A TVNZ story revealing 1866 firearms were seized by Police over the past year signals there is a thriving black market in banned firearms – a cache growing in size due to illegal imports.
Michael Dowling, Chair of the Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) says public safety is at risk from a pool of illegal firearms, newly smuggled firearms, and a rise in new gangs and members.
"There is a triple threat to our safety in illegal firearms circulating among a host of old and new gangs, and an arms race in imported firearms.
For sources of imported firearms, COLFO pointed to the brazen heist from the Port of Auckland of a gang-imported shipping container flagged by Customs as possibly holding contraband.
"There's every reason to suspect that weapons are being imported alongside drugs."
Dowling congratulated the Police for their sterling success in recent months.
"We welcome the courage of the Police in finding and confronting the people armed with these firearms. Their active effort is combatting a rising tide of gangs, drugs and guns."