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New Government Will Be Held Responsible For Registry Success

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

Wednesday, 9 August 2023, 3:48 pm

COLFO says a survey by Gun Control NZ shows 2.8 million people will be furious when their support for a firearm registry proves to have been misplaced, as it was for the 2019 firearm confiscation.

COLFO spokesperson Hugh Devereux-Mack says whatever form the new Government takes, it will be responsible for the firearm registry introduced by the current Labour Government.

“The success or failure of the registry at reducing gang shootings will be determined during the next Government, as will public patience for firearms laws that target good people instead of the bad.”

“If a new Government led by National and ACT keeps the registry, they will inevitably let down roughly 2.8m people who have believed political rhetoric that it will make New Zealanders safer.

“The failure to reduce gun violence, at such a high cost, and with constant risk of data breaches, will come home to roost not only on the people who conceived and supported the idea, but those who lacked the courage to stop it.

“It is ludicrous that so soon after the promise and failure of the buyback to make New Zealanders safer, we are repeating the same mistake.”

A Gun Control NZ survey at the time of the semi-automatic ban and gun buyback scheme in 2019 showed showed eerily similar results, with 71% of people supporting the policies.

The policies have not made New Zealanders safer as was claimed. Alarming firearm incidents continue in public. New Zealanders don’t feel safer either - a survey by the NZ Herald in June showed that two thirds of Kiwis are more concerned about being a victim of crime than they were five years ago. The recent survey from Gun Control NZ showed that 71% of people support the firearm registry. However, only half (53%) of people said banning semi-automatics and introducing the registry has made them feel safer.

Devereux-Mack says public support does not mean a law will be successful at making Kiwis safer.

“People will always support things they think might help, but whether they actually feel safer is entirely different. Time has shown the buyback made no difference to the safety of New Zealanders. The programme was a failure, with cost blowouts and gang members still shooting each other in the street.

“The Gun Control survey is actually measuring public desperation for real action against gangs and criminals.

“This must be the last time such hyped and horrendously mistargeted policies are tried. When the registry fails, it will prove once and for all that more laws for licensed firearm owners is not the solution to gun crime.”

Note to the editor: If Police claim to you that licensed firearm owners are the main source of firearms for criminals, they must provide the evidence to support it.

Police have stated that the registry is needed because the majority of firearms held by criminals are intentionally diverted by licensed firearm owners (also known as straw purchasing). According to available data, this is not true. Police have not supplied any new evidence to support the claim.

COLFO recently asked the Police for information on the number of seized firearms that have been traced to licensed firearm owners, after Police Association President Chris Cahill also claimed criminals sourced most of their firearms from licensed owners. Police said the request could not be fulfilled because they do not collect the data. Therefore, the Police do not have data to support what they are telling journalists. COLFO has complained to the Ombudsman.

Historic material provided by Police in response to OIA requests shows that only one effort has been made to track the source of firearms seized from criminals. That was a study of seized firearms from a 6-month period in 2015, which found only 10% came from licensed owners either through burglary (4%) or sourced from individuals illegally (6%).

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