“Action is needed now to tackle this growing gang and gun violence in Auckland and Firearm Prohibition Orders are part of the solution,” says Simeon Brown, New Zealand National Party’s Police Spokesperson.
“Firearms Prohibition Orders (FPOs) would give police greater powers to take firearms of violent criminals. This is a sensible piece of legislation that would go some way to keeping the public safe, but the Government continues to refuse to support it.”
Simeon Brown has a valid point.
After reading his proposed legislation, I don’t understand why the New Zealand government opposes Arms (Firearms Prohibition Orders) Amendment Bill (No 2) either.
Simeon Brown’s proposed system would give police the authority “to search the persons, vehicles, and premises of specified serious and violent gang members for firearms at any time.”
This is the polar opposite of Canada’s failed Firearm Prohibition Order system, and is a change for which I continue to advocate here.
New Zealand’s progressive government seems determined to follow Canada’s failed methodology where violent criminals are ignored while licensed gun owners bear the brunt of the government’s anger.
The Canadian Experience
Here in Canada, a Firearms Prohibition Order is just a piece of paper issued by a judge. Useless pieces of paper do not stop a criminal with violent intentions from carrying out those intentions.
Canada’s version of a Firearm Prohibition Order serves two purposes, neither of which stop the subject of an FPO from committing more offences with illegal guns.
The primary purpose of a Canadian Firearms Prohibition Order is to notify the Chief Firearms Officer of the offender’s province so they can revoke the offender’s Possession and Acquisition Licence, if they have one.
This is codified in Section 89 of the Firearms Act.
89 Every court, judge or justice that makes, varies or revokes a prohibition order shall have a chief firearms officer informed without delay of the prohibition order or its variation or revocation.
If the subject of a Firearms Prohibition Order is not a client, to use the vernacular of the Canadian Firearms Program, and does not hold a Firearms Possession and Acquisition License the judicial notice is simply ignored.
The secondary purpose of a Firearms Prohibition Order is to allow the police to charge the offender with another crime – “possession of a firearm or ammunition contrary to prohibition order” – when they break the law the next time.
With regards to Firearm Prohibition Orders, nothing in Canadian law assists police to “give police greater powers to take firearms of violent criminals.”
If the newly-prohibited individual possessed guns legally, the individual’s Possession and Acquisition Licence is revoked, any Firearm Registration Certificates they possess are revoked, and any firearms in their possession are seized and destroyed.
If the newly-prohibited individual does not possess guns legally, then police can only seize what they can find.
After the initial arrest, Canada’s Firearm Prohibition Order system does nothing to prevent violent criminals with an FPO from obtaining more illegal guns.
Nor does Canada’s Firearm Prohibition Order system provide any mechanism to track these individuals, conduct searches of them and their homes to ensure they comply with the prohibition order.
Hope for New Zealand
Simeon Brown’s proposed Firearm Prohibition Order system will give police the power to stop known repeat offenders and search them, their vehicles and their homes to ensure they abide by those prohibition orders.
Only a fool would oppose such common-sense measures.
Here in Canada, the violence committed by repeat offenders with illegal guns continues unabated.
Dennis Young, Canada’s foremost firearms researcher, learned that from 2014 to 2018 police arrested 5,550 criminals who were already prohibited from possessing firearms – an average of 1,110 per year.
I’ve been tracking Firearm Prohibition Order violators via news reports for over a year now, and the results are not hopeful. If the numbers uncovered by Dennis Young’s research still hold true today, only about half of these arrests are reported by the media.
No politician from any political party shows the slightest interest in reforming Canada’s failed Firearm Prohibition Order system, least of all the Minister of Public Safety. His only interest appears to be confiscating firearms from licensed owners while he pays lip service to stopping violent criminals.
This is, to be kind, distressing.