'Incredibly concerning': Shocking number of guns stolen from unattended vehicles

Police recorded 672 guns as being stolen during the period.
Police recorded 672 guns as being stolen during the period. Photo credit: Getty

Many gun owners are failing to securely look after their firearms, according to new figures. 

Statistics published in July from the Firearms Community Advisory Forum's meeting have revealed the number of guns stolen from unlocked and unattended vehicles between 2016 and 2018. 

Police recorded 672 firearms as being stolen during the period. When police randomly looked at 40 percent of these incidents (267 reports) they could assess in 20 percent of cases whether gun owners were complying adequately with security requirements. 

In 62 percent of these cases owners had failed to live up to their responsibilities surrounding safety, police found.

In an alarming 32 percent of these 133 cases, the stolen guns were left unattended in vehicles, "the majority of which were unlocked some even with the keys inside the car," according to the minutes of the meeting.

In a statement to RNZ, police called the figures "incredibly concerning".

"We do know from this sample review that far too many thefts are the result of inadequate storage and are therefore preventable." 

Laws around firearm ownership were tightened following the Christchurch mosque shootings earlier this year, in which 51 people were killed.

Military-style semi-automatic weapons have since been banned with the government initiating a buyback scheme for owners, paying between 25 percent and 95 percent of the value of the weapon, depending on the value.