A National Party Members’ Bill drawn from the ballot today will crack down on dangerous gang members and ensure they don’t have access to firearms, says National’s Police spokesperson Chris Bishop.

“Too many firearms are ending up in hands of violent, criminal gang members, and that’s got to change. Under this Bill if you’re a gang member you won’t be allowed to own or possess firearms, period,” Mr Bishop says.

“Police have said these changes would enhance their ability to control illegal firearms, and requested stronger safeguards to protect New Zealanders from illegal firearm possession in their Briefing to the Incoming Minister. It was also one of the recommendations made by the Select Committee last year and supported by the previous National Government.

“A new Firearms Prohibition Order, similar to what is available in New South Wales, will widen the powers available to Police to search the homes and cars of serious, violent gang members for firearms.

“We estimate around 600 gang members will be eligible for the order but it will be up to the Police Commissioner to decide how to prioritize the most serious offenders within that group. These people pay no attention to needing a firearms licence, so we need to be able to search them to ensure that they don’t have access to illegal firearms.

“This Bill reflects the fact that the vast majority of Kiwi hunters, farmers and recreational shooters are law-abiding and responsible New Zealanders. They should not be treated the same was as gang members who illegally obtain firearms and stow them away in order to cause harm to our families and communities.

“I’ll be approaching Police Minister Stuart Nash and New Zealand First to ensure they stay tough on gangs and support these new laws through the House.”

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