Reason # 65782 why the NZ Police should no longer be in charge of administering the Arms Act

It has been revealed that 639 people with criminal convictions in Australia were granted New Zealand firearms licences. Additionally, in the past ten years, two people were shot dead by people who had Australian convictions but who had still been able to legally obtain a firearms licence.

Figures from police records obtained […] under the Official Information Act showed at least 639 people with criminal convictions in Australia were granted firearms licences here.
Of those, 37 went on to commit firearms crimes, including two homicides.
Police said those applicants may not have declared the conviction – or if they did, it was considered insufficient reason to decline the licence.
[…] Mike McIlraith – the officer in charge of the Arms Act service delivery group – said convictions would have been taken into account by the vettor and arms officer as part of the vetting process.


He said the convictions were often minor “and/or may have happened some years ago”, and the licences would have been granted because those people would still have been considered fit and proper people to hold firearms licences.

Vettors do not routinely check Australian conviction records – they can request information from overseas officials as part of the process but it is only undertaken if seen as required.
Police do however have an information sharing agreement with Australia regarding New Zealanders who have been deported.
Mr McIlraith said there were proper processes in place to check if a person was fit and proper.
“This process includes interviewing the applicant and a family referee, usually the spouse as well as an interview with an [independent] person who knows the applicant well,” he said, and that was backed up by vetting records.
However, Police Association President Chris Cahill said there was no way for police to get information about previous convictions in some countries


[…] He was also concerned about tourists applying for visitors’ firearms licences, which depended on them having a firearms licence in a different country, saying it was impossible to ensure the standards upheld overseas matched New Zealand’s.

RNZ
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