Police admit distributing incorrect information on firearms rules

Police have continued to hand out an "incorrect" booklet version of the Arms Code over the counter at stations despite ...
SIMON HENDERY/ FAIRFAX NZ

Police have continued to hand out an "incorrect" booklet version of the Arms Code over the counter at stations despite removing it from their website.

An "incorrect version" of the Arms Code that police were forced to remove from their website was still being distributed in booklet form over the counter at police stations on Tuesday.

The new code contains firearms rules that gun enthusiasts say are not consistent with the Arms Act or the Arms Regulations, with the document being described as a "police wish list being pushed as policy".

The apparent widespread distribution of a booklet version of the incorrect code appeared to contradict a police statement on Tuesday that publication of a hard-copy version was not planned until later in the year.

A gun blog says the booklet makes claims that are "simply not the law" and calls it a "wish list being pushed as policy".
SIMON HENDERY/ FAIRFAX NZ

A gun blog says the booklet makes claims that are "simply not the law" and calls it a "wish list being pushed as policy".

In a statement on Tuesday morning, police said the code "was last published in hard copy form in 2013 and is currently being updated".

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"Unfortunately, an incorrect version of a revised code was published on the police website recently," the statement said.

"This version contained a number of errors and has subsequently been removed from the website."

A series of apparent legal inaccuracies in the incorrect version of the code were outlined in a post on the Kiwi Gun Blog.

The incorrect code's claim that licensed gun owners "will be required to justify the number of firearms you hold when the police inspect your firearms security" was news to the gun-owning community.

The code had also been changed to read: "Every firearm licence holder must have police-approved security at their home that is suitable for the number of firearms held".

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"That is simply not the law," Kiwi Gun Blog said.

It went on to describe the new code as a "police wish list being pushed as policy under colour of law".

In their statement, police apologised "for any confusion or concern [publication of the incorrect code] may have caused among gun owners" and said the code would be reviewed in consultation with the Firearms Community Advisory Forum before being re-issued. 

"A hard-copy version is planned for publication in mid-2017."

But Stuff was able to obtain a copy of the the "incorrect" booklet – entitled Arms Code 2017 – over the counter from the Napier police station on Tuesday afternoon.

A police spokesman said on Tuesday night: "Since issuing the media release earlier today, we have become aware that a print-run was done recently (to support duck and deer shooting season) that featured incorrect guidance.

We advise members of the firearms community who have acquired a 2017 Arms Code to destroy their copy. Remaining copies in stations will be retrieved."

Parliament's law and order select committee recently signalled tougher gun laws were on the way with tighter rules on ammunition, gun dealers, gang members, and firearms storage proposed.

 - Stuff

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