Police Association questions shooting club ban
The Police Association is alarmed that a Wairarapa shooting club has banned police from using its firearms training facility in a bid to force Police National Headquarters to change its attitude on certain gun policies and procedures.
Association President Chris Cahill says the Association readily accepts that the vast majority of gun owners are law abiding citizens.
He also says in his experience very few gun owners have issues with registering their own firearm, or who they may on-sell to. The aim is to control who has access to firearms, not penalise licensed firearms owners.
“Like it or not, the reality is that criminals often acquire their guns from burglaries of legitimate gun owners and dealers, or, guns are on-sold to people who have no intention of registering them and using them within legal parameters,” Mr Cahill said.
On a daily basis our members are being confronted by criminals with guns. The results of a proliferation of firearms are very real for front line police and the Association believes that having a gun pointed in your face should not be seen as just part of the job. Illegal firearms are also regularly uncovered during routine searches of suspects, vehicles and buildings. This situation is a significant risk to police officers and to the public.
Under the Arms Act (1983) a firearms licence allows the holder to have and use sporting type shotguns and rifles. Target shooting pistol club members require a ‘B’ Endorsement attached to their firearms licences to possess and use pistols as a member of an incorporated pistol club on a range approved by the Commissioner of Police.
“With all dangerous things in society come rules and regulations that have to be enforced. A firearm is a lethal weapon and we do not see why firearms should be excluded from safeguards”, Mr Cahill said.
He added that while the club’s president, Mr Rawlinson, says they are “not trying to be vindictive or nasty”, in imposing an immediate ban, it certainly sounds vindictive when Police is trying to ensure dangerous weapons do not end up in the hands of criminals.
“This banning of front line police from the firearms training facility is the first the Association has ever heard of the issues the Wairarapa Club has now expressed.”
“Perhaps it would have been more productive to at least approach the Association with the view to discuss the concerns rather than complicate the training programmes of Wairarapa police who use, and pay for, the Club’s facilities in order to ensure they are equipped to keep the community safe,” Mr Cahill said.