Judith Collins on gangs and gun control

081111. Photo Maarten Holl/Fairfax Media, The Dominion Post. NEWS. Police College. New firearms, etc, training simulator. minister of Police Judith Collins gets trained by Vince Anthony, Lockheed Martin (US)

Photo Maarten Holl/Fairfax Media, The Dominion Post.

Police Minister Judith Collins is signalling tighter controls on the licensing of firearms to gang members.

“I was really shocked the other day to find that being a gang member doesn’t preclude someone from having a firearms licence, because, apparently, you’re still a fit and proper person,” Ms Collins told Q&A today.

She says “this is the sort of nonsense that we need to change the law on”.

Parliament’s law and order select committee is holding an inquiry into the illegal possession of firearms.

It is looking at how widespread firearm possession is among criminals, including gangs, and how criminals, gangs and those who do not have a licence come into possession of firearms.

The public clearly expect any firearms held by gangs to have been obtained illegally. To discover that some of the gang members have a bona fide firearms licence has been a shock to many.  

Ms Collins told Q&A police are working with the Ministry of Social Development, Customs, Inland Revenue and others on a strategy to tackle gangs.

“Let me tell you that 92 percent of these gang members are either on a benefit or have just come off one or have been in jail. That’s the sort of people we’re talking about.”

She says gangs are also being run like businesses.

“People like the Head Hunters are now running people like the Black Power and the Mongrel Mob so that they actually use a franchise business model.

“So one of the big things for police and other agencies like IRD, for instance, is actually to make the cost of business so expensive for them, particularly the people who are in charge, that it’s just not worth their while.”

That’s all well and good, but the question remains: How does a gang member pass the “fit and proper person” test?  And is the law getting in the way of the test being applied the way the public would expect it to be?


– NZN via Newshub


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  • Wheninrome

    Back in the day when licensing came in “a fit and proper” person to hold a gun licence required all sorts of interviews. My husband at the time wanted a licence, they interviewed me to see that I was happy with that fact. I wonder if this interview still takes place.

    • Jude

      I have heard it does. Just as well with our dreadful domestic violence stats!

      • Wheninrome

        They must be asking the wrong questions.

    • Clydesmum

      Yes it does, my hubby has just applied for his renewal licence and I had to be interviewed for that. We also had to get neighbours to say that had known him for over a year. Also a couple of visits to check the cabinet was secure and the same with the gun and all its bits.

    • Stable Max

      …and this of course effectively gives a (usually female) spouse with any degree of disgruntlement an absolute veto. Lessee, what comparable influence / veto does a male / husband have? Hmmmm thought not.

      (I just applied for my renewal and yes The Bride was interviewed with me out of the room… and the screening questions / form are many and lengthy).

  • waldopepper

    gang members buying guns legally. now there is a genuine loophole. imagine if HDPA had done THAT story.

  • Rightsideofthebed

    A gang member doesn’t pass the ‘fit and proper’ test as applied by the Police…BUT…they have the right to appeal the decision to the District Court………and some of them live in a different world to the rest of us.

  • Jude

    I can now only wait for the left to scream about human rights etc
    The left always seem to want to fight for the criminals and ignore the victims of crime

  • Don O’Brien

    If the gang member has no convictions and no obvious gang tattoos, then its just a matter of getting a hair-cut, swapping the patch for a suit and finding a couple of referees who also have no convictions or Tats. There used to be one guy in Dunedin who has Mongrel mob tattooed on his forehead, so he would have been politely declined.

    • Seriously?

      Yep, but I suspect the police have a fairly good database of who are, or are not, gang members. Use it. Make it presumptively correct – make it be up to the person to show it is wrong.

  • Seriously?

    Collins is plainly right.

    No so long ago one of the large gangs obtained a liquor licence for their gathering. The Dunedin City Council awarded a contract to a gang. The press gave coverage to Minnie Elder and he gang mates as they mourned the death her gang member boyfriend…

    The sooner we get back to treating gangs, and gang members, as the criminals they are the better. Enough pandering. It is time for action.

    • Aucky

      There will be countless people on the gangs’ payola in order to protect their business interests. It would be good to see JC get to work and root out corruption at every level.

  • My neighbour asked me to be a reference on his renewal for a gun licence. They did ask about if he has any contact with known gang members (he’s a prison warden, so the answer was yes, daily)

  • TM

    The courts just need to much tougher on those breaking the law with guns – either shouldnt have them or they are illegal types of guns, and tighten up on the management of gun licences – so the policy is correctly followed.

    • Oh Please

      “The courts just need to much tougher” – FULL STOP.

  • cows4me

    JC is in dream land if she thinks this latest drive will do anything to remove illegal guns from those that have them. It’s all a con and the only people that will suffer any real repercussions are the law abiding. Yes there will be new laws which will only apply to those who give a stuff, certain “evil”guns will be outlawed and the liberal agenda of removing guns from the peasants will continue in earnest. This is all a side show. There are already laws and sentences to deal to this type of offending but of course the politicians and the judiciary will sit on their fat arses and cry it’s all to hard, we need total reform, all must be brought to heel.

  • Ruahine

    While you are changing that law Judith would you also like to change the law that allows you to drive and drink alcohol at the same time.

  • Eiselmann

    Gangs reject societies rules , they have no fear of breaking them and infact doing so simply adds to their standing within the gang, particularly jail time is lauded and often looked for. They will distroy people you know and love if it improves their own lot.

    Yet they also take advantage of all the protections society gives them. They only take , no one can convince me that the extistence of a gang in a town or neighbourhood improves things for law abiding citizens.

    So its good that Judith is looking to address this issue around the charatcer test for a gun owner , its a small step , it will have a mimimal impact but its still removes a little right that gang members get along with the rest of us and thats a good thing.

    But oh for the day when all the protection of the laws ,that they reject and selectively ignore anyway , are removed from them ,

  • localnews

    so if gangs are a business, why are we paying their employees benefits? They arent unemployed, anyone else who gets caught working has their benefit cut immediately.
    99% of the country would support that law change

  • PersonOfColor:WHITE

    Gangs are not Islamic terrorists, but surely the Terrorism Suppression Act is a template to craft legislation to constrain and ‘suppress’ the activities of the gangs?

    As I understand the Methamphetamine epidemic we will need to move on this as soon as possible before one of your loved ones is destroyed by this scourge?

  • Usaywot

    Being in a gang should make you ineligible for a gun licence full stop. Nobody joins a gang to teach Sunday school, do they?

  • island time

    “So one of the big things for police and other agencies like IRD, for instance, is actually to make the cost of business so expensive for them, particularly the people who are in charge, that it’s just not worth their while.”

    I am not so sure about that. They will just raise the stakes and become more violent with standover tactics – I don’t see the “cost of business” being an impediment to the longevity of gangs.