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Submission to Royal Commission

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12 September 2019 COLFO Media Release

Police procedures allowed Tarrant gun licence and firearms

The Christchurch mosque attack might not have occurred had police had the resources to enforce firearms restrictions they control, according to the Council of Licensed Firearms Owners (COLFO).

In a submission earlier this week to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the shootings, COLFO said the alleged perpetrator was less likely to have been licenced under the process in place before 2015, and would not have had large capacity magazines if police had followed advice to restrict their sale.

COLFO Chair Michael Dowling said it was clear that the alleged perpetrator should never have been deemed a ‘fit and proper’ person to own the guns and large capacity magazines used in the attack.

“He was able to slip through gaps created by a system chronically stretched by poor resourcing and funding, as well as a lack of expertise and knowledge.”

It appeared that Australian citizen Brenton Tarrant obtained a licence to own the firearms used in the attacks despite factors that should have alerted police to his unsuitability.

“We don’t know the background checks into Tarrant, but we do know he had travelled to unusual locations internationally, was not a New Zealand resident for long and was not involved with firearms as a hobby.

“Despite this, Tarrant applied for, and received, his firearms licence in 2017.

“This raises serious concerns for vetting procedures and whether the 2010 police vetting guide was adhered to during Tarrant’s licencing process. We understand that his referees had never met him in person, nor did they include a family member.”

Mr Dowling said that while details of the licencing of Tarrant were murky, his ability to commit the alleged crimes would have been reduced had police made changes COLFO had earlier recommended to the existing E category endorsement.

“It was a change of interpretation in 2009 that encouraged more imports of ‘non-military’ AR15 rifles for A category licence owners, and for those same owners to buy large capacity magazines that turned them into much more powerful firearms.

“COLFO had urged previously that large magazines be restricted consistent with E category firearms. Our submissions on that and many other issues were dismissed by police.”

Mr Dowling said the horrific tragedy might have been avoided had police worked with the firearms community rather than against it.

“In recent years the police have not effectively administered the Arms Act. They have not listened to external advice from experts.

“This stubbornness, combined with reductions in budget for background vetting and firearms safety, had a part in this terrible tragedy.”

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8 COMMENTS

  1. I agree that the police are not the right authority to be administering the Arms Act. But the fact is that they have been doing the job for years and have a duty to do it properly. That they failed so lamentably in the lase of Tarrant is a matter of the greatest concern but the current Prime Minister is also to blame because it was her cost saving measures which have so damaged the police’s ability to carry out the function properly.

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    • Do you think the RC will be allowed to hear any criticism of Cindy bin lying? Her actions in removing the face to face review of applicants is the sole reason for the shooting. Tarrant would never have got his license to buy guns.

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      • I am afraid that the RC may have been told what to report already and this is just a window dressing event to cover for the whitewash.
        In my personal submission, receipt of which has not yet been acknowledged, made some three weeks ago I finished by commenting:

        Since you will not be allowed to even comment on the abject failure of “multi-culturalism” in Europe (even after your no doubt expensive jaunt to Norway and Britain) which Cameron, Macron and Merkel all described as “a failure” before Merkel went insane in 2015 and opened the floodgates to violent third world followers of a totalitarian regime utterly incompatible with western civilization which New Zealand seems, under this despicable Prime Minister, to be keen to follow I will not waste my time on further comment but commend this article in Britain’s Daily Telegraph to the commission:
        https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1366463/Dunblane-gun-law-has-been-failure-says-marksman.html

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  2. I agree in principle. But that’s the law of the land and until that changes is their responsibility. They didn’t comply with procedure, they are responsible.

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  3. An Aussie national moves to NZ
    He travels to many dubious countries
    He obtains a firearms licence possibly without usual vetting procedures
    He is radicalised online (largely)
    He illegally modifies a rifle due to zero controls on parts allowing him to do so
    He commits a mass murder.

    The obvious solution is to ban the internet to stop radicalisation. Or perhaps ban foreign travel. Or maybe we should ban Australians. Maybe we should ban parts that enable people to modify A category rifles? Nah, those ideas are dumb, lets ban guns! Problem solved!

    I had an E category endorsement for using a rifle to shoot goats in establishing forestry. It is far too much of a danger to the general public for me to keep this rifle, which has a 30 round magazine and could potentially allow me to shoot 30 people. Obviously that must go, I mean I’ve only had a firearms licence for 35 years maybe I just have not got around to being evil yet. But I can still go down to the local fertilizer yard and buy 5000kg of Calcium Ammonium Nitrate, which is the main ingredient of Iraqi IEDs. I can still take a truckload of this stuff down to central Auckland or Wellington, or park it outside a music concert or a sports arena holding 50,000 people. But the country is safe now I can no longer keep my semi auto pest control rifle with its 30 round magazine.

    I’ve got a forestry chainsaw with a blade over 1m long. But no one would ever use it for evil in a space filled with people, so we’re all safe.

    I’ve got a cyanide licence for killing possums. I could buy a huge amount of cyanide and drop it in a civil water supply. What would that do? I don’t know, but hey the country is safe now my 30 round semi auto is banned.

    This is getting boring to write but I think I made my point. We’re all safe now because my gun is banned!

    Actually I do concede the goats eating my forests and native regeneration are safer.

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