25 Jul 2014

Man jailed for selling guns to gang

6:13 pm on 25 July 2014

An Auckland man who spent $50,000 on rifles and shotguns he modified and passed onto gang members has been sent to prison for nearly six years.

Peter Edwards was sentenced in the Auckland District Court on Friday to five years and 10 months on firearms charges, as well as charges of supplying methamphetamine.

Judge Nevin Dawson said Edwards, who had a firearms licence, bought .22 calibre rifles as well as shotguns from a gun shop before cutting them down and adding pistol grips.

He supplied them to members of the Head Hunters gang but refused to help the police get the guns back.

Methamphetamine charges

Along with the firearms charges, Edwards was also jailed for selling methamphetamine.

A police search of his cellphone records found talk of drugs and evidence of 42 sales of methamphetamine.

The meth sales included $500 worth to his 19 year-old daughter for her birthday. Judge Dawson described that as scurrilous.

Trend spotted

Edwards was caught when police noticed a trend of Headhunters gang members being caught with guns modified in the same way, usually cut down with pistol grips.

Some of the rifles also had barrells threaded so silencers could be attached and all the guns had their serial numbers filed off.

Police later arrested a gang member who was found with a shotgun they could trace back to Edwards.

Judge Dawson said Edwards spent $50,000 on 72 guns and 67 of them came from the one shop, Gun City.

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Photo: AFP

No limits

A police spokesperson said there's no limit on how many firearms a person can buy. He said farmers often have a variety of guns but conceded they'd be unlikely to buy 72 in a year.

The owner of Gun City is David Tipple. He gave the police records of all the firearms, ammunition and other gun paraphenalia that Edwards bought.

He says no changes have been made at his shops as a result of Edwards' case.

Mr Tipple said the regulations are in the hands of the police but there are a lot of people who buy many guns, including collectors and clubs.

Edwards refused to help police with getting the guns back, meaning there are still 63 guns in the hands of Headhunters which Judge Dawson said put the community at a considerable risk.

Edwards had a firearms licence, despite having 53 convictions in Australia.