Report of an Independent Inquiry

Commissioned by the Minister of Police

June 1997


ISBN 0-477-01796-7




Printed by GP Print, Wellington



Letter of Transmittal




Friday, 20 June 1997




The Honourable J R Elder

Minister of Police

Parliament Buildings




Dear Minister


On 22 August 1996 you appointed me to conduct "an Independent Review of Firearms Control", on terms of reference then defined, and to report back by 28 February 1997.

That reporting date was later extended to 30 June 1997.

There has been widespread public interest in the Review. For that reason I submit, together with the Review you requested, a summary of its principal findings and recommendations which I am hopeful the Government will be willing to make available to interested persons without charge.

Yours sincerely

T M Thorp




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APMC Australasian Police Ministers’ Council

COLFO Council of Licensed Firearms Owners

DAO District Arms Office or District Arms Officer

DOC Department of Conservation

IPRU Injury Prevention Research Unit

MHC Mental Health Commission

MSSA Military style semi-automatic

NZMSC New Zealand Mountain Safety Council

NZPA New Zealand Pistol Association

PCA Police Complaints Authority

PNHQ Police National Headquarters

SLR Self-loading rifle

SSAA Sporting Shooters Association of Australia

SSANZ Sporting Shooters Association of

New Zealand Inc




I owe a considerable debt of gratitude to all members of the small team which was assembled in Auckland to gather and analyse the available information on firearms controls.

Special thanks are due to Simon Mount, who accepted the position of Research Counsel. His broad and persistent intelligence provided invaluable support to all of us.

Others who played essential parts were Jane Beasley and Claire Campbell as research assistants; Alison Cleal, Melissa Geary, Prue Meister, Kathy Mitchell and Penny Shelton as secretaries and word processors; Kate Stone as editor and Katrina Duncan as typesetter.

I must also acknowledge the assistance provided by Police National Headquarters, and in particular by Superintendent Lindsay Hunter, who accepted appointment as Police Liaison Officer to the Review, and by the people who worked most directly with him in obtaining and supplying information to it, Tracey Anderson, Clare Aubrey and Mary Schollum and also by Inspector John Coote and Mr Doug Agnew of the Firearms Section.

Many others made contributions to the work of the Review. The names and positions of most are set out in appendix 8. Their willingness to assist must speak both to the extent of interest in arms control generally, and to the desire of so many shooters that their commitment to safe firearm use should not be overlooked.

To all my thanks.

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