“The full registration of firearms will be a wasteful and dangerous exercise and ACT will repeal it”, says ACT’s Firearms spokesperson Nicole McKee.
“Yesterday, Police confirmed that a firearms register would be in place from 24 June. This is the result of the Arms Legislation Act that was rushed through Parliament in June 2020 by Labour and NZ First.
“ACT was the only party in Parliament to stand up for firearms owners and vote against the Bill then, and we will continue to stand up for firearms owners now.
“Firearms owners know that this is not a good use of taxpayer money. Overseas experience has shown that full registration of firearms doesn’t work. The cost of Canada’s firearms register blew out to over $2 billion, achieved only limited participation from firearms owners, and was then dumped in 2011.
“Our Government has initially allocated $208 million, but who knows what the final cost will be.
“Like the gun buyback, responsible firearm owners will be forced to comply while gang members carry on their merry way and ignore it. There will be no change to the number of illegal guns on the street.
“The Thorpe Report in 1997 stated that unless there is 90 per cent compliance it is never going to work.
“New Zealand has tried a firearms register in the past but it was abandoned after Police failed to maintain it. Police asked for the paper-based register to be abandoned in the 1980s because it had an error rate of 66 per cent.
“Police will say that their new system, once live, is reliable. But the current digital registration system for pistols, restricted weapons, and collector items also has errors.
“Various privacy breaches by Police of firearms owners over the years shows exactly why a firearms register is a terrible idea and why ACT has opposed it from the start. A firearms register, if leaked, will become a steal-to-order list for gangs and criminals. If privacy breaches keep happening then New Zealanders will be less safe.
“ACT understands that some police officers who don’t perform well are moved into the firearms licencing division to get them off the frontline. We need a competent administrator so these failings stop occurring. It’s clear the Police are just not up to the task.
“Gun crime in New Zealand is out of control, but creating a register will do nothing to fix this and once again shows the Government’s focus is on law-abiding firearms owners rather than gangs.
“The Government must abandon its attempt to register every firearm in the country. Centralising this information within an agency which has shown time and again that it cannot be trusted to manage it, cannot be allowed to proceed.
“ACT will repeal full registration of firearms, parts and ammunition, but retain registration of pistols and restricted weapons.”