Gun buyback 2.0 another marketing exercise

The increased number of firearms incidents we’ve seen across the country recently shows why the Government’s focus needs to be on gangs and criminals, not another gun buyback, National’s Police spokesperson Simeon Brown says.

“The first gun buyback was merely a marketing exercise. After spending $103 million on the scheme, the Government couldn’t even confirm whether it had made New Zealand safer or if it had collected all prohibited firearms.

“That’s because most law-abiding New Zealanders handed in their now-prohibited firearms, but gangs and criminals, those who pose the greatest risk to our safety, did not.

“This isn’t news to Police Minister Poto Williams either, last year she said she didn’t expect criminals to follow the law. National would be very interested then to know what her plan is to take their firearms off them.

“The Police themselves estimated there could be as many as 180,000 now illegal firearms still floating around, but we will never know the exact number because even if a firearms register is put in place, those prohibited firearms will never appear in it.

“Rather than continuing to punish law-abiding New Zealanders, the Minister should pick up our Firearm Prohibitions Orders Bill which gives Police more powers to search and take firearms off gang members. That’s where the focus should be, not loading more costs and regulations onto law-abiding firearms owners.

“The Minister should be tackling the real problems of unlawful possession and firearm use, rather than spending millions of dollars more on a marketing exercise.”