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Police Need To Front Up To Gun Owners

Posted on 22 Jul 2009

Recent moves by police to reclassify thumb - holes on rifle stocks as 'free - standing pistol grips' will have expensive and far - reaching consequences for gun owners, ACT New Zealand Law & Order Spokesman David Garrett said today.

"By introducing a wholesale change to the regulation, large numbers of legitimate gun owners will be left having to either re - licence and invest heavily in even more robust security, or selling their weapons on a devalued market," Mr Garrett said.

"These guns have been bought and sold legally over the years under the current rules. Given the expensive consequences police must proactively front up and explain why these changes have been implemented, what they hope to achieve, and what alternatives were considered and discarded.

"Police must also explain whether they have considered the impact of this law in driving even more weapons underground into the illegal gun market. The issue of illegal gun ownership warrants serious consideration and the question must be asked: will this move make things better or worse?

"Homicide, suicide and non - intentional death by firearms have reduced steadily over several decades. Why are police moving now to impose extra costs on legitimate gun owners - especially as only around one percent of violent crime involves a firearm and, in the vast majority of cases, those are illegally obtained?

"Looking forward, the police’s proposed information campaign is a good idea. The sooner they front up and inform legitimate gun owners with substantial and sensible answers to these questions, the better," Mr Garrett said.


Mr Garrett missed must of

Mr Garrett missed must of the point which is that ppolice don't have the right to rewrite law and thats what this is. "Military pattern free standing pistol grip" as written has a specific opjective legal meaning how can the police just say it mean somthing else becouse they want it to.

He hasn't said anything about it being chanllanged in court, and the fact that prior case law (a rangiora man in the early 90's) means that they should lose (providing are legal system is worth anything). Wasting public money that would have other wise been used to make the public safer.

Thank You David Garrett for

Thank You David Garrett for revealing this use of Police Policy to re-interpret definitions in the Arms Act.
The Law has not changed, the regulations have not changed but the Police are attempting to use Policy change to give the appearance and function of Law change - without reference to Parliament.

They claim that the meaning of the words used for 16 years is 'incorrect' and that they have had an epiphany and now use the 'correct' interpretation. A past Commissioner was brought to task for refusing to use his discretionary powers and imposing blanket Policy - the High Court jugded his decision in that instance: "Ultra Vires and Invalid" Yet here is a very similar imposition of blanket policy change - now knowingly done with previous warnings from the High Court apparently being held in contempt.

All this coupled with a rumoured (yet to be made public) $2 million advertising campaign and the waiving of the fee ($200) for the Licence endorsement now they say is required by betwwen 10,000 and 100,000 already fit & proper Licence holders - a further implementation 'cost' of between $2 and $20 million that will have to be absorbed by the present Police budget.

The Police Policy change has already resulted in one Judicial Review being undertaken at the High Court in Palmerston North and another in the perliminary stages. Those fit & proper people who have had to reluctantly taken this course of action are determined to appeal to the Supreme Court if necessary.

The appelants believe that Justice Tipping J. meant his message to the Police during the previous case (PSI v Commissioner of Police) :
Mister Pike, I charge you to take this message to the Commissioner - In this country Parliament makes the Laws, I interpret the Law ... and the Commissioner merely administers them!

Allowing the Police to 're-interpret' or 're-classify' meanings and words in the Law becomes a very slippery slope - at the bottom of which may well lurk a police state.

The big question is: Who makes the Laws in this country - the Police ... or Parliament?

am interested to hear more

am interested to hear more about this appeal to the courts.

do you have more info Anon?

More info

More info here:

CIV 2009-454-473 Lincoln v The New Zealand Police

Another interesting snippet

Another interesting snippet - from inside the Citadel ....

"ARMS CONTROL STRATEGIES. Debunking the myths”
Inspector Joe Green. New Zealand Police. 2008.

It is a Power point presentation which has speech notes.
(Speech notes are not shown on PowerPoint slides)

Here are Inspector Joe Green’s first comments in his speech notes:-

"Despite the complexity of firearm control some advocates, including operational police staff are attracted to and promote a range of mechanisms that include the universal registration of firearms, the banning of possession of certain categories of firearms, the deactivation of firearms, buybacks, centralised armouries and the increase in penalties for the illegal possession and use of firearms. In what follows I argue that a research based approach suggests these approaches to arms control to be less than effective. I suggest that pistols, military style semi automatics and restricted weapons, often the focus of attention do not in themselves present a special risk to the wider community.

I argue that the longstanding downward trend lines for the use of firearms as a means of suicide and as the mechanism for homicide means that this trend line could not be attributed to strategies introduced in New Zealand in 1992, and in Canada and Australia in the mid to late 1990s. I suggest that, with the exception of the loosely common strategies of licensing of individuals to possess firearms and the requirement to secure firearms the contributing factors to these trend lines lie elsewhere.

These lead me to conclude that the illegal use of firearms is a complex problem requiring social and economic solutions (UK Home Office, 2006) that are intertwined with security, developmental and human rights preconditions (Secretary General, UN, 2008)..." ... rearms.ppt

Great to see David Garrett

Great to see David Garrett and ACT asking the hard questions of Police and demanding an answer as to how & why almost 20 years of functional legislation can essentially be repealed by Police with the stroke of a pen when they are not empowered to change legislation merely administer it.

I'd like to see this issue raised in Parliament and questions asked in the House for further debate as to how Police can achieve this with no consultation of the major political parties or with the NZ public at all.

There has been no attempt to show due process and the Police are making decisions well above their pay grade.
Furthermore, what checks and balances are in place to ensure such an abuse of power does not happen again in the future?

The one previous example of such an abuse of power was famously corrected by Justice Tipping J. in the High Court in PSI v Commissioner of Police 1991 where he said " In this country Parliament makes the Laws, I interpret the Law ... and the Commissioner merely administers them!

Let's hope the same level headed decision making prevails again and the rule of law is unmolested.

A very strong message

A very strong message reported from the High Court in Plamerston North at the hearing for an Interim Injunction:

"Justice Mackenzie said that in his view the Police reinterpretation of the Arms Act is irrelevant and meaningless, that the Police had no statutory power to make a binding interpretation and that any such interpretation was inconsequential.."

The subsequent Judicial Review will be watched with great interest .....

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