“When Chris Hipkins said he was going to ‘fight back’ I thought he would attack me and other politicians, but I never thought he’d make Trumpian attacks on truth, and especially not on the back of March 15,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“As reported by Newshub last night, Chris Hipkins and Labour have been caught out spreading disinformation about ACT’s firearm policy. They tried to present a headline of their own press release as a headline from a neutral news agency. What’s worse, the headline itself is wrong, and the line was repeated by Chris Hipkins in Parliament yesterday afternoon.

“The headline said ‘Military Style guns back in the community under ACT,’ that is incorrect for two reasons. The most important reason is that over 5,000 people, deemed to have a proper purpose, already have a licence for such firearms. ACT’s policy does not change this, a person would still need a legitimate reason to have a centre-fire semi-automatic firearm.

“ACT would also tighten up the process for being licenced, with a graduated system of licensing where people earn trust over time, and a sophisticated new licensing agency carrying out a range of checks. This is a policy that would have stopped the Christchurch terrorist, while still treating licenced firearm owners, properly vetted, with respect and dignity.

“The next reason Labour is spreading disinformation is that the firearms Labour banned are already in the community illegally. Police advised the Government when it banned a whole tranche of firearms, not just the semi-automatics, that there were 240,000 in circulation. The Government’s amnesty bought back 60,000. That leaves 180,000 ‘in the community’ under Labour. Since 2019 seven charges have been laid by the Police for the illegal manufacture of firearms using 3D printers and 12 people have had charges laid against them for illegally manufacturing firearms.

“ACT's policy is designed to acknowledge the law abiding and their genuine fit and proper status while ACT's crime policies are designed to get tough on those who harbour firearms illegally. There is no point treating the law abiding like criminals while the real criminals are committing the crime.

“What is truly despicable is that the current debate over firearm laws came out of our nation’s tragedy on March 15. It shows how far Labour has fallen that they are playing politics and spreading disinformation about firearm safety. What would Jacinda say?

“What’s worse, the Labour Government has presided over rising gun violence, with five gun deaths in one seventeen day period this year, while members on the National Gangs List have committed on average 2.8 firearm offences every day under Labour.

“Labour’s disinformation is more brazen and blatant than anything seen in New Zealand before. Unable to run on their record, Labour is trying to ‘fight back’ against anyone and anything, but truth should never be the first casualty in New Zealand’s democracy.”

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