“The Government is running scared from an election year debate about firearms law reform”, ACT Leader David Seymour says.
“The second tranche of gun reforms will have a shortened three month select committee process. A full six month process would mean the select committee reports back in April 2020, just a few months before we head into an election campaign.
“Clearly, the Government's doesn't want to talk about firearms in 2020, especially when the failure of its gun 'buy-back' scheme is becoming more apparent by the day.
“ACT's challenge to the Government is this: Let's debate this important issue in election year.
“Politics aside, there is no good reason for a shortened select committee process. Three months will provide too limited an opportunity for experts and the firearms community to make submissions and for the law to be improved.
“The Government hasn’t learned the lesson that rushed legislation is bad legislation. We are seeing this on an almost daily basis. Police are still updating the prohibited firearms price list, and the ‘buy-back’ has collected less than 10 per cent of banned firearms almost halfway through the process.
“Jacinda Ardern and Stuart Nash are attempting to notch up a quick win and get gun reform off the agenda before the election. But if firearms law reform is worth doing, it is worth doing right.
“ACT will again stand for due process by opposing the Government’s attempt to rush firearms legislation through Parliament prior to the election. We believe firearm owners should be given a fair hearing and a fair go.
“We also oppose a gun register because such an exercise will cost a significant sum of taxpayer money but will not capture the criminals and gang members who hold firearms. In any case, criminals and gang members are not ‘fit and proper’ persons to hold firearms licences, making the registration of their guns redundant.
“ACT will work in good faith where we believe we can improve the legislation, but we cannot support a law which is designed to achieve political theatre.”