INDEPENDENT NEWS

Northland Police Have Firearm Concerns

Published: Tue 28 Feb 2012 10:16 AM
Northland Police are concerned about the number of people with firearms who are not complying with the law.
Operations Manager Inspector Murray Hodson says Police have become increasingly concerned about people who fail to secure their firearms properly or notify Police if they change their address.
He says there have been some people who have been involved in offending or serious incidents involving firearms.
From late this year the Northland Police District Firearms Office will be contacting about 15,000 people regarding firearms licence renewal or any other action they need to take regarding their licences.
This will be an ongoing operation to ensure that all firearms licence holders comply with the legislation.
Mr Hodson points out that it is an offence for someone to fail to notify a change of address within 30 days of moving and the penalty for this is $500.
"Police operate a zero tolerance policy in respect of offending under the Arms Act and the time is getting nigh where people will be prosecuted."
Firearms licence holders can notify a change of address by contacting their local Police station or by email to northlandfirearms@police.govt.nz with details of their full names, residential and postal addresses, all contact numbers, email address and firearms licence number.
Mr Hodson says Police have recently seized several firearms and ammunition that have been found lying insecure and loaded.
"In many cases these firearms have been found where children reside. Although it is not currently an offence, it is a condition of the licence that all firearms (even air rifles, pistols and ammunition) are securely locked away when not in use to prevent access by children and prevent theft."
Mr Hodson says Police have and will take action in these incidents and will look at revoking a firearms licence of people involved in these incidents.
He urges licence holders to contact an arms dealer for advice if they are not sure about their security arrangements.
Every month the District Arms Office receives reports regarding people who have been apprehended by Police for criminal or traffic offences and who have a current firearms licence.
If the offending is considered serious then a Notice of Consideration to Revoke the licence is served on the offender, who must surrender the licence and firearms until the review is completed.
If the offending is not considered serious then the person is given a written warning.
Mr Hodson says all licence holders need "fit and proper" criteria to keep their licence. However, if these criteria are called into question then Police have powers under the Arms Act to take firm action.
"As citizens of this country we all want to live in safe communities and by ensuring that firearms owners "toe the line" in accordance with the law, we all benefit."
Mr Hodson reminds people that Police operate an ongoing arms amnesty, which allows those in unlawful possession of firearms, ammunition, explosives or other weapons to dispose of them through the Police or a bona fide arms dealer without prosecution.
The amnesty does not cover anyone who illegally possesses firearms for criminal or other unlawful behaviour.
ends

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