The Government has lost sight of who its firearms legislation should be focussed on, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“While National hasn’t been briefed on all of the detail, the second tranche of the Government’s reforms focusses on imposing more regulation and costs on law abiding New Zealanders. Instead, it should be getting tough on illegal firearms users, the importation of illegal firearms and gangs.
“National supported the first tranche of gun law reform because it was the right thing to do to take steps to close some loopholes and stop people converting firearms into more powerful weapons.
“While we support sensible, pragmatic and reasonable change that stops harmful criminal activity, we are concerned that gang members have refused to give up their firearms, even when new laws have been introduced which make their weapons illegal.
“The Government has turned a blind eye to this. National had a Bill before Parliament known as ‘Firearms Prohibition Orders’ which would have widened the powers available to Police to search the homes and cars of serious, violent gang members for firearms – but the Government voted it down.
“National is also concerned that the Government wants to have a shortened Select Committee process. This is a large rewrite of a complex piece of legislation and it needs to be fair on firearms users. We need to get it right.
“The buy-back has so far seen about two thousand people hand in their firearms but we know that there are hundreds of thousands of people with firearms. The gangs have been clear, they won’t be handing theirs back – that’s where the focus should be.”