23 Oct 2015

Gun licence applications on the rise

2:26 pm on 23 October 2015

The number of people applying for gun licences has increased by more than 50 percent in the past year but not everyone sees it as a bad thing.


Photo: 123rf

Police figures show the number has jumped from 21,000 in 2014 to 34,000 this year.

The figures reveal there were 12,000 more applications for gun licenses processed this year compared to last year.

The police attribute the increase to a 10-year cycle of licence renewals, which are now due.

They say there is a bell-curve in that cycle, which will reach a peak of 50,000 next year and then start to decline.

Firearms safety consultant Nicole McKee agreed but said it could also be down to a rise in people's interest in hunting.

She said, regardless of whether people were renewing or applying for new licences, they should be safety conscious as there had also been an increase in hunting accidents.

"Last year, we had five non-intentional incidents with one death. In 2013, we had five non-intentional incidents with one death. So far this year, we're up to 13 now with six deaths."

Game Animal Council chair Don Hammond said the increase in the number of people applying for gun licences was a good sign as more people were following the rules.

"This shows that people in New Zealand are law abiding and they're looking to ensure that they conform with the requirements of the law - and they get a licence and get the proper training that getting a firearms licence requires, so I think it's a positive thing."

Ms McKee said there were about 230,000 licensed firearms owners in the country and police estimated there were about 1.5 million guns.