MINUTES : Firearms Community Advisory Forum
SUBJECT Firearms Community Advisory Forum
DATE Wednesday 16 August 2017
TIME 0930 – 1230
VENUE Upper Hutt Police Station, 863 Fergusson Drive, Upper Hutt
CATHERINE PETREY, GEOFF DUNN, ROB NGAMOKI, RAY VINE, KIRSTY MARSHALL, PAUL CLARK, HELEN MORGAN, NICOLE MCKEE, JOHN HERBERT, ANDREW EDGCOMBE, DEBBIE WAKKER, JOHN HOWAT, TRENT SMITH, PETER NOBLE, SANDRA LOW, PAUL GATLAND, MIKE MCILRAITH, ADAM SMITH, BILL O’LEARY, EWAN KELSALL, JOE GREEN
RACHAEL DEAN, MIKE DAISLEY, TREVOR PULLEN
Item 1 – Welcome and introduction and Safety and Evacuation Procedure
The Chair welcomed the Forum’s members. Everyone was advised of safety procedures, evacuation protocol and restated Chatham House Rules to support the free flow of comment.
A one page document was handed out for everyone containing the Chatham House Rules; the expectation that any member who has a legal challenge against Police will leave the room when that subject is discussed; and applying confidentiality to some information shared in the Forum meetings.
The Chair offered to members some statistics on firearm seizures that had been released under an OIA request.
A round table introduction sessions was undertaken due to new faces at the table.
Item 2 – Confirm previous Minutes and Update Action Points
PREVIOUS MINUTES: confirmed
ACTIONS FROM APRIL MEETING
POLICE TO PROVIDE THE FORUM WITH MORE DETAILED INFORMATION ON THE TYPES OF RESTRICTED FIREARMS SEIZED BY THE POLICE, NOTING THAT THIS INFORMATION WOULD BE LIMITED TO WHAT IS KNOWN AT THE WELLINGTON ARMOURY AND WOULD NOT PROVIDE A COMPREHENSIVE NATIONAL PICTURE OF RESTRICTED FIREARMS SEIZED
COMPLETED AT 16 AUGUST MEETING
AGREE THAT 7 DECEMBER 2017 BE AN ALL-DAY FCAF MEETING
*POLICE TO PROVIDE GREATER TRANSPARENCY OF VISITOR PERMIT PROCESS, AND WILL NOTE FLAGGED ISSUES.
A SUBCOMMITTEE TO WORKSHOP THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE INQUIRY INTO ISSUES RELATING TO THE
* There was a question in relation to visitors wanting to use E Category firearms in New Zealand. It was conveyed that a directive has been given to look at a workable solution. An FCAF member stated they will provide a high level summary with security measures and options.
Action Point: Report back on progress of visitors permits by Police
Item 3 – Arms Trade Treaty update
Police and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT) have completed the second Annual Report on exports and imports of firearms in accordance with the ATT. This can be found on the MFAT website. It was noted that there is work to be done around Police collection of import figures, a work in progress.
The Brokering (Weapons and Related Items) Controls Bill has started the parliamentary process – it had its first reading in the House on the 15th August and was referred to Select Committee. It will now be after 23rd September 2017 Election before anything further is done and it is some way off becoming an Act. A question was asked about goods that are transhipped? The answer was that this was not brokering and was covered by NZ law on importing and exporting.
Item 4– Subcommittee firearms storage
The first meeting has been held and minutes were being circulated to subcommittee members (to date not all members had had the opportunity to review them). The next meeting is to be 15 September 2017.
Many ideas and issues had been discussed at the first meeting including having an easier document with tidier categories, requirements for E Category safes and best handling and issues around those whose safes had been approved in the past and which were not considered adequate now. There was mention that there was ‘noise’ around couriering of firearms, carriage on ferries and in campervans. The subcommittee will look at security in these situations also.
A question was asked, should the number of firearms someone has make a difference to the level of security needed to match the level of risk? It was mentioned that Arms Officers have difficulty with measuring thickness and are inconsistent in application of ‘rules’; this requires an easy guide for them to ensure the same standards are applied across New Zealand. Further discussion was had around thickness <6mm vs >6mm. It was suggested that the measure should be based on the product and not only on the thickness. It was asked that if an angle grinder was used to cut them could we work out some measurements to make it much harder or would this just be based on what people felt to be the case?
It was asked if there were figures on the number of safes not approved now that were in the past. There are no figures on this.
ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS. TO TAKE PLACE ON 3 MAY
FIREARMS SAFETY COUNCIL OF AOTEAROA FOLLOW UP OF MEMBERSHIP
REPRESENTATIVES’ ATTENDANCE AT FORUM INVOLVED IN LITIGATION WITH POLICE: RULES GOVERNING THIS
AGREED AND COMPLETED
SUBCOMMITTEE ON FIREARMS STORAGE TO MEET
FIRST MEETING COMPLETED SECOND MEETING 15 SEPTEMBER 2
Firearm security is always going to be about stopping the opportunistic thief; someone who is ‘targeting’ firearms will have established best times to ‘hit’ and if intent on thief will work out a method regardless. Best to be done in this case is to make it harder for them.
A member asked why vettors are in some cases rejecting previously approved safes when the policy around safes had not yet been finalised? In the interim – PNHQ will answer any questions regarding any confusion in the application of rules around safes. This may mean that the outcome changes but equally it may not. Police accepts that the application of standards needs clarity and consistency.
Action Point: Their needs to be identification of what safes are specifically causing the problems and how many. To be done by the Security Sub Committee.
Item 5 – Changed from Item 9: Police Armoury Statistics
A sample of statistics for seizures of firearms that were sent to the Police Armoury for examination purposes was circulated for review by members. Other Police seizure statistics cover a wider group of firearms seized with and without warrant and include seized and returned firearms, and those not needed to be examined (although not surrendered firearms).
A couple of case examples were discussed:
1. A case where 60 firearms had been purchased in the preceding 12 months and A category parts had been used to construct E Cat firearms. Police asked the supplier if they had become at all suspicious about the purchases, they said no.
2. Two undercover police officers posed as offering to purchase two fully automatic firearms. The person who was to sell them was charged, although has now got their licence back.
FCAF member noted that these type of people give the majority of ‘fit and proper’ people a bad name and cause restrictive rules for all.
Discussion took place on the frequency of Arms Officer visits to dealerships and clubs and that there are differences in each police district.
There was a discussion around Webley revolvers and post war family inherited firearms that used to be able to be bought without a licence. There are many in the community already and not everyone is likely to have handed these in when the rules changed.
Action Point: Police to put the options for surrendering ‘grey’ firearms on their website: these are either to hand in at a police station, but phone first or to a Dealer to pass onto Police.
There was a question asking if ‘pistols’ in Police armoury seizure statistics included sawn off firearms that are under 762mm. The Police response was that in all likelihood the firearms would be entered as sawn offs, not pistols. It was stated that there is an issue if ‘sawn offs are being classified as pistols.
MSSAs were also discussed. Police pointed out that A Cat firearms seized with high capacity mags were automatically MSSAs, although there are other MSSA features such as pistol grips, flash suppressor etc. Police reaffirmed that firearms are classified as they are seized.
Action Point: Can Police supply the figures for seizures of firearms without warrant under section 18 of the Search and Surveillance Act. Police.
Discussion was had that it is useful to look at the percentage of MSSAs seized compared to what is ‘out there’. Some committee members felt that MSSAs are under scrutiny at present due to high profile incidents (recent Whangarei homicide and Morrinsville shooting). Police confirmed they supplied data to Select Committee on previous years data. A question was asked regarding how many are smuggled over the border. Simple answer is it is impossible to know. Customs is happy to receive any information that will help target this type of smuggling. There is always potential, however, it is likely there would be more evidence of illegal importation if this was more prolific. The borders are also monitored by MPI (physical searches) and Police.
Shared a challenge: FCAF members were invited to consider a couple of examples of firearms that Police has concerns over. The question was should these be accepted? This was a positive opportunity to share knowledge and thoughts on firearms and for FCAF to see the issues police face.
Item 6 (was item 5) – Arms Act Service Delivery Group
The change of name for the group that includes a number of workstreams relating to the management of firearms-related issues is to emphasise that it is customer focused. It will include work toward a centralised permit hub and business improvements.
Item 7 – TradeMe
Police has been working with TradeMe to improve the process for establishing the licencing process of those purchasing firearms on TradeMe.
TradeMe has completed an update to advise that all persons wishing to ask a question, bid or purchase a firearm will be asked for the name and number on their firearms licence. This will be the subject of a query to Police to search on the Police database for confirmation that the information TradeMe has is correct. Only a Yes or No answer will be received so information (other than licence currency) will be withheld.
Police would like to see this taken up by other online sellers of firearms.
Item 7b – Social Media and Organisation View
Police will not comment on what is in social media as it is often unbalanced.
We will educate and inform people by putting more information on the Police website and encourage people to ask questions.
Item 8 – Opportunities for AGMs or Similar
Police has undertaken to attend AGMs of firearms organisations and similar if invited. Mike McIlraith will attend Pistol NZ AGM on 23 September 2017.
Item 9 dealt with as Item 5
Item 10 – MSSA Parts Importation
Police need to look at importation of parts from several perspectives.
Comment from a committee member was if I am a fit and proper person and I say I am importing parts for A Cat, should that not be trusted? If not this could be a subjectively based view on what ‘might’ happen. There is a lack of trust and it is very confusing. The firearms community needs
consistent and timely permitting, based on accepting the stated intention of fit and proper persons to sell parts they wish to import as A Cat parts.
Someone remembered a Police Legal Opinion (maybe 2005).
Action Point: Police to follow up whether there has been previous legal advice sought.
Police position is to look at each import application on its merits. There is an issue with not knowing how parts will be used (intention).
MSSA controls were about ensuring safety and that these firearms were in the hands of fit and proper people. A comment suggested that Police should have no involvement (in import of A Cat parts) and it was Customs that should be involved when the items come in. Further comment was that the market has changed significantly and so has technology.
High capacity magazines require no licence to purchase in NZ. This is significant when it comes to people assembling MSSAs and attempts have been made to try and control these. A committee member commented that they should be restricted.
Someone asked “why are we talking about permits for parts that do not require permits at the moment?” FCAF could come up with a solution. It could mean better education. There are currently three firearms manufacturers in NZ.
The onus should rest squarely with the firearms user to ensure they comply with the current law and get correct information.
A committee member stated that the continuous shift of police personnel makes consistency very difficult. This area needs someone who has in-depth knowledge and stays. Police commented that this is the reason there is investment in ASAC project, which will include career roles. The Police Executive have recognised this area needs investment. Looking at a centralised management Hub of vetting with validation through District Arms Officers. Currently things look like they always have but the Police are looking at a number of potential changes. One possibility is that there could be graduated applicant tiers, with new licence applicants having greater scrutiny while current licence holders have a streamlined process when they renew their licence. The project is a huge undertaking and will likely take longer than we would all like. Police note that processes will work better when firearms users bring issues to Police attention. Such as when the licence number was visible in the clear view panel on the envelopes sent out. This was fixed on the same day it was brought to police attention. We will continue working together jointly to fix things.
Item 11 – Training Provider RFP
Police has extended the current training providers to 30 June 2018 in order to sort firearms training properly rather than rushing into a RFP. It was acknowledged that it is a complex area and personnel new to the role are doing their best to come up to speed and learn the ropes. Discussion and meetings are welcome.
Item 12 – Fish and Game New Zealand Membership on FCAF
Action Point: Police to correspond with FCAF members to seek feedback on membership.
Item 13 – Other Business
MSSA parts: It was noted that there has been no change in policy; but it is acknowledged that a change in process in some areas has occurred and that it was noted that an FCAF members was
disappointed that there was no prior consultation. It was pointed out that the police website had been updated in June with a media release on this issue. It was agreed that further consultation with FCAF members and Operations Group be undertaken.
Chamber safety devices: Agreed that Wellington District would provide tags to Whakatupato. Other Organisations can send their name to PNHQ and will be given the right to purchase the chamber safety devices (without having the cost of the mould) directly from the manufacturer.
2013 Arms Code re-write: Once this has been drafted it will be consulted with FCAF members and then a wider consultation process will be undertaken. Looking at getting a document out for consultation in October 2017.
Select Committee Inquiry into Illegal Possession of Firearms: With regard to the Committee recommendations and Government response, no further decisions will occur until after the election.
It was noted that the Armourer does not classify firearms on the request from public, these need to go through PNHQ.
Meeting Concluded 1250hrs.
ACTION POINTS AUGUST MEETING
REPORT BACK ON PROGRESS OF VISITORS PERMITS
IDENTIFICATION OF WHAT SAFES ARE SPECIFICALLY CAUSING A PROBLEM AND HOW MANY?
FCAF/POLICE SECURITY SUB COMMITTEE
PUT THE OPTIONS FOR SURRENDERING ‘GREY’ FIREARMS ON THE POLICE WEBSITE: EITHER TO POLICE STATION, BUT PHONE FIRST OR TO DEALER TO PASS ONTO POLICE.
POLICE SUPPLY THE FIGURES FOR SEIZURES OF FIREARMS WITHOUT WARRANT UNDER SECTION 18 OF THE SEARCH AND SURVEILLANCE ACT.
MSSA PARTS IMPORTATION LEGAL OPINION: POLICE TO FOLLOW UP IF THERE HAS BEEN PREVIOUS LEGAL ADVICE ON THIS.
CHAMBER SAFETY DEVICES: WELLINGTON DISTRICT TO DISTRIBUTE THESE TO WHAKATUPATO.
ORGANISATIONS WANTING TO PURCHASE CHAMBER SAFETY DEVICES ARE TO CONTACT POLICE AND POLICE WILL ADVISE THE MANUFACTURER THAT THOSE GROUPS CAN PURCHASE THE DEVICES DIRECTLY FROM THEM (COST OF TAGS ONLY)
FCAF TO CIRCULATE TO MEMBER ORGANISATIONS
POLICE TO CORRESPOND WITH FCAF MEMBERS TO SEEK FEEDBACK ON MEMBERSHIP
MINUTES : Firearms Community Advisory Forum SUBJECT Firearms Community Advisory Forum
DATE Wednesday 19 April 2017 TIME 0930 – 1230 VENUE Level 15 Conference Room 3 & 4 ATTENDEES CATHERINE PETREY, GEOFF DUNN, ROB NGAMOKI, CHRIS SCAHILL, JULIA PENNEY, RAY VINE, ALASTAIR (ROLY) WILLIAMS, CHRIS JAMIESON, RICHARD SMITH, KIRSTY MARSHALL, PAUL CLARK, HELEN MORGAN, NICOLE MCKEE, MIKE DAISLEY, JOHN HERBERT, TREVOR DYKE, ANDREW EDGCOMBE, DEBBIE WAKKER, JOHN HOWAT, RACHAEL DEAN, TRENT SMITH, PETER NOBLE APOLOGIES SANDRA KEENAN, PAUL GATLAND, MICHELLE PODMORE, DELL HIGGIE, NATHAN WATSON
Item 1 – Welcome and introduction The Chair welcomed the Forum’s members and advised them of safety procedures, evacuation protocol and restated Chatham House Rules to support the free flow of comment.
Item 2 – Confirm previous Minutes and Update Action Points The minutes from the previous meeting were confirmed.
1. Place Brokering – Arms Trade Treaty as a standing item on the agenda. Completed
2. Send Powerpoint from Poh Boey to all Forum members.
Completed. 3. Send out document on security of firearms to Forum members. Completed.
4. Forum members/Police to get information for the purchase of chamber safety tags. Completed.
5. Put link to Arms Officers on website in Minutes. Completed.
6. Police to look at adding the ability for a permit applicant to look up progress on not being able to find information and contacts. Completed.
7. Add permit statistics and relevant information to the Quarterly update. Still in progress. 8. Complete a draft Terms of Reference for the Security Subcommittee. Completed. 9. Measurement of the length of firearms issues to be looked at by Police and whether Crown Law advice necessary. Completed. 1
10. Put a link or document that outlines ‘what Police do’ currently in relation to the measurement of MSSAs and why. Completed.
11. Send the permit form link in Minutes. Completed.
12. Police to send information to Forum members covered in letter to Taylor. Completed.
13. Police to investigate the use of the term ‘Biographies’ by Arms Officers. Completed. There was some discussion on the last action point. It was noted that ‘Biographies’ is a term used by some Arms Officers relating to the requirement for detailed information in an application for importing a firearm for special reason from firearms dealers, importers and collectors. There have been a couple of instances where an Arms Officers wanted a Biography for a one-off importation; however, this is unusual. It was noted that Biographies is an incorrect term and should be more correctly described as Supporting Information for an application. A message has gone to Arms Officers to this effect. The Chair altered the original agenda so that items 5 and 6 were bumped up ahead of item 3 to fit with Supt Chris Cahill’s availability.
Item 5 – Arms Safety and Control Project Police is currently focusing on completing 3 ICT changes for the National Intelligence Application (NIA). In the meantime, critical issues in the business as usual (BAU) space need care and attention. Police wants any changes to be built on a solid foundation to prevent further systemic problems arising in the BAU. Police is devising possible short, medium and long term solutions. Police wants to make sure that its base supports future solutions. Both Police National Headquarters and Police Districts have been consulted on this issue. On the whole, Police is confident that it is getting a clearer picture of what changes are required in NIA. Preliminary thinking is to have centralised control over the permit system. This has not yet been decided. In the meantime the Project will concentrate on support for the current permit process in the first instance. A member inquired about what needs to happen before Police receives the ‘go ahead’, and that it is important to build a more comprehensive picture as soon as possible. Police advised that it could consider making a one-off bid from the Justice Sector fund. Another member advised that not everyone would be comfortable or able to use a computer-based system, and entering on line at a Police station or similar could be problematic as required information may not be readily available. While they may be a small proportion of the population they needed to be provided for. A member suggested there needed to be some rural proofing in any new system. Police acknowledged that there is not a lot more it can do to help with this issue, but noted that some electronic changes may make it easier as it will minimise the personal contact required and limit the paper-based demands. With this in mind, the Chair emphasised that the Arms Safety and Control project has short, medium and long term elements.
2 A member outlined that issues with permits and applications have improved considerably, and that they were very impressed with the turnaround – people who suffer from geographical constraints are often met with very accommodating Arms Officers. Another member outlined that rural proofing can be quite difficult, and that applications sometimes must be completed twice. It was suggested that if the application process was done at a local level perhaps this will be less of an issue. With this in mind, the member indicated that a local centralised system should be considered as part of any long term plan. It was noted that Police is confident that there is no outstanding permit application held in PNHQ greater than 30 days but recognises that there may still be some permits in Districts not yet entered into the system and some permits issued from PNHQ that have not yet reached the applicant. As advised to representatives of the Wairarapa Pistol and Shooting Sports Club, Police is advising people who have been waiting for more than 40 days to contact PNHQ and to use the email address [email protected] Police noted that based on information from the Districts, a backlog may be looming. Consequently, it is working towards a proactive system. Police wants to be ahead of the game and able to predict demand so that it can coordinate and manage responses effectively. In relation to the Law and Order Committee’s Inquiry, one member asked whether Police considered the scope of the Arms Safety and Control project capable of covering all of the Committee’s recommendations. Specifically, the member asked whether it would be capable of handling the Committee’s pseudo-registration recommendation (this may have been referring to either the voluntary recording of serial numbers or to the proposed permit to procure for A cats recommended by the Committee).
Police noted that while the serial number of A category firearms it is an additional field in the data field, it should be able to add this to its capability. A member noted that previously there had been some discussion on Arms Officers being appointed by Police National Headquarters, and asked whether this has been rejected or followed. Police outlined that there has not yet been a decision on that point. Currently Police is more concerned about whether there are enough Arms Officers currently available to provide a good service, but indicated that it will look into this proposal at a later stage. Police is working towards the consistent application of existing standards.
Training at the Police College organised by Response and Operations is the first step in this process, and recently took place. It was designed to outline the requirements for the Arms Officer job. Police captured just under half the country’s Arms Officers. Another course is scheduled for next year, and it is hoped that Arms Officers will be able to attend an annual refresher course. Police is also hoping to give arms training to arms licensing staff. Police is confident that Arms Officers have a good understanding of what is going on, including the Arms Safety and Control project. Police advised that Nicholas Taylor was invited to attend the course (and did so), so that he could understand how everything runs from Police’s side.
Item 6 – Select Committee – Inquiry into issues relating to the illegal possession of firearms The Law and Order Committee published its final report on 7 April 2017 on the Parliamentary website, and it was sent out to members along with the agenda for this meeting. The Committee made 20 recommendations, which the government will then consider and provide a response to be tabled in Parliament within 60 working days. Police notes that if the government wishes to proceed with any of the recommendations, it will need to go through the full normal processes required to change legislation or regulations. 3 One of the Committee’s recommendations related to the introduction of Firearms Prohibition Orders (FPOs). FPOS are based on the Australian FPO regime. Basically, they prevent specified people from accessing firearms, but also ensure that they cannot reside or be in a place that stores firearms. They are also unable to use a firearm under the supervision of a firearms licence holder. Breaching a FPO would also carry a significant penalty. Police commented that it is very unlikely that firearms legislation and regulations will change before the election and that the government’s response could well suggest that more work needs to be done. A member noted that the Inquiry specifically related to the illegal possession of firearms and that its terms of reference related to how unlicensed persons come into possession of firearms. The member considered the recommendations in the report did not seem to focus on the purpose of the Inquiry. Police commented that the Committee could not fully understand how unlicensed persons come into the possession of firearms illegally because of a lack of data – the methodology from Sir Thomas Thorp’s 1997 report can only take you so far. The Committee had very little hard information on this matter and Police data has limitations. With this in mind, the member suggested that the recommendations were predominantly based on information that the Committee did not know. In particular, the member was concerned that there was going to be firearms “registration by stealth” as a result (referring to police recording the serial numbers of firearms when renewing someone’s firearms licence). They also noted the issues with data integrity. Police outlined that firearms registration involves firearms owners voluntarily giving Police a number of firearm details, including the serial number, of all their firearms. Over the years Police has not recommended universal registration of firearms. Police sees benefit in collecting better information over time but sees limited benefit in trying to register all firearms that may be in legal ownership at a single point in time. In that regard Police’s view is consistent with that of the government.
In relation to the so called ‘secret submission’ it was explained that Police, having been invited to be advisers to the Committee, was bound by the parliamentary process and parliamentary privilege. – this is fully described in Standing Orders of Parliament that is publicly available. The Committee’s deliberations were subject to parliamentary privilege, so neither Police nor Members of Parliament could comment on the Committee’s discussions until their report was tabled, at which point the Police advice and any other advice requested by the Committee became public. This is a long established practice and is one of the strengths of the Westminster parliamentary process. A member noted that firearms owners are not happy with some of the Committee’s recommendations – particularly over the sale and supply of firearms. The member also stated that he and others were disappointed in some incorrect statements that were made on Breakfast by the President of the Police Association. The member went on to say that everyone in the firearms community is worried about a lack of trust of Police, and that this probably originated with the pistol grip fiasco in 2009. Firearms owners are also worried about additional compliance obligations. Finally, the member stipulated that some of the recommendations were not necessarily made to help lawful firearms owners, but burden them. Another member noted that they have looked at similar recommendations in the past which looked more like job creation schemes. With this in mind, the member stated that since 1843 there have been hundreds of changes, but that the system will not succeed if firearms owners do not buy into 4 it.
For this reason, they suggested that it may be wise to start a new system and include firearm users during the policy development process. Police noted that it receives a number of different messages from the firearms community. The general ‘fit and proper person’ approach works well, but policy changes may be required in a number of other areas. One member noted that the current system works well, but that it would be useful to tighten aspects of the system to make sure it works consistently across the board. Another member discussed the recommendation for a new category of firearms licences for certain semi-automatics to replace the current MSSA category. It was alarming that a modified shotgun for duck hunters and .22 calibre semi-automatics (probably New Zealand’s biggest selling firearm) could fall under this criteria. The member insisted that if these firearms fell under a newly prohibited classification, there would be a surge in grey firearms. Police sympathised but outlined that the ability to convert certain A category firearms into semi-automatic weapons is becoming more and more of an issue. A member expressed concern that that semi-automatic A cats may be required to adhere to more stringent and more expensive storage requirements. This is significant, especially for someone who lives in an apartment block – how would they build a strong room in that situation? It was thought that people will just ignore the requirements and leave their firearms in the present storage arrangements. It seems easy in principle, but it is often very difficult to comply with stronger regulations. Another member noted that they agreed with three of the Committee’s recommendations, but did not list them. Further, they would be interested in working with Police on what should change. Other members agreed that it would be advantageous to discuss possible changes with Police in a formal setting. Members agreed that it would be useful to form a Subcommittee on the Select Committee’s recommendations. Police agreed to using the Subcommittee on a consultative basis to inform the advice it put through to the Minister. Police noted that any changes to regulations and/or legislation would require consultation, and this includes consultation with both sides – not just firearms owners and their representatives. There have been a significant number of Official Information Act requests relating to the seizure of firearms (roughly about 70-90 seizures per month). Based on annual figures, Police believes that approximately 10 restricted firearms are seized each month. One member asked if these were truly restricted firearms as many people could not distinguish MSSAs from A cat semi-automatics. Possible action point –Police to provide the Forum with more detailed information on the types of restricted firearms seized by the Police, noting that this information would be limited to what is known at the Wellington armoury and would not provide a comprehensive national picture of restricted firearms seized A member noted that all restricted firearms are registered, and enquired about how that would affect statistics. Police noted that when seizing firearms, police do not always enter specific firearm details, such as the type of firearm. For example, it might note that it is a restricted firearm, but officers will not necessarily specify that it is a pistol, a MSSA or whether it is a converted/modified firearm.
The member also suggested that Police should be capable of providing data on where firearms come from, at least in relation to firearms that were originally restricted (not converted into a restricted firearm). Police stated that this is a key part of the Arms Safety and Control project. With some changes, seizure data may become more comprehensive, and data quality is likely to 5 improve. The member then indicated that it would be very beneficial for seized military-style semiautomatics and restricted firearms to be given back to their lawful owner and that data should be kept on this. Noting time constraints and the availability of some members, the Chair stopped these discussions for the time being to ensure that item 3 – the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) update could take place Item 3 – Arms Trade Treaty Update It was noted that there have not been any major developments in relation to the ATT since December. Police and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT) are working on the ATT report on the import and export of weapons1 .
The Brokering Bill is still being drafted, but there is no indicative timeframe on when it will start the parliamentary process – this depends on Cabinet decision making. However, work is actively being done on it. The Notification of exempted sporting firearms export form has been working well, and MFAT has been receiving a lot of notifications. International import certificates are now used around the world – they have universal meaning. You need the right authority to import controlled goods, like firearms or their component parts. A member noted that it is not ‘kosher’ to use the word ‘weapon’ during a firearms forum, as it carries negative connotations and paints members and firearms in an unfair light. The presenter noted that their work involves weapons and the ATT relates to weapons, including firearms. However, they also said that they would take this on board in the future. The presenter outlined that MFAT would keep the forum in the loop regarding the Brokering Bill, and New Zealand’s ATT.
Item 6 resumed – Select Committee – Inquiry into issues relating to the illegal possession of firearms The forum decided that it would be useful to create a Subcommittee, including three representatives from Police and four members from the forum to work together and discuss the Committee’s recommendations. Police supported the formation of a Subcommittee to go through the pros and cons of the recommendations. Police noted that there was no guarantee that any conclusions reached by the sub-committee would be supported by Government. It was agreed that the Subcommittee should meet on Wednesday, 3 May (one-off meeting) and would be run as a workshop. The Committee elected four members of the Forum, including: • Nicole McKee • John Herbert • Andrew Edgcombe • Debbie Wakker [Nicole McKee was later appointed as an independent advisor to the Minister of Police on the Select Committee report. Nicole nominated Trevor Dyke as a substitute. Trent Smith was also nominated] 1 MFAT uses the term weapon in the context of the Arms Trade Treaty 6 A member discussed the classification of seized firearms and proposed a long term solution. The member outlined that it would be advantageous to differentiate between different firearm categories. For example, pistols used in crimes are not necessarily the registered pistols that each lawful pistol owner uses – the category includes modified firearms that later fall under the pistol category.
The member suggested that if this point is clarified, Police may be able to compile more meaningful statistics. Police noted that there will be a transition period where it will need to refine data. There will be a period where it goes through the data and notes where changes should be made. If there are any questions on the Arms Safety and Control project, they should be emailed to [email protected] Another member suggested that it might be best for local Arms Officers to enter the details of seized firearms into the database, and that this may improve data quality. Police said that it is dedicated to enhancing data quality, and will be as accurate as possible in the future. However, Police also noted that serial numbers are often removed, so Police cannot always tell who the legal owners were.
Item 4– Subcommittee firearms storage The members had been provided with the Subcommittee’s terms of reference before the meeting took place. It was agreed that the Subcommittee would be represented by three forum members and three Police representatives, with the Chair shared between members of the Subcommittee. While the group is to be restricted to these six people, an agreed subject matter expert could also join the group for certain discussions. In terms of decision making, the Subcommittee’s powers would not exceed the forums. It was confirmed that the Subcommittee is there to ensure that what is being proposed is achievable for ordinary licensed firearms owners. The Committee agreed to the following representatives: • New Zealand Retail (Trent Smith) • Council of Licensed Firearms Owners (Michael Dowling) • Rural Women New Zealand (Rachael Dean) • Police (Insp Roly Williams, Paul Gatland and Richard Smith) One member noted that there are many ways of being secure, and indicated that the price and quality of containers is perhaps not as important as the combination of measures including monitoring alarms. Similar concerns were raised in the Wairarapa meeting mentioned earlier in the Minutes. Police agrees that this is worth considering. A member asked whether the Subcommittee is also going to look at the legal requirements and how they are working. They were concerned that very little has changed in this space for a long time. Police noted that it first needs to validate the current process, and then it can go on to look at changes/recommendations. Firearms prohibition orders (FPOs) 7 FPOs are likely to be one of the amendments to legislation that would progress. The Committee’s recommendation about gang members not being fit and proper links to FPOs. If the amendment goes ahead, it is likely that a limited number of people will be subject to it initially. It is also important to note that FPOs may not just be limited to gang members. Other than those relating to FPO/gang related matters, Police considers any further changes are unlikely before the election. FPOs prohibit someone from obtaining a firearms licence, possessing a firearm and associating with people in possession of firearms. A member raised concerns about this – could a licensed firearms owner be penalised for associating with someone subject to a FPO? Police reconfirmed that relatively few people would be subject to FPOs and considers it extremely unlikely that a licensed firearms owner would befriend someone subject to a FPO.
Police is still leading work on FPOs, although it will need to go through the Ministry of Justice and the normal parliamentary process before it is included in legislation and implemented. In relation to gang membership, Police has to provide evidence that someone is in a gang. Police has intelligence on patched members and some prospects on their way to becoming patched members. A member asked what the advantages were of having FPOs, compared to someone not being granted a firearms licence. Police outlined that without a licence someone can still use a firearm under the supervision of a firearms licence holder. A lot of ideas in respect of FPOs are being taken from Australia. In New Zealand, FPOs are being predominantly looked at as part of the Gang Action Plan. Interestingly, there is already evidence from Australia that it is much more difficult for someone to take on a leadership role in a gang if they are subject to a FPO. Penalties for firearms offences A member asked about whether it was possible to impose instant fines for firearms offences in New Zealand, rather than full prosecution. The member indicated that this might be a good alternative option – there is a better closeness to the offence with an instant fine, whereas a long and drawn out court process is not as good. The member indicated that there is an unhelpful disconnect between an offence which is committed now, and the court process which takes place a lot longer down the track. Police outlined that there is no provision for officers to impose fines for firearms offences. Nevertheless, Police noted that under a new Arms Amendment Bill, the whole penalty structure would be reviewed. During this review, there may potentially be scope to provide for some offences to be punishable by infringement fees.
Item 8 – Representatives’ attendance at Forum involved in litigation with Police The Chair noted that the primary aim of the Firearms Community Advisory Forum is for members to establish open lines of communication, and for members to be confident that their comments will not be attributed to the other members outside of the meeting. If it gets to the situation where a number of members take legal action against Police, then the confidentiality ordinarily guaranteed under the Chatham House Rules may no longer apply. If a case went to court, a member may need to testify under oath and could be forced to identify and repeat the comments made by individuals at the forum. Police noted that if the Forum is to work, there needs to be a robust process in place for free and frank flow of discussion – it is essential to lay down some basic rules. With this in mind, it might be worth taking up one of two options: 8 1. When a topic comes up that touches on a member’s litigation, it may be prudent for them to leave the room during discussion of that particular topic. 2. The member could delegate their authority to someone else within their organisation to attend the meeting instead. For either of these options to work, members need to be quite clear about their position/situation from the beginning, and it needs to be quite clear when a specific topic is going to be discussed in the meeting. A member suggested that judicial review is different from an individual’s own decision to litigate – if judicial review is underway, then contributing to the ongoing conversation may not be as problematic but time will tell. The Committee agreed to adopt the rules as described.
Item 9 – Firearms Safety Council of Aotearoa The proposed membership in the Forum of Jo Green as a representative of the Firearms Safety Council of Aotearoa (FSCofA) had been tabled at the Arms Safety and Control project workshop in February, but no formal decision taken. The Committee was advised that an email had been sent to FSCofA which noted criteria for consideration of membership which are: • Relevant skills, knowledge and understanding of firearms and issues/legislation relating to firearms • Relevant practical experience and networks within the firearms community • Personal attributes and ability to work constructively with and make a contribution to the Forum different from that provided by current membership • Being a representative of an incorporated group (who can represent the views of the group rather than their individual view). That email acknowledged that some of the required information had been provided and that Joe Green’s personal knowledge and experience is well known, but the applicant was asked for: • the list of organisations that are members, and an indication of membership size, • what aspects of the Council’s objectives distinguish the Council from the firearm safety and safe use representatives already on the Committee; and • an indication if the AGM has been held or if you remain in an interim chair role. A member provided some additional information around membership of FSCofA, and the Forum membership agreed in-principle (by majority), to the FSCofA membership subject to receipt of adequate additional information from them.
Item 10 – Other Business A member raised a concern about the number of roadblocks that some Australian visitors had to go through in order to participate in a firearms event that took place over Easter weekend. At first, they were not licensed to use restricted firearms because they did not have the equivalent endorsement in Australia. The issue is that civilians cannot lawfully own those firearms in Australia, so there was no way for them to obtain an equivalent endorsement there. Police noted that this issue was resolved quickly. There were processes that could be put in place to address risks. Nevertheless, Police noted that it may be useful to clarify policy on this issue. Police indicated that it requires 30 days minimum to complete the visitor licensing process. 9 The member then asked what would happen if a citizen from the United States of America wanted to come over and use firearms – a country without firearm categories. Police replied that it would make inquiries and ensure that the visitor had a certificate from the relevant law enforcement agency in the United States showing that they have authority to possess the firearm in question. The member indicated that the recent Australian situation should have been a very low risk for Police – the competition was taking place on a fully controlled range on a military base, with secure firearms storage facilities. Police noted that according to New Zealand’s firearms legislation, a person must have an E Category licence, even if they are shooting under appropriate supervision. Police cannot provide authority for someone to obtain E category firearms without the correct endorsement. The member stated that this has not been a problem over the past decade, but it appears to be at the moment because of a change in policy. Police noted there was no change in policy. Visitors need to be properly identified to determine eligibility. Anyone applying for a visitor’s firearms licence should have a good chance of getting it. They just need to provide Police with the right details, including a copy of their current licence. It is important for Police to have appropriate checks and balances in place. Police noted that it will seek to provide greater transparency of process, and will note flagged issues. The member suggested that when firearms licensing is carried out for sporting teams it should be conducted in a centralised fashion. The Chair noted that it is important for both sides of the debate to recognise the difficult decisions that need to be made, and that it is imperative to have a transparent process in place. Another member suggested that the meeting was particularly productive on this occasion, and that it may be because there was some continuity from the Arms Safety and Control workshop that took place in February (full day workshop). With that in mind, they suggested that at least one Forum meeting each year should be in the form of an all-day session. The benefit of this is that nothing would be rushed. Police agreed to this.
AGREED ACTIONS: ACTION ASSIGNED TO COMPLETED DATE POLICE TO PROVIDE THE FORUM WITH MORE DETAILED INFORMATION ON THE TYPES OF RESTRICTED FIREARMS SEIZED BY THE POLICE, NOTING THAT THIS INFORMATION WOULD BE LIMITED TO WHAT IS KNOWN AT THE WELLINGTON ARMOURY AND WOULD NOT PROVIDE A COMPREHENSIVE NATIONAL PICTURE OF RESTRICTED FIREARMS SEIZED POLICE AGREE THAT 7 DECEMBER 2017 BE AN ALL DAY FCAF MEETING FCAF/POLICE POLICE TO PROVIDE GREATER TRANSPARENCY OF VISITOR PERMIT PROCESS, AND WILL NOTE FLAGGED ISSUES. POLICE A SUBCOMMITTEE TO WORKSHOP THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE INQUIRY INTO ISSUES RELATING TO THE ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS. TO TAKE PLACE ON 3 MAY POLICE COMPLETED FIREARMS SAFETY COUNCIL OF AOTEAROA FOLLOW UP OF MEMBERSHIP POLICE REPRESENTATIVES’ ATTENDANCE AT FORUM INVOLVED IN FACAF/POLICE AGREED AND 10 LITIGATION WITH POLICE: RULES GOVERNING THIS COMPLETED SUBCOMMITTEE ON FIREARMS STORAGE TO MEET POLICE TO MEET IN EARLY JUNE
MINUTES : Firearms Community Advisory Forum SUBJECT
Firearms Community Advisory Forum
Thursday 8 December 2016
0930 – 1230
Level 9 Conference Room Wellington Central
Catherine Petrey, Julia Penney, Geoff Dunn (Partial), Sandra Keenan, Nicole McKee, Michael Dowling, Alastair Williams, Paul Gatland, John Herbert, Kirsty Marshall, Andrew Edgcombe, Debbie Wakker, Ray Vine, Trevor Dyke, Richard Smith, Poh Boey, Andrew Smith, Rachael Dean, Michelle Podmore, Dell Higgie, Nicole Salmon, Chandrika Kumaran
Rob Ngamoki, Chris Scahill, Matthew Gibson, Helen Morgan, John Howat, Trent Smith
PREVIOUS MINUTES: confirmed
The Chair welcomed members, followed by a Health and Safety emergency evacuation procedure and personal conveniences discussion followed by a round table introduction.
Chair covered Chatham House Rules applying. Open and honest communication and no names assigned.
The minutes from the previous meeting were confirmed.
RECAPPED ACTIONS FROM LAST MEETING:
1. Police to send out to the Forum the safe requirements checklist and advise the Forum of the certification expectations when that exercise is completed. Still in Progress.
2. Police to do some tidying up of the mail order system to ensure it can work smoothly. This issue can be revisited at the next meeting. Police will try to notify the forum ahead of this time if there are any changes. Still in progress.
3. Official Information Act Database. There was a discussion regarding the fact that Police has the highest number of OIA requests of any Government Agency. There is currently a review team looking at how to improve the timeliness of OIA responses. One solution is to have monthly Police statistics online. Still in progress.
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE – ARMS TRADE TREATY UPDATE
MFAT provided a background and overview of the ATT and New Zealand’s reporting requirements.
The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is the first treaty to regulate the international transfer of conventional arms, from handguns, to tanks, to battleships. It entered into force on 24 December 2014. The ATT focuses on strengthening import and export legislation, policies and processes, and increasing transparency around arms transfers. The ATT now has nearly 100 signatories. The next (third) meeting is to be held in Geneva 11 – 14 September 2017.The submission of States Parties’ first annual reports, which will be publicly available, is a major milestone.
NZ provided an initial report and subsequent yearly reports are a requirement. 1
The Civil Society criticised the ATT for not addressing the most significant issues, such as transfer of arms to Saudi Arabia (Yemen). However, the first two years has concentrated on gaining signatories and attending to procedural frameworks and ‘housekeeping’ to ensure a good structural base from which to focus on furtherance of the ATT. ‘Housekeeping’ has included setting consistent templates and setting up a voluntary trust fund to help countries that are struggling to meet ATT criteria. New Zealand has provided ‘workshops’ on barriers for Africa which has no legislative framework to enable them to meet the ATT requirements.
A question was put to MFAT about whether China and Russia are signatories to the ATT. They are not, but have said they will be keeping a watching brief and reviewing their position. India is not a signatory. The USA has signed the ATT but has not ratified it due to the Senate rules. The UK and France have signed and ratified the ATT, while Israel has signed but is yet to ratify the Treaty.
There are a number of important developments relating to the ATT this year, including:
1. The creation of three working groups looking at Transparency and Reporting, Implementation and Universalisation;
2. The establishment of a voluntary trust to help states overcome barriers to join the ATT;
3. A set of Governing criteria; and
4. The appointment of the first head of the Secretariat for a four year term.
ATT and Brokering
New Zealand currently has no controls on brokering, which is the negotiation, arrangement or facilitation of a transaction involving the international movement of arms and/or military equipment.
Article 10 of the ATT requires each state party to take measures, pursuant to its national laws, to regulate brokering under its jurisdiction for conventional arms covered under Article 2(1). Such measures may include requiring brokers to register or obtain written authorisation before engaging in brokering. Unregulated brokering can undermine the Treaty.
In directing that New Zealand should ratify the UN Arms Trade Treaty, Cabinet also directed officials to develop proposals to address brokering. The proposed Bill will establish a regime that prevents New Zealand individuals and entities from engaging in brokering where there is a risk of arms and/or military equipment being transferred to illegitimate users or undesirable destinations.
This will be achieved by requiring individuals and entities wanting to engage in brokering to register with the New Zealand Government and obtain a permit for brokering activities. Permits would not be granted where there is a risk of the movement of arms and military equipment to illegitimate users or destinations. Brokering without a permit would be an offence. The regime would have extraterritorial effect and apply not only to persons in New Zealand, but also New Zealanders and New Zealand entities operating abroad.
The Brokering Bill is currently being drafted.
The ATT covers all weapons on New Zealand’s Strategic Goods List. It is important to note that the Treaty does not cover imports, and exports to and from New Zealand and the domestic sale of firearms in New Zealand, as these activities are already covered by the Arms Act 1983 and MFAT processes.
A member queried what a “transaction” is for the purposes of the proposed brokering legislation. MFAT responded that the definition is unclear at the moment and that it will be clarified in law, although they mentioned that transactions would relate to items on the Strategic Goods List as shown on the website. Each country has scope to define “brokering” themselves. 2
It was noted that it is unclear where the Bill will fit in the 2017 Legislative Programme. The Bill’s expected progress will be outlined at the start of next year, but unforeseen events may throw this into disarray. However, this Bill is expected to have cross-party support, which may help its progress.
MFAT noted that the ATT and its corresponding Bill should have no practical impact on New Zealand. The key point is that New Zealand has to make sure that it is not the weak link among the countries ratifying the Treaty. Nevertheless, a member raised a concern that the Bill may result in increased import costs.
ARMS SAFETY AND CONTROL PROJECT
Police gave a presentation on the Arms Safety and Control (ASAC) project. Police provided a very brief overview of what was discussed at the previous meeting. Before discussing the project in detail, Police noted that the project’s name had changed from the ‘Firearms Administration and Management’ project at the previous meeting to ASAC. A copy of the slideshow presentation has been sent to all Forum members.
The project has identified three key issues, including resourcing, effective management of firearm licensing and the Arms Act keeping pace with the changing environment. These issues have corresponding risks to be managed, including feelings of community safety, inconsistent support to the firearms community and Police not managing the firearms environment effectively. In relation to the risks, Police outlined how it wants to provide more consistent support for the firearms community.
Police listed the following goals:
1. Reduce the opportunities for harm from firearms
2. Improve user and stakeholder satisfaction with firearms management practice
3. Create a trusted firearms management system.
There were also a number of critical success factors including strategic fit, potential value for money (whether the market can sustain it), supplier capacity, and potential affordability and achievability.
Police also offered a likely framework (boundaries to work within) for the project:
1. Scope – Police seeks to effectively deliver services that address the needs of the firearms community and firearms environment
2. Service solution option – Police will implement a new national system to meet the needs of the firearms environment
3. Service delivery – Police (internal) or Police with other providers may deliver the services
4. Implementation – Police will deliver these services with a staged approach
5. Funding – Current funding, increased fees and potentially greater Crown funding will provide the revenue required.
A member asked whether a new ICT solution would impact on funding. Police advised that it would not necessarily have an impact, and that it is possible that funding will be entirely internal. Noting this, another member raised a concern that greater overheads would require more funding, and fees should not necessarily be increased.
Police also noted that it is hoping to complete the business case by the second quarter in 2017. However, it will require approval after June., In early 2017 (date to be confirmed), Police will hold a workshop for community members of the Forum in the hope of understanding the firearms community’s needs, and align them with wider organisational outcomes where possible.
An email has been set up specifically for information around the firearms change project. Anyone with concerns or questions regarding the Police project should email:
POLICE ENGAGE SAFETY CAMPAIGN
Police then discussed its firearms safety campaign, noting that it was previously unable to access its target market with its $90,000 budget. Police talked to its public affairs team and analysed how to improve its message and access more people. Police has now coordinated an advertising campaign with Ogilvy & Mather, which will play advertisements across a number of different platforms (namely radio and internet) at important times of the year. This strategy keeps costs down whilst also hitting the target market. The campaign includes strong themes of storage, handling, shooting and transport of firearms. It will be run under the banner “engage Safety”. The current Storage advertisement states “If it is not in a safe, it is not safe”.
The advertisements were shown to the members, who largely agreed that the messages were simple, focused and effective. A number of members advised that they were happy to work with Police on the advertising campaign.
link to the website to come
CHAMBER SAFETY TAGS
There was some discussion about firearms tags and that they used to be given out by the Mountain Safety Council. It was noted by a member of the Forum that there is a manufacturer in Taita who can produce these for about 69 cents per unit. Together, Police and this member are to investigative this further and report back at the next meeting.
There was also some discussion on the safety of shooting sports. Some members suggested that the firearms safety advertising should be targeted more towards hunters than shooters generally.
Police noted that it has received an influx of letters on permits recently, however this does not reflect the general situation. Most districts have minimal or no import permits backlogged. There was a major backlog at the end of 2015 but now there is a 30 day turnaround. There are 250 import permit applications for parts waiting to be processed, although this is purely because of IT issues.
The permit application system is essentially electronic. Once it is printed on watermarked paper, it should go to the Arms Officer and the applicant. There is no way of tracing that at the moment. Once printed, it goes to Police and then to the applicant. There is an issue where Police thinks that it has done its job, but the hard copy of the permit may not have been received by the applicant. The way around this is to send email advice that a permit has been forwarded.
SUBCOMMITTEE – FIREARMS SECURITY
A Forum member provided a written proposal that there should be a subcommittee on firearms security and storage to further inform the review of security arrangements. The member was not present at the meeting, but a number of members agreed that they were interested in joining the subcommittee as the concept of security has changed. Another member indicated that they would not necessarily like to be a part of the subcommittee, but that they would like any proposal run by them to ensure it is rural-proofed. Police will draft Terms of Reference for the subcommittee in the New Year.
SELECT COMMITTEE INQUIRY
The Law and Order Committee conducting the Inquiry into the Illegal Possession of Firearms has drafted their report. Police has provided comment and has attended a number of meetings. The timeframe for the release of the Committee’s Report will likely be March or April 2017.
The former Minister of Police has advised officials there will be no movement on the Arms Act until after the Select Committee release their report.
Forum members expressed their concern that changes being made by Police are piecemeal and not coordinated. Some members are concerned that members of their own organisations are losing trust and confidence in Police, so it is crucial to establish better lines of communication. Police noted that this is one of the key reasons behind the consultation and workshop scheduled in early 2017, as it will ensure that stakeholders can contribute to the review process.
A member indicated that there was a fear in their organisation that if someone speaks up, they will be earmarked for lesser service in the future. Police outlined that there is more of a dialogue between Police and the firearms community than there has been in the past, and that if people are experiencing issues, they should contact their Arms Officer. If the Arms Officer does not know how to help, the Arms Officer can contact Police National Headquarters. Contact information for Arms Officers can be found at:
There was also comment regarding a previous Arms Manager who spent significant time with the firearms community understanding what their requirements were and why, and worked hard to establish a good relationship with them, which included fair policies and procedures. An invitation was put to the new Arms Manager to attend firearms meetings and other events.
One forum member suggested that all Arms Officers should report through PNHQ Wellington as there was a significant amount of inconsistency in the application of policy, often to the detriment of the firearms community.
MEASUREMENT OF FIREARMS
There was a lengthy discussion on the fact that the measurement of MSSAs has changed. Consequently, some licensed firearms owners no longer lawfully own their firearms because they do not hold the required handgun endorsement. This is fundamentally because some shortened MSSAs are now defined as pistols because of their length.
Police noted that a document has been made available that covers the measurement of firearms (link attached). Based on this opinion, Police advises that if a firearm (when folded) is less than 762mm and can still be fired, then it is classed as a pistol under the Arms Act 1983. This interpretation is considered to be based on the intention of the Act when it was drafted.
Police has agreed to look into getting a further legal view on this.
A question was put forward “what would delay a permit for a ‘standard’ part for an E Cat firearm”?
Police responded that that there are essentially two things that can produce delays:
1. Staffing and training (new staff and the time it takes to train them)
2. IT systems, the current one is standalone and can only be used by one person to input data at a time.
It was mentioned that a template for permits is online and could speed the process up if more people used it. The link is attached:
Link to templates online????
It was suggested, and Police agreed, to add a section on permit numbers (including applications still being processes) in the Quarterly review newsletter.
One member noted that Police requested a “biography” in relation to a request for an import permit by a member of his organisation. The member had written to Police asking if this request was as a result of some policy change in PNHQ. Police responded that there was no policy change with respect to information being sought from applicants as to why they wished to import particular firearms, and Police in attendance did not know about “biographies’ being requested. The forum member passed on the email that he received and Police will follow up on this issue.
Meeting closed 12.40
PLACE BROKERING – ATT AS A STANDING ITEM ON THE AGENDA
SEND POWERPOINT FROM POH BOEY TO ALL FORUM MEMBERS
SEND OUT DOCUMENT ON SECURITY OF FIREARMS TO FORUM MEMBERS
FORUM MEMBERS/POLICE TO GET INFORMATION FOR THE PURCHASE OF CHAMBER SAFETY TAGS
POLICE AND FORUM MEMBER
PUT LINK TO ARMS OFFICERS ON WEBSITE IN MINUTES
POLICE TO LOOK AT ADDING THE ABILITY FOR PERMIT APPLICANTS TO LOOK UP PROGRESS ON THEIR APPLICATIONS
SEND TO FORUM MEMBERS A PROCESS ON NOT BEING ABLE TO FIND INFORMATION AND CONTACTS.
ADD PERMIT STATISTICS AND RELEVANT INFORMATION TO THE QUARTERLY UPDATE
COMPLETE A DRAFT TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR THE SECURITY SUBCOMMITTEE (2017)
MEASUREMENT OF THE LENGTH OF FIREARMS ISSUES TO BE LOOKED AT BY POLICE CROWN LAW OPINION
PUT A LINK OR THE DOCUMENT THAT OUTLINES ‘WHAT POLICE DO’ CURRENTLY IN RELATION TO THE MEASUREMENT AND WHY
SEND THE PERMIT FORM LINK IN MINUTES
POLICE TO SEND INFORMATION TO FORUM MEMBERS COVERED IN LETTER FROM TAYLOR
POLICE TO INVESTIGATE THE USE OF THE TERM ‘BIOGRAPHIES’ BY ARMS OFFICERS