A District Arm Officer in New Zealand has called for a renewal of the gun registry, which was terminated in 1983.
The district arms officer says without firearms being registered in New Zealand there is no real control over them.
Paul McLennan, who has been in the role 27 years, said registration of individual firearms – scrapped in New Zealand in 1983 – once kept holders of firearm licences accountable and responsible for their weapons. It also helped identify stolen firearms.
Today, firearms are not registered and there is no restriction on how many firearms a licence holder can own.
“If we had a registration system we could have firearms licence holders accountable for their firearms,” said Mr McLennan.
This after a raid by the Tauranga Armed Offenders Squad (which appears similar to the US SWAT teams and the Canadian ERT or Emergency Response Teams).
On Thursday morning, the Tauranga armed offenders squad raided a Pyes Pa home where they found 18 firearms or pistols and 2000 rounds of ammunition. The hoard allegedly belonged to David Bryan, 48, who is expected to appear in Tauranga District Court on Monday for a bail application.
Bryan does not hold a firearms licence.
Among the cache found at Bryan’s home were two military-style semi-automatic (MSSA) weapons.
The guns require a special endorsement on a firearms licence, brought in after David Gray killed 13 people in Aramoana in 1990.
Which rather makes his point moot.
The person raided wasn’t licenced to own firearms to begin with so it would be a bit silly to expect him to have them registered. Actually more than a bit silly.
There was no mention in the article as to why the individual was raided – although I can only assume that the police had probably been informed that he had unauthorized ownership of firearms. Was he a threat to his neighbours or the public? Did he have a criminal background and would have been denied a licence if he had applied? Or was he just missing the paperwork that would change his status from “honest citizen” to “dangerous criminal”.
It all comes back to the fact that by their very nature, police want as much control over the citizenry as possible. They need to have everything in black and white because it makes their job much easier. And unfortunately, whenever the political need seems to warrant it, governments seem to be more than agreeable to further expand police authority over various sections of the public.
Historically we have seen the end result of this in oligarchies such as the Soviet Union and the Shah’s Iraq to name just a couple, but in democratic nations the tendency toward the extreme is at least blunted by public reaction.
That is a positive, but we should never lose track of the fact that the tendency to control is alive and well.
On a final note:
A firearms licence can only be held for 10 years, with licence holders contacted by police when their licence expires.
However, Mr McLennan said one of the biggest problems in firearms licensing was people not notifying police when they changed their address.
The Government scrapped lifetime firearm licences in 1992.
Ten years later nearly 50,000 people failed to respond to a campaign appealing for lifetime gun licence holders to renew or surrender their weapons.
A pretty frightening scenario. It appears that in 2002 New Zealand generated 50,000 new and dangerous criminals. I’m surprised that the country has survived.