by Greta Yeoman
The addition of a practical course will not increase the cost of gaining a firearms licence, police say.
Changes to firearms licensing, announced last week, require new applicants to sit a theory test, complete a practical training course and undertake the standard licence applications from July 1.
Despite the addition of a practical element to the process, acting superintendent Mike McIlraith said the cost would not increase for those wishing to get their licence for the first time.
The $126.50 fee for new applicants previously covered the theory test – sat at a police station – and the vetting process, and would now also include the training course run by Mountain Safety Council firearms instructors.
Applicants would need to pass the theory test before attending the two-hour practical firearms theory course, where the trainees would learn how to handle the five main types of firearms, aiming to increase the confidence and ability of first-time firearm applicants.
The new computerised, 30-question, multi-choice theory test could be sat at all Automobile Association (AA) driver licensing outlets around the country, using the same system as driver licence theory tests.
A spokeswoman for the AA said it would be the first time the organisation had held the tests, which was a result of the police transferring the administration of the tests to the NZ Transport Agency.
The changes were a joint effort between police and the firearms community to improve firearms safety, Supt McIlraith said.
“[We want] everybody around firearms to be safe and feel safe.”
“At the end of the day, firearms safety is the responsibility of the person holding the firearm.
“We can train people and test them, but it still comes down to the person holding the gun putting that training into practice and actively following the seven firearms safety rules,” he said.