Gun register will not make us safer

Mon, 22 Jul, 2019

“The Government’s proposed gun register will not improve public safety,” ACT Leader David Seymour says.

“The evidence from Canada and Europe is that governments are only able to register a small proportion of all guns.

“Criminals, of course, will not register their guns, making the exercise almost worthless. Even if an unfit and improper person has a gun, what difference does it make if it is registered?

“As will be the case with the gun ‘buyback’, non-compliance with registration will see guns go underground, outside any regulatory cordon, making us less safe.

“The New Zealand government has previously tried and failed to register every gun in the country. That register was 66 per cent inaccurate.

“Police already face significant issues in trying to track a small number of firearms.

"In the wake of a man burgling eleven firearms by walking through an open door into the Palmerston North Police Station, media reported that two of the firearms were not stolen, having been returned to the rightful owners a week earlier. The error was due to lost paperwork.

"Meanwhile, in Auckland, the Independent Police Conduct Authority found that Police lost a man's firearms after he surrendered them in relation to a protection order. Even after an investigation, it is not possible to find them.

“Police will simply not be able to track every gun in New Zealand.

“Neither will a gun register improve public safety. Canada’s gun register, for example, faced cost blowouts, massive non-compliance, and had no discernible impact on gun violence. That country subsequently ditched its gun register.

“A gun register wouldn’t have prevented the Christchurch terrorist attacks, even if the accused had registered his firearms. After all, he had been assessed by the Police as being a fit and proper person.

“A gun register will ultimately fail to make New Zealand a safer place.”