Thursday, 23 March 2006 - 3:00pm |

Safety first plea in airgun usage

2 min read

Police are urging people to comply with firearms licensing and safety rules when selling, buying or using airguns.

Porirua Police are destroying the 2000 airguns, including imitation shotguns and pistols, after finding a man trying to sell them without a firearms dealer’s licence.

The would-be vendor faced court action and as part of the process, voluntarily surrendered the weapons to police for destruction – all $20,000 of them. Seventeen different types of weapons – including some with military or competition scopes - are included in the haul which had been imported from Hong Kong.

"Airguns need to be used safely and responsibly," says Inspector John Spence, Kapiti Mana Police Area Commander. "They are not toys and we don’t want them in the hands of children.

Airguns are legal in New Zealand but there are rules surrounding their sale, ownership and usage.

The Firearms Act requires:

• Sellers of airguns to have a dealer’s licence which must be renewed annually

• People aged 16 – 18 years to have a firearms licence to own an airgun

• People aged over 18 years don’t need a licence to use or possess an airgun – but they must use airguns safely, responsibly and for the weapon’s intended purpose. You could be prosecuted for failing to comply.

It's also an offence to sell or supply an airgun to anyone under 18 years who doesn't hold a firearms licence.

"These weapons are pretty realistic and they can create a level of fear if carried openly on the street or poked out the window of a car," Inspector Spence says. "Irresponsible use will in all likelihood be met with an armed police response.

"If you do have an airgun, make sure you comply with the law and that safety is the first thing you think about. If you’re selling firearms, then get a dealer’s licence. The costs are high if you don’t."

Inspector Spence urges people to contact their local Arms Officers in main police stations for information or advice on firearms issues.

Released by:

Kaye Calder

Wellington Police District communications manager

tel: 04 496 3464 or 0274 373 020