I’ve been tediously reviewing all the various submissions on the Arms Legislation Bill.

Whilst reviewing submissions from the Auckland select committee meeting, I came across an interesting revelation in one of them.

Part Registration is already active in New Zealand.  From 1983 NZ focused on a “Fit and proper person test”.  However, a part register has been maintained by Police for pistols and restricted weapons.

From 1992 onwards Police added a register of military style semi-automatics.

Even this limited register is often incorrect. Our club members regularly report that the police register has wrong numbers or incorrect firearms recorded.

Recently 31,000 records were lost from the firearms register during the transfer of the register from PNHQ to the Kapiti firearms office. Serial numbers and descriptions of semi-automatics, pistols and restricted weapons were lost for all owners surnames A to C.

Police have denied they have lost the data. One imagines they are relying on paper records from local arms officers and this vastly increases the likelihood of errors.

This does not reflect well on the ability of police to maintain an accurate Arms register.

Just so we are clear, this submitter says that the Police have lost the registration details of 31,000 records that include semi-automatics, pistols, restricted weapons including sub-machine guns and machine-guns for people whose surnames start with A-C.

Inquiries with people who alerted us to this very same problem as mentioned in this submission say it covers people with B (Pistols), C (Collectors), E (Military Style Semi-Automatics) and F (Associate dealers) endorsements.

We have also spoken to several licence-holders who have been visited by Police who had photocopies of paper records and who then set about noting down all firearms and serial numbers when they should have already been in command of those details.

One source asked the Police officer in attendance what was going on and he confirmed that the Police had lost the details and were conducting audits to fill the gaps.

It is our understanding that Police have known about this since BEFORE the tragic events in Christchurch and are using the tragedy to cover up their ineptness. This explains their insistence, contrary to any evidence world-wide of its effectiveness, on implementing a wide-ranging register of firearms.

Approaches from media about this issue have been met with a snow-job or explanations that are dancing on the head of a pin. The Police Minister needs to be more forthcoming on information instead of covering up for his department.

Unfortunately, because the Police have been obfuscating on this issue, we can no longer trust them. If records haven’t been lost, then they should invite a couple of reputable journalists to search the register. We know of several provable holes in the data and it should be easy to prove that the stories of lost records are misleading, however it needs to be independently verified because the police have taken an anti-gun owner stance ever since the tragic events of March.

The Police should not be the organisation responsible for maintaining a register, should that come to pass. They’ve proven themselves unable to safeguard even their own firearms, let alone other people’s. Then there is this case of the lost/destroyed records.

It appears that the Police have shamelessly used a tragedy to further their anti-gun agenda while at the same time retaining their own expanding arsenal of weapons. Instead of chasing criminals, they’ve set about trying to make a whole new class of criminals by victimising legitimate firearms owners. They need to stop. The firearms community has lost their respect for the Police.