Firearms dealer charged with unlawfully selling firearms, ammunition

  • 29/01/2024

A firearms dealer has been arrested and charged with multiple offences including unlawfully selling firearms and ammunition.  

Following an investigation, police executed search warrants at an Auckland home and a firearms retail business. 

Police said the firearms dealer faces charges relating to dishonesty and supplying firearms and ammunition to unlicensed people.  

They also face charges relating to the unlawful possession of prohibited firearms and magazines. 

The licensed firearms dealer appeared in the Waitakere District Court last week, according to police.  

Firearms dealer charged with unlawfully selling firearms, ammunition
Photo credit: Supplied / NZ Police

Firearms safety authority director of operations Superintendent Richard Wilson said there are a few bad apples who are diverting firearms to criminals and gangs. 

"We see this as a significant source for how gangs obtain firearms," Wilson said.  

Over 70 percent of firearms seized by police are rifles and shotguns that can be obtained by standard licence holders. 

"This is another case of a firearms licence holder who has abused the privilege entrusted to them with a firearms licence to possess, and as a dealer to sell firearms," Wilson said. 

"The dealer has (allegedly) knowingly sold firearms to individuals who are not lawfully able to possess them."  

Firearms dealer charged with unlawfully selling firearms, ammunition
Photo credit: Supplied / NZ Police

Wilson said this will become a lot harder over time with the new Firearms Registry, which doesn't yet have dealer stock registered on it. 

This is why having a Registry is so critical to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and gangs, according to Wilson.  

"It will help police reduce the flow of lawfully held firearms to the illegal market," he said.  

Wilson said when the Registry is fully rolled out, it will allow police to trace where criminals have obtained their firearms from. 

"Prior to the Registry, a licence holder could sell their firearms to another licence holder but was not required to produce a record of who they sold the firearms to - meaning the firearm was untraceable," Wilson said. 

"That has been a significant barrier for police to be able to investigate and charge those individuals supplying criminals and gangs with guns. The Firearms Registry closes that loophole and ultimately will make the availability of firearms to the black market more difficult for criminals and gangs."  

Firearms dealer charged with unlawfully selling firearms, ammunition
Photo credit: Supplied / NZ Police

Last month in the Waitematā court, another firearms licence holder was charged with the unlawful possession of over 35 firearms and ammunition in excess of 15,000 rounds for those firearms.  

"Having a firearms licence comes with the responsibility to act in the interests of public safety," Wilson said about the licence holder who appeared in court on December 15. 

Wilson said most licence holders are good law-abiding people who won't ever draw police attention. 

"However, diversion of firearms will remain an ongoing focus for police, as there continues to be demand from criminals to source firearms that they can't get because they aren't licenced," he said.   

"Our focus therefore is on those people and businesses in our community that are intent on breaking the law to supply those firearms knowing full well who they are going to and the significant harm that can be caused in our communities when these firearms are used to intimidate hurt and sometimes kill people in our community." 

Wilson said a lot can happen in a firearms licence holder's life which may mean they turn to diversion. 

"The reason behind diversion is often due to pressure on the individual. It could be financial, drug-related, or maybe they're being pressured by family or associates," Wilson said.  

"It's police's job, with the support of the Firearms Registry, to make sure this doesn't happen and put our community safety at risk."