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Police Association urges rethink over online firearms

Police Association urges politicians to rethink online firearms sales

Police Association President Chris Cahill says last week’s tragic shootings in Northland should serve as an opportune time for politicians to take another look at the recommendations from the Law and Order Select Committee Inquiry into the Illegal Possession of Firearms in New Zealand.

“The Committee recommended a registration process for websites facilitating trading in firearms, parts or ammunition. This would give us assurance that online purchasing regimes would have necessary protections, but politicians rejected registration,” Mr Cahill said.

Currently the Police Association’s policy is to ban online sales of firearms.

It is a view based on the fact that the existing system falls short in terms of protections in two vital areas – it doesn’t ensure that all people purchasing firearms are licensed, and, it doesn’t guarantee that the firearms actually purchased end up in the hands of the person whose licence is identified in that online purchase.

The Association of course accepts that online marketplaces for all types of goods are now an established element in retailing.

However, Mr Cahill says before the Association would consider easing its position with respect to online trading of firearms, it would need to be satisfied significant improvements are made to ensure only clearly identifiable licensed firearms owners are capable of purchasing and receiving firearms.

“Unfortunately we have been made all too aware of the fact that online traders are not able to verify that the licence provided to them is the licence of the actual purchaser,” he said.

“We acknowledge TradeMe is attempting to work with Police to access the firearms licence database in order to better ensure the credentials of online purchasers. We also acknowledge TradeMe shares the Association’s view that there should be a register of all firearms serial numbers.”

“The Association would go further and ask that the permit to procure be extended to cover all sales or transfers of firearms, as recommended by the Select Committee. That would give us more confidence in the security of online purchasing regimes, and we may adjust our position accordingly,” Mr Cahill said.

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