Vital Firearm Licensing Answers Expected
Firearm owners targeted by last year’s law changes expect the Royal Commission’s report into the Christchurch Mosque shootings will deliver answers on a vital matter avoided by the Police and Government for nearly two years; how Tarrant got his licence despite signs that he could not meet the “fit and proper” test.
COLFO Chairman Michael Dowling says members were surprised that Tarrant had a firearm licence.
“As soon as our members learned of Tarrant’s background, they asked how a recently arrived lone Australian could get a licence. They wanted to know how Tarrant’s application was handled, given that Police were supposed to interview character referees who had known him for at least three years.”
Dowling says COLFO members had objected over the past five years to undermining of the “fit and proper” licensing system by budget cuts and management changes.
“Instead of admitting the management shortfalls, the Government and Police tried to pin responsibility for Tarrant’s murders on responsible firearm owners and the licensing system.
“If the Royal Commission confirms that Police failures precipitated this tragedy, their extraordinary powers under the Arms Act should be removed immediately.
“New Zealand needs a body whose sole job it is to make firearms licencing work. We must take away the temptation for Police to divert funding and resources from that vital task,” Dowling says.