Please don’t hand in your guns…yet

The New Zealand police have made an astonishing request. They have asked the gun owning public to delay handing in their guns. Their request is clearly an acknowledgement that right now, guns are safer in the hands of their current owners than in the custody of the police.

This is not surprising given the recent theft from the Palmerston North Police headquarters of not one but eleven guns by a single individual.

I really respect our New Zealand police but honestly what happened is a complete joke. It is almost as good as the one about the guy who stole all the toilet seats in the police station and now the police have nothing to go on. Or what about the one about the thief who stole an entire outhouse leaving nothing but a hole in the ground and police are looking into it.

In this real news story, it seems that the police have an “open door” policy when it comes to accessing confiscated firearms.

Police are asking the public not to hand in their guns after revelations the theft of 11 weapons in Palmerston North came after a station door was left open by police staff. Quote.

Deputy Police Commissioner Mike Clement told the AM Show that Alan James Harris, who has been arrested and charged with burglary, allegedly beat down the door to the armoury after freely entering the station through an open roller door at the rear of the building.

“It’s unacceptable by any standard, especially our own. Regrettably, an external secure door that should have been secure was left open,” Clement said.
“There was an alarmed and secured internal door and he was able to break that down and get inside that storeroom and access the firearms.”
Clement said that staff were preoccupied with Anzac Day dawn services and the mistake was simply human error.

[…] Bush said that this theft was exacerbated by the fact that members of the public have been handing in guns that have now been deemed illegal by new Government legislation.
[…] police are yet to announce how these firearms will be collected and destroyed and Clement is urging people to keep hold of their guns for now.
“We’ve said right from the outset, since the announcement of the legislation changes, just hold your firearms at your own secure locations while we work through a process to identify a safe way for them to be forfeited.

“Handing them into police stations is one of the least preferred options with regard to how we want to take them back.” End of quote.

I actually feel for the police in this case because they have been forced into a situation that they are not yet ready to cope with. They clearly don’t have the massive gun safes that will be required to securely store all the thousands of guns that they will be expected to confiscate. Legal gun owners are not allowed to store guns in a storeroom, they have to be in a gun safe yet storerooms are (at least in this case) all that the police appear to have access to. Quote.

Police Minister Stuart Nash responded to the incident last week by saying he had “grave concerns” and claimed that the Government had “sought assurances that strong systems and processes were in place to handle surrendered firearms”.
“Police told me they were confident they could manage the collection of these firearms. I have now sought fresh assurances from the Commissioner that all stations and firearms handling processes are secure and fit for purpose.”
But National Party police spokesperson Chris Bishop said the public should be concerned about the incident and that Nash has serious questions to answer.
“I just think it is very strange that the Police Minister didn’t make sure that the police could actually take these weapons before he went around the country and told people to start handing them in,” he told Newshub.
“The police ensured the Parliamentary select committee that they could do it, the Police Minister ensured the public that everything would be fine, and now, of course, we find that it is not”

[…] Anyone who finds themselves in possession of an illegal firearm has been asked to notify New Zealand police via its official website and wait for further instructions. End of quote.