Federation of Islamic Associations NZ president Dr Mustafa Farouk submits to the firearms select committee in April.
Gun licensing checkers “must also be checked” in the wake of the Christchurch mosque terror attack, a Muslim group has told lawmakers.
A select committee hearing into proposed new gun laws on Wednesday heard from the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (Fianz), which revealed it is conducting its own investigation of the alleged gunman’s ability to obtain a licence.
“We don’t know for sure but it is possible that the [alleged] Christchurch shooter may not have had his application actioned properly,” Fianz safety and security director Brent Smith said.
Closer scrutiny “may very well show his application should never have been approved”, he said.
In the days after the March 15 attack, police defended staff involved in the firearms licence application, saying correct process was followed.
Police said on March 23 the accused initially listed a family member as one of his referees, but that person did not reside in New Zealand.
New referees were requested, and his two new referees met the requirements and were interviewed face to face by the vetting officer. The accused was interviewed – and a security inspection held – at his home address in Dunedin, in October 2017.
A month later he had his licence.
Former head of firearms control for the police, Joe Green, alleged in an article on the website Kiwi Gun Blog the two new referees were associates from an online chat room rather than a person who knew the the man best, usually a next of kin, RNZ reported.
Smith told the hearing that licensing was “perhaps not being run with the oversight that it should’ve had”.
“The checkers must also be checked and follow their own legislations and protocols.”
ACT MP David Seymour told the select committee hearing that Fianz’s claims were “extraordinary”, and he would watch with interest what its investigation into the alleged shooter’s ability to obtain a licence uncovered.
Seymour told Stuff he agreed that “somebody has to explain how he did it”.
“How do you find two people [living in New Zealand] who have known you for two years who can vouch for you?”
Fianz president Mustafa Farouk did not want to share details about the investigation until it had reported to the Royal Commission into the shooting.
But it came about through inquiries undertaken by its younger community members, who helped it come up with material to present to the commission “so that what happened will never happen again”.
“This is the time to ask the hard questions.”
Fianz supported moves to tighten gun laws, and Smith, who had previous military experience, was helping form its submissions, he said.?