Gun imports – Keeping it real

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Gun imports – Keeping it Real

The gun control debate looks to be back in the news cycle, with the revelation that police may not be accurately recording incidents of gun crime. One of the talking points that the police association roll out continuously, is their concern at the numbers of firearms being imported each year – over 50,000 according to their president, with a large number of those alleged to go to criminals, with nothing other than conjecture to back it up.

Mike at the Kiwi Gun Blog has managed to obtain real figures from our customs service. It looks like around about half of the quoted 50,000 is a more accurate representation. Here are the real figures for 2007 – 2016:

2007 – 35,202
2008 – 25,556
2009 – 24,873
2010 – 28,522
2011 – 25,962
2012 – 27,738
2013 – 27,954
2014 – 33,104
2015 – 31,101
2016 – 24,533

There are approximately 237,000 license holders, and many more new applicants every year. One firearm is insufficient for the needs of most shooters, most will own two at the very least.

There are many different shooting disciplines and legitimate reasons to own firearms in New Zealand. Some shooters will take part in many, and require a variety of suitable guns for their chosen activites.

Firearms are like any other mechanical device – they break, they wear out, they become uneconomic to repair. Anybody who has lost the bolt or magazine to an obsolete rifle will know all about this. Many of the firearms in civilian hands are old and worn out. New license holders typically want new guns.

Retail shops and wholesalers are responsible for the majority of firearm importation. These suppliers require stock to sell to stay in business. There is clearly a market to support the suppliers. You don’t make money by having stock sitting on shelves or gathering dust in a warehouse.

When you factor all of this in, it becomes clear why there are firearms imported in the numbers that they are. There is nothing sinister behind the numbers. We don’t even come close to 50,000 imported per year, with our best try. There is nothing exciting going on when you stop and think about it.

Let’s get some honesty and perspective in the debate.