Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Govt must strip gangs of gun licences

“The Government must take the recent surge in gang violence seriously and should start by stripping gang members of firearms licences,” says ACT’s Firearms Law Reform spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“Over the past few years, the number of gang members has increased by a third, and there’s been a 54 percent increase in the number of gang members being charged with firearms offences.

“ACT can now reveal that a handful of gang members on the National Gang List hold a current firearms licence.

“Given the recent escalation in gang-related gun violence which puts frontline Police and our communities at risk of serious harm, that’s unacceptable.

“The new Police Minister must ask her agency why such dangerous people are allowed access to firearms. She should demand that the new gun legislation is used to strip these criminals of their firearms licences.

“Instead of going after the gangs, this Government has targeted law-abiding New Zealanders. Its approach to dealing with illegal firearms hasn’t worked. Neither the new gun legislation, nor the buyback, has made a difference to the number of illegal firearms in circulation.

“The new firearms legislation was never going to affect gangs and registration of firearms won’t make a difference to the gun violence New Zealand is experiencing.

“The Government should also consider ACT’s proposal to amend the Criminal Proceeds Act so that if Police find illegal firearms at an unlawful, gang-run operation, it can apply to the courts for an order to seize the operation’s assets.

“We need to get smarter. That means hitting the gangs where it hurts.”