Firearms unit should be independent of Police

The Government should make good on its promise and make the new firearms unit announced today independent of Police, says National’s Police spokesperson Simeon Brown.

“The firearms community was promised that this new unit would be independent from Police, but the Government has reneged.

“Even as recently as July, I received assurances from the Minister of Police in response to written questions that the Government was committed to an Independent Firearms Authority. The Police Minister must explain why she has backed down on this promise.

“Police have shown in recent years that they are not the right agency to be issuing firearms licences, administering the Arms Act and enforcing the law. We have seen this through the significant delays to firearms licence applications and the lack of resourcing being put into processing firearms licences. The average processing time for standard firearms licences granted in the past 12 months was 322 days for first-time applicants and 179 days for renewal applicants.

“There are 237,087 firearms licence-holders and 398 licensed dealers in New Zealand who deserve better than this and will be feeling let down by a Police Minister who is out of her depth and removed from the reality of both frontline Police officers and the firearms community.

“National is committed to a truly Independent Firearms Authority which frees up our Police to focus on enforcing the law, cracking down on gangs and taking illegal guns off our streets.”

You can find answers to Written Parliamentary Questions below:

Reply 27386 (2021) has been answered
Portfolio: Police (Hon Poto Williams)
Question: Is the Government committed to introducing an Independent Firearm Authority, and if so what progress is being made towards this?
Reply: Yes.

Reply 46220 (2021) has been answered
Portfolio: Police (Hon Poto Williams)
Question: What is the average timeframe, if any, for firearm licences to be approved in past 12 months broken down by new licence and renewal?
Reply: I am advised that of the licences granted in the last 12 months (9 October 2020 to 8 October 2021), the average processing time for standard firearms licences that were granted was 322 days for first time applicants and 179 days for renewal applicants.