Police gearing up for new firearms safety training for first time licence applicants
From firearms safety training is changing.
Police has been working with the firearms community to improve safety outcomes by delivering an enhanced firearms safety training programme for first-time firearms licence applicants.
“Much like the process for obtaining a driver licence, first-time applicants will need to pass a theory test and undergo practical training to obtain a firearms licence,” says Acting Superintendent Mike McIlraith.
“For many years the current theory-only programme has provided new firearms users with a solid start. But over recent years Police and the firearms community identified the opportunity to build on this and provide first-time applicants with a practical hands-on component to complement the theoretical.”
The theory test is a computer-based multi-choice test which will be delivered by Police using the same system used for computerised driver licence theory tests. Firearm licence applicants will be able to sit the firearms theory test at all Automobile Association (AA) driver licensing outlets; including all AA Centres, AA Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agents and the AA’s Rural Mobile Units, as well as all Vehicle Testing New Zealand branches that offer driver licensing throughout the country.
Applicants must pass the theory test before they can attend the firearms practical training course.
The practical course and training on safe-handling of firearms will be delivered by firearms instructors from the Mountain Safety Council across the country.
Police is also working with Fire and Emergency New Zealand around the potential use of volunteer fire stations in some locations. In addition, the Whakatupato course will continue to provide firearms safety training in remote and isolated communities.
The firearms theory test and practical training require applicants to show that they have a strong understanding of the Arms Code and how to stay safe with firearms.
“As pleased as Police is to deliver the new firearms safety programme, new firearms users will still need to gain experience using firearms safely in a variety of settings.
“Tapping into clubs with experienced firearms users who can pass on that valuable knowledge and experience is a vital part of being a responsible firearms user.
“We want the firearms community to continue to support new firearms users. Police is seeking help from firearms clubs, and the volunteer instructors from the programme ending , to provide community-based mentoring and to partner with new firearms users.
“Imagine a person getting their firearms licence because they want to go hunting but they don’t know any hunters. Clubs play a vital role in bringing new firearms users together with experienced users.
“Having a new practical component and a community of people keen to coach and mentor new firearms users will contribute significantly to improved safety outcomes. And that is what Police wants.”
Officer in Charge
Arms Act Service Delivery Group
Firearms Safety Programme
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