“The delays in processing firearms licences have become so bad that the safety of New Zealanders is now being put at risk,” says ACT’s Firearms Law Reform spokesperson Nicole McKee
“ACT has revealed through Parliamentary Written Questions that almost 9000 people are waiting more than a month for their licence to be processed, 2200 more than 12 months and 283 people have waited two years.
“This is a result of the rushed firearms laws creating more administration. People who have previously been proved to be fit and proper firearms holders are having to move their firearms off their property while they wait months for their licences to be renewed.
“If someone seeking a renewal and it isn’t renewed in time, they have to remove their firearms from their property and find somewhere else to keep them. This has led to people driving their firearms to other locations when they would have otherwise been safely locked away in their already Police approved secure safes.
“I’ve heard of firearms owners in Level 4 lockdown whose licences weren’t renewed in time, desperately looking for a place to store their firearms, only to find their trusted friend who they might have stored them with is also waiting for their licence to be renewed.
“Law abiding firearms holders in New Zealand have had to put up with a lot under this Government. They’ve been vilified by many and have handed in firearms that they only ever used responsibly.
“After our nation’s tragedy in Christchurch, we needed to get better at vetting, now the system is more broken than ever.
“ACT’s solution is to extend the time available for people to renew their licences. If the Police can’t keep up with demand, then some common sense should be used. I have written to the COVID Response Minister and the Police Minister asking for an extension to be given.
“It simply doesn’t make sense for people who have always been considered fit and proper to have to move their firearms or be made a criminal holding on to them illegally because the Police can’t keep up.”
The answers to our Written Parliamentary Questions can be found below: