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Gun register triggers concerns

The government’s new digital firearms registry began operating on June 24, allowing firearms licence holders to start entering their details in the online database.

The registry is one of the government’s final firearms reforms in response to the March 2019 terror attack in Christchurch.

Police Minister Ginny Andersen said the registry is a final step to “better protections in place for the harm that firearms can cause when they are in the wrong hands”.

Wairarapa Federated Farmers president David Hayes said efforts to make communities safer are supported by his organisation.

However, Federated Farmers is seeking assurances that the registry will be easy to use and data will be kept secure.

“We still consider a strong effort is required from police on the ground to remove illegal firearms from the hands of criminals,” Hayes said.

The Council of Licensed Firearms Owners [COLFO] said its representatives were “denied entry at the door” when they attended the recent register launch.

COLFO spokesperson Hugh Devereux-Mack stated firearms owners are “sick of being scapegoated for a mistake the police made back in 2019 when they gave a terrorist a firearms licence”.

The digital footprint of licensed firearm owners [LFOs] is a concern that COLFO has repeatedly voiced since the Ministry for Culture and Heritage revealed in 2020 that applicant information for the Tuia 250 Voyage had been accessed and copied by third parties.

At the time, COLFO pointed to this incident as an example of the type of data breach that LFOs fear would plague the then-proposed firearms register.

Wairarapa Pistol and Shooting Sports Club secretary Rhys Richards said COLFO’s concerns are shared by the club.

“History has shown us that LFOs’ privacy has been breached on numerous occasions,” said Richards.

“The examples that jump to my mind are poor handling of LFO records and also corruption that means LFO details end up in the hands of organised criminal groups.”

One can only hope the privacy of LFOs is now being taken seriously and these concerns have been addressed, said Richards.

As a club, Richards said they have abided by all new regulations regarding firearms, from transport to new club and ranges requirements.

“I don’t see there being any difference with this new requirement,” said Richards.

“With any change, there’s always an adjustment period.”

A local Wairarapa gun owner who requested anonymity said due to the way firearms ownership had been handled in the past, there is a need for trust to be restored.

“There’s a lot of nervousness around having to register your firearms online, or declare what firearms you own,” they said.

“It’s a great concept, but it’s building that trust back up with people who do own firearms.”

The owner said many LFOs are fine with the concept of the registrar, but it’s the execution they find worrying. What’s going to happen once I register my guns online?

“Will they limit the number of guns I’ll be able to own?

“What’s going to happen with the information, and who’s going to see the information?

“It’s just about knowing what the outcome of online registration looks like.”


  1. Yes there are concerns. Are the police taking this subject seriously. New Zealand has a unique culture which the majority wish to preserve. We have very few gun related injuries involving law abiding people when considering the number of licence holders.Police, get your securities sorted and regain the publics trust, then registration should be a no-brainer.

  2. I fully agree with the worry of LFO information falling into the wrong hands. I personally don’t think a firearms register will make the slightest bit of difference to firearms crime.

  3. Registration is simply the first step toward confiscation. Ask any E cat licence holder. They might not have come for your shotty this time but…

  4. Do not own a gun. But NZ Police are incompetent and would never keep list private. Gangs guns have to be stopped. Would have no faith that criminals will not get a list.

  5. Must be 100% secure..
    It is/probably a knee jerk reaction, with starting the registration process of all firearms..

  6. NZ Government agencies have repeatedly had significant data security breaches, with little or no accountability.
    When this information is leaked, it will be used by violent armed criminals to target legitimate hunters and firearm owners.
    This list is a gangs wet dream.

  7. Unfortunately legitimate fire arm license holders have fed guns through to the gangs. I understand there are now many hundreds of guns unaccounted for. The police are behind the gun register and not implementing it will leave society vulnerable. There has been no mention of limitations on gun ownership for legitimate license holders.

  8. The safer option would be to register firearms against the Licence number of the owner. This way only the Police know who has what and where. I would also like to believe that their data security might be better than some private entity’s.

  9. Trust and security are definitely the key issues ,just wondering if national will run with this ,or have they got another way would be nice to hear there ideas

  10. Awesome when gangs and crims require a specific gun hack or buy the data off a dodgy official. find the gun copy the address organize a hit WAY TO GO to help them achieve their outcome

  11. What dose a regester actually do to stop illegal firearms use ? The police claimed it will do something but there is no evidence from any other countries that it will have any efect at all on lowering the criminal use of firearms or the apprehension of criminals who use firearms. So how dose this make anyone safer ???

  12. History repeatedly shows that registration is the first step towards confiscation, the UN’s objective to disarm the civilian population won’t work unless they know where all the firearms are.

  13. Register will not lower gun crime that has coincidentally increases dramatically since ChCh. Was promised would not be under the Police coukd bot mamsge in the best, failed spectacularly wrt the 750 E-cat, have history of info security issues, losing firearms, ccidental discharges etc. And of course utterly failed to perform wry vetting the ChCh terrorist thus facilitating his actions!

  14. Taking in account the lies and deceptive way in which Labour choose to rule, will surely make this another smoke screen to introduce additional agendas
    I simply have no trust for Labours deceptive and lying policy changes

  15. This new register will only get law abiding citizens to register there firearms, why the Govand Police scrape the original is beyond me, this is move like other Labour deceptions only adds to a lot of public mis trust.

  16. I have 0 confidence that the registra will stay safe with the gpolice. Look at the history. Again it is not about the weapon , it is the operator/ user. We can argue that a car or a baseball bat is just as potentially lethal, In the hands of a lunatic or drug frenzied ? Until I see the government actually reducing the gang influence and dealing with the drug lords in a manner that gets them and their poison of the streets I would not be supporting this registrar. It’ll just end up in the wrong hands

  17. Most gun owners are strongly opposed to the gun registry. It’s just another way to make life more difficult and expensive for gun owners, and will do nothing to prevent crime. The few licensed firearms owners who have sold firearms to criminals were given joke sentences of just home detention. To see them get away with it while the police are targeting lawful gun owners instead, is a slap in the face to everyone who actually follows the law. The registry will be a disaster until it is repealed after the election. That can’t come soon enough. Labour’s draconian gun laws have been a total failure at keeping anyone safe, and have only made crime worse. They need to be completely repealed. The police arms officer who violated policy and wrongfully gave a terrorist a firearms license needs to be named and prosecuted.

  18. I can not understand why the Government won’t open its eyes wide, and see that “all” these new firearms legislations don’t and won’t, work. If they
    will, then (why) has gun violence increased substantially, not only nation wide, but more specifically in the Auckland region., where it’s totally out of control. I said to a member of the NZ Police a number of years ago, that the biggest problem was going to be when we went from our “so called, lifetime” firearms license to what we currently are working with. “They” the NZ Government and NZ Police should have combined the license holders details, along with the firearms registration details, way back in the early 1970s then we wouldnt have this shambles. All that the new firearms legislation is going to achieve, is driving more and more firearms underground, as we are all sick and tired of draconian measures, costing immense amounts of money, for absolutely no benefit at all..

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Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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