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Gangs Promise to Sign up to Firearm Registry

Gangs Promise to Sign up to Firearm Registry

SATURDAY 12 OCTOBER 2019

The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) is calling on New Zealand’s growing gangland community to front up and tell police how many firearms they possess and how many of their members are licenced to own and use them.

“It’s a ridiculous proposition, of course,” says COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee. “The real bad guys with guns – the gangs – aren’t going to comply with the Government’s proposed firearm register.”

COLFO today released its intended submission on the Arms Bill and has identified the planned registry of firearms as the Bill’s most pointless and expensive proposition.

“The biggest issue is that many people won’t register some or all their firearms – and the most likely not to be registered are those which could be used to kill people.

McKee said COLFO was equally concerned that “firearm owners and their families will be placed at risk by a hack of a firearms register that delivers a shopping list to criminals.”

In past few weeks official agencies have had private data they hold on citizens stolen; the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Tū Ora Compass Health, and the Commerce Commission.

“The privacy and security threats posed by a firearms register is very real. Just two years ago, the addresses of 30,000 licenced firearm owners in London were released to a private company.”

Police want to provide the register to other agencies, which the Privacy Commissioner said gave concern “for misuse of firearms information and the unintended safety consequences for people who have firearms licences or people living at addresses at which firearms are stored.”

Firearms registers are expensive and ineffectual. In 1995, the Canadian government claimed that their firearms register would cost Canadian taxpayers only CAN$2 million to establish. By early 2004, that figure had become CAN$2 billion. It was scrapped in 2012.

Other problems with a register include:
• Failure to prevent mass shooting: there is nothing about a register that makes people less likely to be shot by a registered or unregistered firearm.
• We already had a registry of endorsed firearms: owners of E-category licences have had to register semi-automatics. When the gun and magazine used in the Christchurch mass shooting were connected, they were required to be registered.
• Location of registered firearms: the planned register connects a firearm with a location. When it is moved, even temporarily for hunting or holidays, the register must be updated. The practical and logistical weight of this means it won’t be obeyed, creating criminals of ordinary licence holders, and undermining the purpose of the recorded location.
COLFO's submission (draft only) is available on the Fair and Reasonable website: www.fairandreasonable.co.nz/colfo_submission
ENDS

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