7 August 2018

On 1 July Police implemented a new firearms safety programme that requires first time firearms licence applicants to undergo a theory test and practical training. This differs from the past system that only required attendance at a lecture and passing of a theory test. Firearms theory tests are administered using the NZTA driver licensing testing system and can be undertaken at most AA and VTNZ branches across the country.

First experiences
In the first four weeks of July 119 theory tests were undertaken with 90 people passing (75.7 percent) and 24.3 percent failing the test. Those who failed are able to attempt the test again after a 30 day period, while those who pass are able to progress to the practical training. Practical training sessions are progressively becoming available across the country during August and September, with the first courses in Christchurch, Te Puke, and Whangarei last weekend (Saturday 4 August). For the last weekend’s course 22 people were booked to attend, 21 attended and 20 completed the course; the one who didn’t complete the course left part way through due to a family emergency.

Numbers of theory tests undertaken during July are very low compared to the approximately 800 that would normally be expected. This low number is most likely attributable to the high numbers of theory tests completed under the old system during June. An example of this is a Hawke’s Bay course in late June that normally has 20 in the session had 140 attend. In the coming months, Police will continue to embed the new programme. This will include developing a rural community comprehensive course option for some areas that will see the theory test and practical training being delivered in the one session.


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