29 January 2024

A licenced firearms dealer appeared in the Waitakere District Court last week charged with multiple offences including the unlawful selling of firearms and ammunition.

Following an investigation by Police, search warrants were executed at an Auckland home and a firearms retail business. The firearms dealer faces charges relating to dishonesty and to supplying firearms and ammunition to unlicenced persons. They also face charges relating to the unlawful possession of prohibited firearms and magazines.

Firearms Safety Authority Director of Operations, Superintendent Richard Wilson says there are a few bad apples who are diverting firearms to criminals and gangs.

“We see this as a significant source for how gangs obtain firearms. Over 70% of firearms seized by Police are rifles and shot guns that can be obtained by standard licence holders.

“This is another case of a firearms licence holder who has abused the privilege entrusted to them with a firearms licence to possess, and as a dealer to sell firearms.

“The dealer has (allegedly) knowingly sold firearms to individuals who are not lawfully able to possess them. This will become a lot harder over time with the new Firearms Registry, which doesn’t yet have dealer stock registered on it. This is why having a Registry is so critical to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and gangs.

“It will help Police reduce the flow of lawfully held firearms to the illegal market. When fully rolled out, it will allow Police to trace where criminals have obtained their firearms from.

“Prior to the Registry, a licence holder could sell their firearms to another licence holder but was not required to produce a record of who they sold the firearms to – meaning the firearm was untraceable. That has been a significant barrier for Police to be able to investigate and charge those individuals supplying criminals and gangs with guns. The Firearms Registry closes that loophole and ultimately will make the availability of firearms to the black market more difficult for criminals and gangs.”

In Waitematā court, 15 December 2023, another firearms licence holder was charged with the unlawful possession of over 35 firearms and ammunition in excess of 15,000 rounds for those firearms. 

“Having a firearms licence comes with the responsibility to act in the interests of public safety. Most licence holders are good law-abiding people who won’t ever draw Police attention.

“However, diversion of firearms will remain an ongoing focus for Police, as there continues to be demand from criminals to source firearms that they can’t get because they aren’t licenced. 

Wilson says, “Our focus therefore is on those people and business in our community that are intent on breaking the law to supply those firearms knowing full well who they are going to and the significant harm that can be caused in our communities when these firearms are used to intimidate hurt and sometimes kill people in our community. Sadly, we’ve seen a lot can happen in a firearms licence holders life which may mean they turn to diversion.

“The reason behind diversion is often due to pressure on the individual. It could be financial, drug related, or maybe they’re being pressured by family or associates.

“It’s Police’s job, with the support of the Firearms Registry, to make sure this doesn’t happen and put our community safety at risk.

“The Firearms Registry is part of a wider system that works alongside Police’s criminal response to target organised crime groups to together make it harder for criminals to source and use firearms.”


Issued by Police Media Centre


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