16 May 2019

Police visit firearm owners after public concerns

6:23 pm on 16 May 2019

Police say visits to some firearms owners are being carried out as a result of information received about troubling behaviour.

A selection of firearms which are now prohibited, on display to media at a police press conference.

Police say visits to some firearms owners had been prompted by information from members of the public. Photo: RNZ / Ana Tovey

Police have been conducting armed raids to seize firearms, since Parliament last month passed legislation banning semi-automatic firearms, magazines, and parts.

The Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement said the operations were part of the ongoing response to the mosque attacks in Christchurch in March.

"Community safety is, and will always be our top priority, and it should come as no surprise given the events of March 15, that we are proactively working to achieve this," he said.

The Council of Licensed Firearms Owners said earlier this week it planned to go to the police about the way in which some firearms owners were being treated.

Mr Clement said visits to some firearms owners had been prompted by information from members of the public. He rejected any suggestion they had been conducted in any way other than a professional and appropriate manner.

"These visits are carried out as a result of police receiving information about concerning behaviour. Many of these are from members of the public who are being vigilant, as we have asked them to be, and have rightly passed their concerns on to police," he said.

Mr Clement said none of the visits had been "carried out at 3am or involved police staff pointing firearms at children".

"Some visits result in police being satisfied that there is no risk to the public, and that is the end of the matter. Some may require further interventions, such as seizing firearms or arrests," he said.

"This is normal policing and what the public rightly expects."

Mr Clement said the police presence during these visits was based on a risk assessment and the fact that those being visited had access to firearms.

He said the police were working with the Council of Licensed Firearm Owners to address concerns raised.

"We remain open and willing to talk to anyone who may have concerns about our approach and we encourage them to get in touch."

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