms owners had no show in hell of getting away with what he did in gaining a firearms license.

  7. Honest Dave says:

    1. Do the NZ Police have a liaison officer based at Oz Federal Police HQ???
    I’d be surprised if they didn’t.
    Did NZ firearm vetting people run Tarrant past their man in OZ??? If not why not???
    IF they had they’d find out that Tarrant was well known to OZ Fed police. Which may explain why Tarrant had an Azov Brigade patch on his clothing during the mosque incidents. Both he & the shooter at the Uvaldie school shooting had Azov Brigade patches on. Does that hint at something???

    2. Were Tarrant & his referees interviewed at their residences??? Was his firearm security etc up to scratch, had his referees had a meaningful association with him???
    ( We all know the answers to these questions) Different rules for the rest of us law abiding kiwi’s eh???

    I could go on but we all have grave doubts about the genuineness of this whole incident. Far too similar to the Port Arthur incident back in 1996!!!!!

    RED FLAG INCIDENT. We just need a Whistleblower or two to come forward & spill the beans on those who orchestrated it.

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