Thursday, 18 February 2021

Government backs crims with guns


“How on earth is this Government letting known gang members not only hold firearms licences, but letting the number holding them increase, despite the law they just passed having specific provision to remove them,” asks ACT Firearms Reform spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“On 5 January I said the Government needed to take the recent surge in gang violence seriously and should start by stripping gang members of firearms licenses.

“Far from doing that, answers to written questions have revealed they’ve let the number of gang members identified on the National Gang List who hold a firearms license increase from 11 to 12 between August and February.

“Why hasn’t Police Minister Poto Williams demanded that the new gun legislation her Government passed, which came into effect on Christmas Eve, be used to strip these criminals of their licenses?

“There is a fit and proper person test in the law.

“Justice Minister Kris Faafoi acknowledged the fact in Parliament today and said it was up to Police whether to strip these gang members of their licences.

“Since 24 December one of the criteria the Police have for determining if someone is a fit and proper person to be possession of a firearm is ‘The person is a member of, or has close affiliations with a gang or organised criminal group.’

“It’s a slam dunk, surely.

“These people are on the National Gang List – they’re not affiliates or associates, they’re gang members.

“There is no wriggle room.

“How can they possibly get discretion from Police to have guns?

“Is the Government saying members of the National Gang List are fit and proper people, or are the Police saying that?”

ENDS