Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Gun licences give to 639 people with Australian convictions

NZ firearms licences granted to 639 people with criminal convictions in Australia

Charlie Dreaver, Political Reporter

Two people were shot dead in the past decade by people who had a New Zealand firearms licence despite having been convicted of crimes in Australia.

Police present firearms at the Select Committee for the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill. Photo: RNZ / Ana Tovey

Figures from police records obtained by RNZ under the Official Information Act showed at least 639 people with criminal convictions in Australia were granted firearms licences here.

Of those, 37 went on to commit firearms crimes, including two homicides.

Police said those applicants may not have declared the conviction - or if they did, it was considered insufficient reason to decline the licence.

They weren't willing to be interviewed, but in a statement, acting superintendent Mike McIlraith - the officer in charge of the Arms Act service delivery group - said convictions would have been taken into account by the vettor and arms officer as part of the vetting process.

He said the convictions were often minor "and/or may have happened some years ago", and the licences would have been granted because those people would still have been considered fit and proper people to hold firearms licences.

Vettors do not routinely check Australian conviction records - they can request information from overseas officials as part of the process but it is only undertaken if seen as required.

Police do however have an information sharing agreement with Australia regarding New Zealanders who have been deported.

Mr McIlraith said there were proper processes in place to check if a person was fit and proper.

"This process includes interviewing the applicant and a family referee, usually the spouse as well as an interview with an [independent] person who knows the applicant well," he said, and that was backed up by vetting records.

However, Police Association President Chris Cahill said there was no way for police to get information about previous convictions in some countries, and their reference checking and 'fit and proper person' testing needed to be stronger to bridge the gap.

"While we may have appropriate data sharing relations with some countries, with others we don't, so we have no way of checking if they had previous convictions."

He was also concerned about tourists applying for visitors' firearms licences, which depended on them having a firearms licence in a different country, saying it was impossible to ensure the standards upheld overseas matched New Zealand's.

Police Minister Stuart Nash also would not comment on the matter, saying his focus was currently on the gun buyback scheme.

The government is looking at tightening the rules for firearms licensing, police vetting, and the requirements to be a 'fit and proper' person in the next Arms Amendment Bill.

Further details about the new bill are expected to be released this month.

Gun Control NZ's Nik Green suggested people applying for a license could, like teachers, be required to supply police records from all the countries they had lived in for more than 12 months.

He said there may well be circumstances where a previous conviction did not disqualify someone from getting a license, but it was hard to think what that might be.

"We'd certainly want to see a very high bar applied for that."


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Media Collusion With National’s Attack Lines

For most of the past week, any consumer of this country’s management of Covid-19 would think New Zealand was actually Brazil, or Texas. The media language has been full of claims of “botches” at the border, and laxness and inexcusable errors ... More>>

Gregor Thompson: Don’t Be Too Pessimistic About New Zealand’s Future.

With the first hurdle hopped our Government will be turning its attention to trying to soften the economic damage this pandemic has on our little archipelago. More>>

Eric Zuesse: U.S. Empire: Biden And Kerry Gave Orders To Ukraine’s President

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at Strategic Culture On May 19th, an implicit international political warning was issued, but it wasn’t issued between countries; it was issued between allied versus opposed factions within each of two countries: U.S. and Ukraine. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Budget Cockups In The Time Of Coronavirus: Reporting Errors And Australia’s JobKeeper Scheme

Hell has, in its raging fires, ringside seats for those who like their spreadsheets. The seating, already peopled by those from human resources, white collar criminals and accountants, becomes toastier for those who make errors with those spreadsheets. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face

Be wary what you protest about. The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club. Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Welcome Deaths: Coronavirus And The Open Plan Office

For anybody familiar with that gruesome manifestation of the modern work place, namely the open plan office, the advent of coronavirus might be something of a relief. The prospects for infection in such spaces is simply too great. You are at risk from ... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Why Thinking Makes It So: Donald Trump’s Obamagate Fixation

The “gate” suffix has been wearing thin since the break-in scandal that gave it its birth. Since Watergate, virtually anything dubious and suggestive, and much more besides, is suffixed. Which brings us to the issue of President Donald Trump’s ... More>>



Binoy Kampmark: Brutal Choices: Anders Tegnell And Sweden’s Herd Immunity Goal

If the title of epidemiological czar were to be created, its first occupant would have to be Sweden’s Anders Tegnell. He has held sway in the face of sceptics and concern that his “herd immunity” approach to COVID-19 is a dangerous, and breathtakingly ... More>>