By Aaron Humes: Last week, a committee of the House of Representatives reviewed the Firearms (Amendment) Act which will hand over the power to grant gun licenses from the Commissioner of Police to a three-member Firearms and Ammunition Control Board.
Current Commissioner Chester Williams has consistently reiterated that he wants no place on the new board but does believe that a former Commissioner of Police would be best placed to guide the other members – the police officer in charge of the Dangerous Goods unit, a Magistrate and the CEO in the Ministry of Home Affairs – in how the process to grant licenses takes place.
The key to such a board succeeding, he said, is a fair level of response, with the board expected to meet at least twice a week and more stringent vetting by Special Branch, the Police’s intelligence division.
At last week’s meeting, it was agreed that a retrospective audit of the gun register be conducted and that efforts be made to digitize and publicize this issue in the interest of public safety.
The bill will return at a later date to the House of Representatives for second reading.
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