Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Firearms Prohibition Orders bill needs work

ACT will support the first reading of the Arms (Firearms Prohibition Orders) Amendment Bill (No 2) today, but it requires serious improvements, says Firearms Spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“We fully support the intention of going after the gangs and illegal firearms, but this bill needs more work before ACT can support it at future stages.

“Our major concern is that law-abiding firearms owners could be inadvertently caught up in another person’s illegal activities.

“There are also questions about the potential culpability of dealers who supply items that don’t require a firearms licence to purchase or own to customers who are the subject of an FPO. There are no details about how a business owner or a licensed firearms owner is to know an FPO has been placed on an individual.

“This bill is an improvement on the original FPO legislation produced a few years ago. National took on board many of the concerns raised by the firearms community and adjusted the bill accordingly.

“We fully support the intention of targeting the gangs and illegal guns, but it is important that it solely targets the gangs and not innocent New Zealanders.

“A much more effective approach is to go after gang assets. Gangs care about bling – homes, cars and cash. That’s why ACT intends to hit them in their pockets.

“We will change the law so that if Police find illegal firearms at an unlawful, gang-run operation, the gang’s assets can be seized.

“New Zealanders deserve to be safe and secure, but violent gangs are a scourge on our communities.

“The current approach isn’t working. We need to get much smarter.”