ACT opposes rushed firearms legislation

Tue, 02 Apr, 2019

ACT Leader David Seymour says he will oppose the Government’s plan to rush firearms legislation through Parliament in time for the Easter break.

“The speed at which the Government is moving is illogical and hazardous.

“The Government has already stopped the sale of military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles to people with A category gun licences and intends to progress further amendments to the Arms Act later this year. It is difficult to see the need for urgency.

“I believe our gun laws must change. Such a disturbed individual should not be able to access such powerful weapons so easily. Bans on these weapons may well be the way to go.

“However, good intentions and abrupt action do not guarantee good and lasting outcomes. There is very real danger that we will make bad law in the process.

“What happens when half of these firearms aren’t turned in or bought back and disappear from the radar? How will it make New Zealanders safer when these firearms are no longer subject to any sort of regulatory oversight? The Prime Minister needs to answer these questions.

“By forcing these changes through in less than two weeks, and in time for the Easter break, the Government will ensure there is no meaningful opportunity for New Zealanders to have their say on the proposals. That is deeply undemocratic.

“It’s disappointing that the Government is responding to the Christchurch terrorist attacks by abandoning proper democratic process.

“We must get these changes right to ensure they’re effective. It is important that we maintain our tradition of sober, robust law-making at all times, but especially now.

“The best way to show defiance in the face of terrorism is to refuse to erode our democratic institutions.

“The Opposition’s job is to hold the Government to account, to scrutinise its actions, and to ensure the public is heard on changes that affect them. The ACT Party is today doing exactly that.”