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Police Must Come Clean On Gang Access To Firearms

The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) says Police are not giving the whole story behind their claims that licenced firearms owners are the source of firearms for violent criminal gangs.

The claim was made this morning by Detective Superintendent Greg Williams on Radio New Zealand.

COLFO Chairman, Michael Dowling, says that his members are getting fed up with Police impugning properly vetted licenced firearm owners.

“They constantly infer it’s a large number of firearm owners, when in fact it’s most likely to be existing gang affiliates that the Police themselves mistakenly gave firearm licences in recent years.

“Gang affiliates are not fit and proper people and thorough assessment required of the Police by law would have uncovered this. These people should not have been given a licence and should not retain it when they are checked on.

“This problem lies at the door of the Police: they created it, and it is they who can fix it by vetting new applicants and existing owners thoroughly.

“Instead Police continue to vilify and in some cases persecute, ordinary law-abiding hunters, sports shooters and enthusiasts. These New Zealanders never posed a safety risk, and handed over banned firearms despite the poor compensation in some cases last year.”

Mr Dowling noted there are reports that poor vetting practice enabled the Christchurch mosque shooter to get a firearms licence, this will also be behind the Police giving licences to gang affiliates.

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