a figment of the police’s fervent and dimwitted imagination, that “straw buyers” are buying guns to on-sell to criminals.
The government had recently banned semi-automatic weapons following the Christchurch terrorist attack on 15th of March 2019, with more than 60,000 firearms surrendered in the $100 million “buyback” scheme.
Critics pointed out that criminals, however, were unlikely to hand back their illegal firearms and they were proven right when gang shootings escalated.
Such rapid changes in the policing – and political – world meant firearms moved near the top of the priority list and someone like Grond selling guns warranted attention.
On December 17, 2020, search warrants were executed at two properties linked to Grond where police officers found an armoury: more than 40 legal firearms, thousands of ammunition rounds, various gun parts and large magazines.
Among the collection were two of his favourite military-style semi-automatic rifles, which Grond had decided to keep instead of handing over during the buyback amnesty.
So Joseph Grond is stupid, and now a criminal. All because he didn’t hand in two firearms, when he could easily have obtained the proper licences, as many, including me, have done.
Now the police are using this story to further demonise firearms owners, essentially smearing them as akin to drug dealers. They are treating us accordingly, labelling all of us as potential criminals. It’s like pre-crime: you own guns, therefore you are potentially a criminal. The police constantly wonder why the firearms community hates them now.
The police are trying to justify the firearms registry by saying that the majority of guns obtained by gangs are just sold to them by licensed firearms owners and the firearms registry will sort that out. That really is concrete thinking. If the police think this will stop criminals getting guns then they are sorely mistaken.
For many years the police believed that most firearms in criminal hands were stolen from legitimate gun owners. This point has frustrated some in the firearms community, who say there is little data to back up the claim and instead believe that organised crime groups smuggled guns from overseas.
But the police now say that a nationwide crackdown on illegal firearms has identified retail diversion or “straw buyers” – a tactic where licensed firearms owners sell guns to criminals – as a much bigger problem than previously thought.
Under the Arms Act, retailers such as Gun City must keep records of gun sales but gun owners wanting to sell their firearms to someone else in private sales do not.
The only legal obligation on sellers is to look at the prospective buyer’s firearms licence. There is no requirement to check whether the licence was valid, or even keep a record of the buyer’s details.
“It’s very, very simple. We’re seeing how easy it is for one individual with a firearms licence to create a great deal of mayhem,” said Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Beal.
The officer-in-charge of the recently established Firearms Investigation Team, Beal said the bulk of guns recovered by police can be traced back to a legitimate retail sale – rather than stolen or smuggled – then diverted to unlicensed individuals.
His team has also analysed four years’ worth of retail records (or 250,000 sales) to look for suspicious purchases, or patterns and investigate further.
And the result of trawling through those records? Just one example is provided… and that is a known gang associate. All the other transactions were perfectly legitimate.
The police created a fantasy then went about confirming that fantasy which they are now selling to the media to justify their continued persecution of the most law-abiding people in New Zealand. Licenced firearms owners are even more law abiding than the police who are hassling us.
But it all seems awfully arse-about-face to me. If guns are in the hands of gangs, then I would think that ‘priority one’ is to get those guns off the gangs, and then ‘priority two’ is to stop more guns getting into the hands of gangs. But hey, I’m not a cop: they seem to prefer to leave the guns in the hands of gangs and instead chase up firearms sale and purchase agreements first. Isn’t the actual potentially illegal use of the guns of any importance? It seems not – not if you are too chicken to tackle the gangs and prefer to find softer targets.
We are going to see more rubbish stories like this, with comments only from police. Note that in the article there isn’t a single comment from the gun collector community, nor any from a licenced firearms dealer. Then again, we treat the media like the police: they are hostile to us; there is literally almost no point in talking to media that lie and manipulate.
Meanwhile gangs and violent crimes run rampant as police divert valuable resources to chase ghosts and fantasies of their own making.
Cam Slater is a New Zealand-based blogger, best known for his role in Dirty Politics and publishing the Whale Oil Beef Hooked blog, which operated from 2005 until it closed in 2019. This article was first published HERE