Wednesday, 19 February 2020

ACT challenges NZ First to support Arms Legislation Bill changes


ACT Leader David Seymour is challenging NZ First to support his proposed changes to the Government's Arms Legislation Bill.

“ACT will propose three amendments which seek to remove the worst elements of the bill. A firearms register, new regulations on shooting clubs, and an invasion of the doctor-patient relationship are all counterproductive to public safety”, says Mr Seymour.

“The Government says it wants to stop the spread of illicit firearms. But even while this bill was in Select Committee, the Police managed to lose firearms data. A gun register in the hands of Police is one leak away from being a steal-to-order list on sale to gangs or other criminals. Overseas experience with firearm registers shows they are hugely expensive and, by definition, don’t capture the details of criminals.

“New regulations on clubs will make people less safe. Most voluntary organisations have lots of members but really only a handful of people do everything. If those people give up, there’s no club. The new regulations will make running a pistol club or a rifle range that much harder. We’ll have fewer people shooting with the support and supervision of organised clubs making the public less safe.

“This bill targets the wrong people. It makes it harder for law-abiding people to follow the law and does nothing to punish people who are not following the law. This law is about the Government being seen to be doing something by scapegoating an easy target.

“A reasonable government would have waited for the Royal Commission to find out what the problem with our firearm laws was before trying to solve it. Instead, it demanded the Select Committee report back early so the Prime Minister could say she’d passed a law before the 15 March anniversary of our nation’s tragedy in Christchurch. It amounts to putting political theatre ahead of public safety and it’s despicable.

“If NZ First is committed to protecting the basic rights and freedoms of law-abiding firearms owners, and to promoting public safety with firearms laws that actually work, it will support my proposed changes.”