New attempt to get guns off gangs

The New Zealand National Party

National is reaching out to the Government to ask it to take another look at laws that would help police take firearms off gang members and make it clear gang members can never get a firearms license, National’s Police spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“In the past few days there have been news reports that gang members will refuse to give up their firearms, even when new laws are introduced which will make many of those weapons illegal.

“This attitude demonstrates exactly why Police need the power to issue Firearms Prohibition Orders. If law-abiding and legitimate users of firearms like hunters, farmers and shooters can give up their weapons, then so can gangs.

“The introduction of Firearms Prohibition Orders (FPOs) were recommended by the 2017 Select Committee Inquiry and have previously been supported by the current Police Minister Stuart Nash. The Police Briefing for the Incoming Minister in 2017 also provided support for Firearms Prohibition Orders.

“In the new spirit of bipartisanship following the appalling events in Christchurch I have written to Mr Nash asking him to work with National to include Firearms Prohibition Orders in the current Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines and Parts) Amendment Bill before the House.

“The Government voted my Bill down when it went before Parliament last year, but the Christchurch attacks have changed this country and it’s the right time to take action.

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

“FPOs will only apply to a small group of the most dangerous gang offenders who have convictions for firearms offences or serious violence. When Police have reason to believe an FPO has been breached or an offence has occurred, they will be able to search gang member, their vehicles or premises to look for illegal 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 prioritise 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.

“National is calling on the Government to work constructively with us so that we can take firearms off some of society’s most dangerous criminals.”

Letter from Chris Bishop to Police Minister Stuart Nash

/Public Release. View in full here.